Hey guys, just wondering... why do we get a stitch when we run?! The last 8 or so times that I have been out (and never really in the previosu 4 years), I have been getting a stitch like pain on my right had side just above my hip and in line with my tummy button. It starts pretty much instantly and gets worse as I run downhill. I have never had this so consistently (obviously I get the occassional stitch). It's fine running on a flat and uphill, it actually starts to go away and then as soon as I go downhill it starts again.

It wouldn't bother me if it it was just sore but it affects my breathing too which is annoying. I have tried stretching it out etc but the only thing that stops the pain is if I push on the area (whch is inconvenient for 10 miles image) ...

I have tried changing what/when I eat and drink as I have heard stitches can be due to digestion...

Does anyone have any ideas or any great ways of getting rid of a stitch when one arrises? I have always been scared of getting one during a race as I don't know how to get rid of them quickly!!!

Feel like such a hypocrite as, being a PE teacher, I always shout at the kids telling them to run through a stitch and it will go away...oooops image



  • I get this... Quite often at 6-7k mark in 10k races. But it's a lot to do with my link between rapid breathing when I push the pace (due to a lack of speed work in training). Do you breathe with diaphragm or chest? 

  • Hi Mark ... I don't think it's to do with breathing just because it literally starts as soon as I start running and I only have a problem with my breathing when the stitch gets so sore that it hurts to breathe in... I think my breathing is pretty good as have dine work on this in the past, but I may be very wrong...

    Just frustrating!!!

  • Maybe warm up on flat before any hills as when you go down hills your abdomen is getting stretched

  • do you start off nice and slow and warm up for a mile before running faster


  • I reduce pace and exhale completely - literally forcing every molecule of air out of my lungs - then take a few short breaths and the stitch disappears. Works every time for me. I find so long as my breathing is controlled I don't really get them that often.

  • Thanks guys that is really interesting advice - I like the exhalation and short breaths idea Bergy, never heard of that before. And I did not even thing about my Abdomen being stretched so that's another thing to think about image

    Seren, not really to be honest, well in a way as on one of the trails with a good hill, the hill is pretty much at the start. To be perfectly honest, I never really warm up unless I am going to do speed work andd even then, it definitely wouldn't be for a mile which I know is probably terrible. I just do a few mins slow then get straight into it. Usually do speed wrk on a flatter surface though so don't have the downhill stitch problem... Anyway, thanks for all the advice.

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Bergy, that method hints of experience, any decent races?

  • Not really much to brag about Ric mate, seven full marathons and good few 5 and 10k's in six years of running. Looking to step up a significant gear as I'd really like to do MdS one day. I found this technique out quite by accident; i've no idea of why it works but I can say, hand on heart, that it works for me 100% of the time. Maybe I should have patented it? Can you patent a method?!

  • I read in runners world that if you breath even 2 steps in 2 steps out your diaphragm is always at bottom when the same foot ie same side of body hit ground as you exhale.

    If you breathe odd which I find difficult then the diaphragm is at bottom on alternate sides. Just a thought.

  • Too much water or insufficient recovery run following a hard session causing an imbalance in your body chemistry during a hard session.  

    Do not underestimate the distance requirement of a recovery run.  

    Historical evidence has provided data that underpins the need for a 3.5 mile recovery run following a hard session covering, in total, just one mile before the body's blood ph returns to manageable level.

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