Health & Fitness
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Side Aches

I would really like to start running (I am absolutely terrible at it). The problem is I get REALLY bad side aches whenever I run. It's always in my right side just under my rib cage. And the pain is usually so bad that I have to stop and just stand there without moving until it goes away. Sometimes I can go 10 minutes without getting one. Other times I barely make it 10 seconds. Eating/drinking before the workout doesn't seem to effect it at all. I can't quite figure out why I get them sometimes and other times I don't. But more often than not I do. Well it's pretty hard to start a running program when you have to stop every time you start running. Anyone have any suggestions as to how to prevent these side aches?

Re: Side Aches

  • I stretch and stretch and stretch. That seems to help.

    I still get them but they are much better. I can run though them now where as before they were debilitating.

  • I have almost the same side aches, I attribute it to my breathing.  If I don't take smooth breathes I get aches.  I often get them at the beginning of the run when I am just getting into my groove, then I get an ache, I stop bend over to touch my toes (don't ask- but it goes away when I bend down) get up, take some long smooth breathes then start again.  When I am running I try to breath "softly" as in I keep my breathe easy and regular.  I hope that makes sense.  I often find when I stop thinking about the pain and focus on something like my stride, it goes away.  I only started getting these in the past few months and think it is due to getting to hyped up about long runs, because they typically don't happen on shorter runs.
  • image Crash*Into*Me:

    Is it a regular side stitch that you only get while running?

    One tip that works for me is to bend slightly forward and blow through my mouth (like whistling, but no sound) as I can a few times.

  • image Crash*Into*Me:

    Is it a regular side stitch that you only get while running?

    One tip that works for me is to bend slightly forward and blow through my mouth (like whistling, but no sound) as I can a few times.

     Actually sometimes I do get them randomly. Like today I got one while I was just walking on campus. And sometimes I'll get them while I'm sitting at my desk at work. Maybe I don't breathe right?

  • I used to get pretty bad side stitches, and I think most of them were caused by not hydrating enough (not just during runs, but all the time) and my breathing technique. Breathing through my nose (not my mouth) during runs has helped a lot. Sounds weird, but it works.

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  • I got those when I first started running, and they were just awful, but after a few months of steady running, I completely stopped getting them.  Perhaps its something about your body getting used to a new type/way of breathing and moving?  

    The one thing that helped me was to really focus on my breathing, and to alternate which stride you breathe out on (i.e., breathe out when your right leg is forward, then when your left leg is forward next time).  I aligned my breathing with my foot strikes... breathe in for three, then out for four.  

    To help them go away, try taking a deep breath, then make an 'o' with your mouth and blow out as long and hard as you can.  


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  • I was able to control mine through breathing.  I don't remember which foot I specifically started on, but I'd exhale twice and inhale twice.  Also, I just read earlier today that it's best to exhale when you land on your left foot.  I can't find the article, but it stated that exhaling on your right foot can cause pressure on your liver which can affect your diaphragm thus making it harder to breathe or causing side stitches.  That probably sounds funny, but that's pretty much what it said.  I wish I could find the article.
  • I used to get them when I would start too fast and try to run too hard. They also come on (even now) when I talk too much while trying to maintain a difficult pace. It messes up my breathing, which causes the stitch. I can even get them after drinking too much water at a water stop. 

    To help them, I slow down first of all. Try to regulate my breathing--even counting 123 in and 456 out in cadence with my steps. If that doesn't help, I press into the ache and exhale forcefully when the opposite foot hits the ground. And if THAT doesn't fix it, I stop and walk.


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