Aug. 27, 2013
I participated in the Hannibal Clinic’s Mississippi River Run Saturday and had a great time.
Well, I guess I had a great time after I finished, joking around with my friends. During the race I was in a little bit of pain. I had a side stitch.
Often people who are new to a fitness regime think that only newbies experience this, but it happens to everyone. And with all of the research available, it sounds strange, but they’re still not exactly sure why this pain in the rib cage occurs.
Here are tips I use to avoid a side stitch:
Don't fill up: Running on a full stomach is never a good idea. And this doesn't just refer to a big meal, it goes for water as well. Staying hydrated is absolutely necessary, but overloading right before you head off can lead to bad cramps.
Warm Up: If you’re running a race where you’re going to run faster than usual, you should warm up first with a light jog.
Breathe Deeper: Learning to breathe with your diaphragm can be some of your best defense against cramps. I have to slow down and blow out sharply a few deep breaths. I may have to repeat this several times.
Here is a tip from Runner’s World: Slow down and exhale to release the stitch. If you still get another side stitch, implement this strategy and it will go away in seconds. Slow your pace and exhale as the foot on the opposite side of the stitch strikes the ground. This doesn't mean every time that foot hits the ground, but as you exhale, do so in sync with that opposite side. When you exhale, you use the muscles of your diaphragm. When this happens in unison with your foot striking the ground, the impact forces travel up the body and through your core (your side too) and exacerbate (piss off) the muscles in spasm creating that stitch. When you change the side of the landing forces to the opposite side, the tension causing the stitch releases. For example, your stitch is in your right side. You slow your pace, and exhale as your left foot is hitting the ground.
I’ve tried this and it works!
Here is an interesting article about side stitches: