Side stitches can happen. Follow these tips the next time you feel an ache coming on—and learn how to prevent the pesky pain.

 

Plagued with mid-run side stitches? Do this next time you feel an ache coming on:

  • Don’t panic! It’s only a cramp.
  • Focus on maintaining relaxed, even breathing.
  • Slow down and place your hand around the area that hurts.
  • As you exhale, pinch this area between your fingers and thumb. Relax your hand as you inhale.
  • Continue this pattern for five or six breaths.
  • That should do the trick!

What’s a side stitch anyway?

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually an invisible gnome stabbing your ribcage from the inside. A side stitch is a spasm in your diaphragm (or the surrounding ligaments), often brought on by fatigue.

The Best Cure is Prevention

Avoid the pain in the first place by…

  1. Hydrating properly
  2. Strengthening your core (think planks and pushups)
  3. Avoiding heavy foods two to four hours before running
  4. Focusing on breathing during workouts