New runner, disheartened

There is nothing original in this, I'm sure, but I'd really appreciate any advice you can give. 

So I was out last night, running. I'm a stone-cold beginner - my current aim is to do a 3k round trip run 3 times a week, no slows or stops. I've been working up from running in 1min blocks, then 3 mins, then 6, and was making inroads on 8 mins. 

I've hit a stage where I get a stitch in my right side below my ribs. Every. Single. Time. I've tried varying the amount I eat, when I eat and drink before I run. I still get a stitch about halfway through my time and it's bad enough to force a stop or a walk. 

When this happened last night - on cue a pair of perfect joggers bounded past me effortlessly, chatting (because of course they weren't breathless at all) and zoomed off into presumably the last leg of their daily 10k run with chirpy enthusiastic vigour.

AaaarGHHHH. I'm so fed up with this. Any tips?


  • Take up embroidery instead?

  • Sorry.  Couldn't resist.

    I don't suffer from stitches, so can't really help.  Someone will though.  Good luck.

  • i found keeping hydrated through the day plus when you have stitch when breathing in, tense your abs/stomach muscles hope this might help.

  • Think of anything else you started and are now good at. Was you the best the first time you tried? You have to start somewhere and all those people you see started somewhere too. Nobody just went out and became a good runner overnight. It takes time. Think where you will be next week or next month or next year. 

  • Breath in through the nose and out of mouth deeply.

    I understand a stitch is actually muscle tension and with training it will improve. Stick at and maybe look at the c25k programmes or going back to six mins but ret and tag another four minutes at the end.

    C25k worked for me and is recommended by many many people on here. I can certainly endorse it.

    Good luck.
  • Tips / advice ?

    well running the pace you are doing now isn't working as you say you get the stitch every time. Slow down, or speed upimage I'd go back you run / walk you say you are determind to run 3k and at x point always get a stitch it sounds like you have built up hardly any stamina and are just wimping out. Sorry!

    go back and walk / run not 3k but 5/6k then when you are doing that will hardly any walking you will find your 3k easier... Build up your distance it sounds like you are trying to do every run at the very top end of your current abilities. 

    try building your stamina and when you can do 5k occasionally without stopping your 3k will start to feel a lot more comfortable. 

    If yoh only want to stick with the 3k then just go a lot slower until you can do it a few times comfortably then slowly increase the speed. 

    If you only ever ey to run one distance and speed you will only get to x point and then stop improving as you will just plateau you need variety.

  • Thanks everyone for helping out. booktrunk you're completely right, I have never, ever had any stamina. I've only ever been a sprinter, not a long-distancer. (NB anything over 200metres counts as long distance to me!!)

    I have tried the C25k in the past and was too impatient with it. I guess my best option is to just suck being impatient right up and go back to running for less time.


  • brainrunning: good luck. that's the fun thing about running there is no real shortcut, some have better genes which help them go a bit quicker, but the reality is the only way to get better is to do more and just keep slowly building up. 

    I was the same very impatient, but you just have to keep stretching yourself and then the rewards come. 

  • I'd agree with booktrunk, you need to build things up a bit and probably try to keep going through the stitch.  You won't get fitter unless you put your body through at least a small amount of stress.

    When you get a stitch, try to alter your breathing pattern a bit eg. if you always exhale when you plant your left foot down, alternate it so you exhale on the right foot, then left, then right etc. that seems to ease the stitch to some degree.

    Forget the other joggers around you, you already know they've been doing this longer than you so whatever they are doing is irrelevant other than the fact they were at your level once.

    Stick at it, you will get better at this, and that will spur you on to get even better.

  • what Erc said above is close to what i have heard, which is to have an uneven breathing/stride pattern. eg, if you breathe 2-2 (eg 2 steps on the in breath, and 2 steps on the out) then change to 2-3 pattern

  • No slows or stops

    Well that might well be part of the problem. Slow down! You can work on your speed later, get your body used to the idea of running first.


  • If 8 mins is too much go back to 6 minute blocks until your fitness improves which it will quickly in the early stages .You will only get past this by putting the effort inimage

  • I suffered alot from stich as a begginer, and occasionally do at random times, I also got it just under the ribs. I over come it by holding my side and putting some pressure on to it at the same time I concentrate on my breathing and run at a steady pace. This seems to clesr it up some tjmes it can take a few mins but it always goes. It improved with time and as I got fitter. Also keep your self hydrated even on days your not running.

    Keep at it! I found getting up to 4 miles the hardest to begin with once you have built up your fitness and stamina it will be alot easier!
  • I have no experience with stitches thankfully, but saw an article earlier with a solution mentioned, which might be of help to you. Good luck.

  • Thanks guys, you've been really helpful. I know I've got to be patient and my fitness will improve, I'm just kind of cross at myself for not being fitter in general! I really wnat to work my way up to 5k eventually but 3 seemed more achievable. 

    I'm also going to try the breathing pattern thing tomorrow when I go out. 

Sign In or Register to comment.