Those darned side stitches

I sometimes get side stitches when I run. They are annoying and while I was running today I got one. Seemed like the ideal time to write a blog post about side stitches!

According to my (limited) research, there is no concrete evidence as to what actually causes a side stitch. In fact, there seem to be varying reports- from not drinking enough liquids to drinking too many liquids; having too much sugar before a run; or eating before a run. All of these definitely seem plausible, but I guess we will never truly know what exact cause is.

Here are some prevention a you can consider if you have chronic and frequent side stitches:

Prevention of Side Stitches

Regardless of what actually causes side stitches, there are some things you can do to help prevent them. If you tend to suffer from side stitches, try to avoid eating within one hour of running. Stick to plain water for pre-hydration — avoid sugary, especially carbonated, drinks. Make sure that you always warm up before your runs. ( from:

How to Avoid Side Stitches

There are many suggestions for avoiding side stitches, but what works for one person may or may not help another. Experiment with the ideas below, use the ones that work, and disregard the rest.

  • Eat moderately-sized, low-fat meals 2-3 hours before practice or competition
  • Stick to familiar foods that are easily digested. A small snack about an hour before a workout or run is OK, but this snack should be comprised mostly of carbohydrate and fluid, not fat. Examples include 1/2 deli sandwich and a sports drink, 2-4 fig bars and a sports drink, or a granola bar and a sports drink. If all else fails,try different sources of pre-workout foods (energy gels, sports drinks, bread, pasta, oatmeal, fruits) till you find something you can tolerate without getting a pain in the side.
  • Stop running or walking and bend forward, while tightening the abdominal muscles.
  • Exhale through pursed lips (to focus on breathing pattern).
  • Exhale through pursed lips (to focus on breathing pattern).
  • Stretch (right arm extended upward, lean to the left, hold for 20-30 seconds, repeat with the left arm stretched upward).
  • Breathe deeply (to stretch the diaphragm).
  • Change breathing patterns while running (inhale one extra beat than when exhaling (inhale 1-2-3; exhale 1-2).
  • Slow your pace of running or walking.
  • Hydrate during your workouts with 7-10 ounces of water or a sports drink (Gatorade) every 10-15 minutes. These amounts and types of beverages will promote better fluid absorption compared to consumption of larger amounts of beverages such as fruit juices.

(From:core performance )


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