Side stitches while running

Ok, I’ll admit it. I listen to a fitness podcast. Does that really surprise you though? I like to be somewhat healthy, mainly for combating my Gilbert’s Syndrome[wiki]. It also helps that running bug that I have. (Although, with my parents coming to town this weekend, I won’t be doing the Sun Run this year, not that there aren’t a billion other running events that I can do this summer in Vancouver.)

Listening to the Fitness Attack the other day, this episode caught my attention because any runner can relate to the topic of those cramps you get in your side. I always called them “side cramps”, but the term “side stitch” is a newer one to me. I like that one better, so from now on, that’s what I’ll call them.

You can listen to the 60 second episode yourself, but I transcribed the tip below for my own purpose. If you are a regular runner or person who exercises, you might be able to use this or even expand upon the topic.

One common and annoying problem that can develop during exercise is a sharp, stabbing cramp you might feel just under the lower edge of your rib cage, known as a side stitch. One way to over come this is to perform deep, belly breathing by maintaining a strong, core muscular system. You can minimize the appearance of this exercise related, transient related abdominal pain, and leave the stitches to the tailors and the surgeons. [fitnessattack]

I don’t get them a lot, but my mental mantra while running is that I don’t stop to walk unless I feel pain or the urge to throw up. Gross, I know, but you can’t simply stop when tired if you’re a more seasoned runner. When I get tired, then I’ll slow up my pace to a slow trot, but the point is to keep moving. It’s usually that first 20-30 minutes that is always the hardest, and if a side stitch pops up on me, then it’s around that time, maybe once every three weeks.


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