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Question
Posted by: Jules | 2010/09/14

Recurring stitch when running

Hi Fitnessdoc

I run about 2-3 times per week for usually 30 minutes (I do about 4-5km''s) and find I have barely enough time for that, as have a hectic schedule. My problem is that I often get a recurring stitch in the same place, that is just below my ribcage on my right hand side (above the hip). I have tried stretching it out before the run and then when it starts hurting during the run, but nothing seems to help.
My fitness is very good, so I don''t think that it is because I am unfit. It happened when I was unfit and still consequently when I am quite reasonably fit now, so there is no link. What could be the cause of this?

Thanks in advance

Jules

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Jules

That's usually a breathing problem, or an eating problem. Breathing is normally the cause, because the most effective way to treat the stitch is to slow down your breathing, and breathe more deeply. You have to visualize the air being breathed all the way down to your belly button, as opposed to short, shallow breaths. That's why it's a problem with fitness, but it can just as easily affect super-fit people. So if you can correct your breathing, it might solve the problem.

The other thing is eating or drinking. If you eat or drink too close to training, then you can experience a stitch, presumably because of the weight of fluid/food in the stomach, putting pressure on the muscles that you use when you breathe.

So I'd say check your diet, and if you're happy that you're eating long enough before you train (say an hour) then just focus on deeper, more controlled breathing, long breath in, long breath out (as long as possible, that is).

Good luck

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Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/09/20

Hi Jules

That's usually a breathing problem, or an eating problem. Breathing is normally the cause, because the most effective way to treat the stitch is to slow down your breathing, and breathe more deeply. You have to visualize the air being breathed all the way down to your belly button, as opposed to short, shallow breaths. That's why it's a problem with fitness, but it can just as easily affect super-fit people. So if you can correct your breathing, it might solve the problem.

The other thing is eating or drinking. If you eat or drink too close to training, then you can experience a stitch, presumably because of the weight of fluid/food in the stomach, putting pressure on the muscles that you use when you breathe.

So I'd say check your diet, and if you're happy that you're eating long enough before you train (say an hour) then just focus on deeper, more controlled breathing, long breath in, long breath out (as long as possible, that is).

Good luck

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