A stitch during a run is one of the most common problems faced by many runners around the world. It can almost incapacitate you, leaving you feeling pain, weakness and an urge to stop running to stop the pain. Here are some invaluable tips to avoiding a stitch while running…
Firstly, you need to understand what causes a stitch. Most likely it’s a spasm in your diaphragm. Your diaphragm is a sheet of internal skeletal muscle that extends across the bottom of the rib cage. Because it’s a muscle, it can also cramp and spasm like other muscles.
These cramps or spams can be caused from ‘jiggling’ – this is caused from bouncing around during a run and the muscles get ‘irritated’. It’s hard to avoid this, and more seasoned runners won’t suffer from the effects and get a stitch. Typically, direct pressure and bending and stretching in the direction of the stitch will help alleviate the pain somewhat. It’s potentially only a temporary fix, but coupled with some of the other tips below, it can all help stop the pain.
Another cause may be from breathing patterns which place the diaphragm under undue pressure. A suggested theory in combating a stitch in this case is to synchronize your breathing with your stride and foot strikes. Again, seasoned runners will form this more naturally. Not only is better breathing possibly going to combat the stitch, but it is good form and if done from the start can help prevent a stitch from forming to start with. Try focusing on taking in deeper breaths and then exhaling slower. For example, breathe in for two strides and exhale for three.
One more common theory is that a stitch is formed when you run on a full stomach. A full stomach will undoubtedly push against the diaphragm, potentially causing these cramps or spasms. Avoid eating large meals or drinking a lot of liquids the hour before a run. This certainly does not mean you should be dehydrated – staying well hydrated starts long before you run, even days before. Just make sure you don’t start your run feeling bloated or full.
One of the final remedies to avoiding a stitch while running is to strengthen your core. Incorporating functional training, like CrossFit, will inevitably aid in core strength. Otherwise start incorporating core strength workouts regularly into training routine. Warming-up properly may also help avoid getting a stitch, allowing properly blood flow throughout the muscles which will be used.
Make the best of each run, try out these great tips and start avoiding a stitch while running…