Stitches !

Hi everyone,

I'm more or less a beginner, I've been running for just over a year, on and off, and now I'm training for my first half-marathon. My longest runs each week are currently 8 miles and then on other days I do short and fast(er) 2 mile circuits.

I've discovered a really irritating problem in these stitches I am getting. I seem to develop them sporadically and I can't find a pattern to it. When I was a child I used to get stitches when exercising too soon after eating but I take great care to allow for enough time (about 1 hr 30 min) after eating for digestion. It is intensely frustrating because I just can't seem to run through these stitches, they just flare up even more the longer I continue to run. 

Can anyone offer any advice/knowledge and does anyone have any techniques for dealing with stitches when they occur?



  • I suffer from stiches from time to time mostly when I've not given my stomach enough time to digest, I try altering my breathing pattern, applying pressure to the area and as a last resort stop running bend over and touch your toes. These normally work for me.

  • OK! Good luck for your half marathon

  • I think there are breathing tricks to try and get rid of stitch - such as if it's on the left, breathe out hard every time your left foot hits the ground, and vice versa if it's on the right. (Possibly the other way round - sorry!) Breathing out hard seems to be key, anyway.



  • I think the idea of the above technique is to stretch your diaphragm, so if the stitch is on your right side breathe out when your right foot hits the ground. Your diaphragm moves upwards when you breathe out so this may work. (Or may not!)

    Also I don't think you have to breathe out every time that foot hits the ground (or you'd sound like you're hyperventilating!) but more like when you need to breathe out time it so it's when that foot hits the ground.

    I also get stitches but I leave it longer than 1h30 between eating a full meal and running.Try having two smaller meals instead, one before and one after the run.

  • Agree with Petite Canarie... after a full meal, I'd probably leave a bit longer than an hour and a half (and ideally try to run before rather than after).

    Another thing to try is streching your arm up, on the same side as the stitch. You may get a few funny looks with this one!


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