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1166 Views 2 Replies Latest reply: Jun 16, 2014 6:59 PM by lenzlaw
CollyGirl Rookie 1 posts since
May 14, 2014
Currently Being Moderated

Jun 14, 2014 12:32 PM

The dreaded side stitch, nutrition and UGH I need help!

Ok, so I have searched the internet for ANY solution to this problem. Nothing has worked so far. Let me start with some background info first though


I am 32 years old, female in the military. I have never been a runner or even a jogger. I was a dancer for years, so I had that whole anerobic thing down pat! When I joined the military I realized that I would soon have to become a runner - or at least a jogger. The first few years I struggled, I would almost white out (bordering on fainting) when I would run. I couldn't run much more than a kilometer without thinking I was going to die. In 2008 I weighed in at 225lbs on a frame of only 5'6", yes... I was big. I lost a bunch of weight and got down to 145-150lbs, felt better - still sucked at running though! Gained weight back again, and ended up at 185lbs. Last year was my Ah ha! year... I finally figured out nutrition, and what I could and could not eat, how much exercise I had to do, and since July of last year I have dropped from almost 190lbs down to 130lbs. Diet played a HUGE factor for me. I eat mostly chicken, sole, turkey, with only the occasional bit of pork or beef (always lean). I eat my veggies - mostly spinach, kale, edamame beans, sweet potatoes, peppers, asparagus, tomatoes, cukes, etc - not a lot of carrots, white potatoes, corn or other more "empty" veg. I don't eat pasta - never really liked it. I do eat quinoa if I am looking for a rice or a grain type of food. I don't eat much in the way of breads (usually gluten free if I do eat bread) and not lots of dairy - some yogurt, the very occasional bit of cheese - but I don't crave these things. I have cut my salt intake as well. I don't drink juice or soda. Seriously I usually either only drink water or jasmine tea with a bit of honey in it. I have nearly completely cut refined sugar from my diet too. So a pretty clean diet I would say.


I started training for the Army's annual "Army Run", it is an event where it is either a 5km run or a half marathon. To celebrate and keep pushing I elected to sign up for the half marathon - it's in September.


I have been running 4 times a week on a varied schedule. It has built up from a 5km start and now I am running upto 14km. A typical week is usually Monday 10.5km, Tuesday rest, wednesday 5km, Thursday 7km, Friday Rest, Saturday 5-7km. It does vary week to week, some weeks monday's I do a 14km run. Anyways, I have battled through painful IT band pain - physio didn't help but INCREASING my pace did!


So my problem now is that I am getting some seriously bad side stitches usually on my left side under the rib. It usually starts around 7-8km into my run. Very rarely I can run through it - most times it gets so painful my body physically just stops on its own. I am getting sooooo frustrated with this!!! I have googled and read every article on breathing and tried it all, it doesn't seem to help... I had a medical so I asked the nurse about it and she said it was likely because I usually run in the morning and I run on an empty stomach. She suggested eating something light. I tried this today before my 7km run. I had 2 VERY small pieces of rye toast with a bit of peanut butter on them. I figured carb+protein. I waited almost 45 minutes before setting out on my run, I drank some water and did my usual routine. 2-2.5km into my run I got the mother of all side stitches, I almost passed out. I desperately tried to run through it. I would inhale and belly breathe, I would exhale sharply when my left foot struck the ground, I ran with my right arm over my head, I ran with both arms over my head, I tried pushing in on the sore spot, I tried slowing down, speeding up, I tried doing all of that together at the same time!!! NOTHING worked! It just got worse and worse and worse! My body finally stopped me and I ended up walking most of my route and was so mad I even shut off my running app and said "F*** it!! I will try again tonight! I will just walk briskly the rest of the way home!!" how disheartening!! I have noticed I have been getting more and more stitches lately as well. I got one while hiking the other day!!


I need help! I am so determined to run, I am getting better at it! My pace has improved incredibly. I can maintain my pace within 10-15 seconds per kilometer over a 10.5km run. I have been running my shorter (5km runs) around 5:45-6:00/km, my 7km runs are usually 6:15-6:30/km and my longer runs usually around 6:30-6:50/km.


I need advice on how to deal with this, I am getting sooooo frustrated!!!

  • snortman Pro 69 posts since
    May 22, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jun 16, 2014 10:14 AM (in response to CollyGirl)
    The dreaded side stitch, nutrition and UGH I need help!

    What kind of exercise do you do on your off-days? Have you ever tried doing yoga? It may help you be able to do some additional stretching of those muscles. You can search on youtube for yoga for runners, and Yoga Journal has a 30-day yoga for beginners challenge where they email you video links each day for getting started and learning to do poses for the different parts of the body. You can also do some pre-run yoga routines that may help you be more loose and warmed-up before going on your runs.


    Good luck!

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    There are a number of things that are supposed to help with side-stitch and it sounds like you've tried them all. Of course, the idea is not to get one to begin with. Once you have one, the only thing I know that really works is to run through it, But that can take 2 or 3 kilometers. All those other tricks help but are not instantaneous and you still end up running (or walking) through it.  What I will suggest, and proved to be true for me, is to slow down right from the beginning of your run. That is, go slower by a minimum of 15 seconds per kilometer, maybe a little more.  Over time (weeks, months?) you should be able to increase your pace without the stitch.  My side-stitch always happened when I raced, running a good bit faster than I was used to in training.  It started usually a little past one mile, and I could run through it by about three miles.  Over time, as my speed increased, so did the speed I had to run to get the stitch.  Even now, if I feel one coming on, I know I'm at my limit speed-wise, and I back off a little.


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