Getting Stitch

I have just started on the couch to 5k plan (yesterday) and when I started running I got stitch. Is there anything I can do to prevent this? Will it just go as I get fitter?


  • Probably caused because you were tired. Try dropping your pace or having a few minutes of rest. Think it can also be caused if you ate close to the time of exercise.

    Best of luck with the rest of the plan.

  • from my own personal accounts Stanny, its really trial and error.

    theres lots of information out there as to why it happens but its all down to personal circumstances i.e

    • like sd-28 said- food too close to running
    • running too quick 
    • hydration (this was my main fault)
    • keeping salts/fluids up whilst running
    its a funny one though and i thought i cured mine, but the other day at mile 23 of a marathon mine came back image, i just had to push through it mind, but it was tough!!  saying that though it sort of proves my point on food/fluids whilst running as i hadnt had much hydration at that point so a quick water intake and some jelly babies helped alot image
  • Stitches can come on for many reasons, electrolyte inbalances is one (as Jason has explained above) try drinking a sports drink or orange juice diluted 50/50 with water which will rebalance your electrolytes and help if that is the issue.


    Posture can be another reason, especially if it's a shoulder stitch. Work on making sure your back is straight, hips are inline, knees are below your body and not running ahead of it. Then make sure your upper body is relaxed as tension can create cramps. It can take a while to get used to running without cramping up.


    Fatigue though is another big reason. The key to this is keeping tabs on how you feel and stopping yourself before the stitch becomes a stitch -you do get subtle warning signs. If you feel a stitch coming on, slow down and stop, stretch a little, don't totally cool down but get yourself to a position where the to-be-stitch feels pretty much gone, then go back to running. Once you have a stitch your on a losing streak as to trying to get rid of it as it sort of leaves a mental mark behind so even when it is gone, your posture has already altered to expect it to come back. Doing this can end up with a stitch elsewhere (eg shoulder!) and then you get nowhere fast.

  • Lots of beginners get stitch which I am convinced is combo of poor posture and core instability and probably going to bit too quickly. Slow down and stick both hands high in the air for 10 seconds.... That used to cure it for me. It stretches the core, opens up the diaphragm and makes you run tall. Imagine running suspended from a strong attached to the top of your head.. Run tall and your core will open up and become stronger.
  • Thanks everyone. Its run 2 of week one tonight so hopefully by slowing down abit etc that will help

  • I started with the C25K plan and got massive stitches to begin with but a year and a half later now I hardly ever get them image

  • not bad tonight. No Stitch but 1 mile up hill of a 1.5mile run/walk home may not have been a good idea.

  • Ah well, you live and learn. I like to think (and weather or not this is true is another matter) if my stitches are as a result of fatigue, then by running to the point of a stitch, I should-in theory- be building up the muscles which will in time keep the stitches away (core muscles).


    That is though as long as your running with a decent technique and good posture using your core muscles.

  • Since starting running I have only had one really bad stitch.  It was during a race and so bad I had to almost stop image someone coming past told me to keep flexing my fingers and keep my arms up, which I did.  After a couple of minutes it declined and went away image not sure if it was that that did it but I will try if ever happens again image

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