How to avoid stitch when running

How to avoid stitch when running

Avoiding one of the most annoying pains – a side stitch, sharp or stabbing pain, pain of the abdominal muscles.

We’ve all been there. We’re halfway through a race, and my god, it happens – a stitch. We’d been fighting all run in order for this not to happen, and in fact, did everything we thought we could in order to prevent it from happening full stop.

Sometimes we just need a bit of extra guidance.

Research suggests that approximately 70% of runners experience this phenomenon in a year. With abdominal cavity issues, both abdominal and pelvic cavities causing issues here, side stitches aren’t just a bit of pain. They’re also known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain (ETAP) in the medical world, and believe me, there’s an entire medical standing and ways of avoiding it in this world too.

What really is a stitch?

Woman holding her side belly.

Be it from blood flow or shallow breathing, a stitch can be confused with many things. There’s a lot people don’t know, and I mean experts, but with that said, there’s a general consensus that it could be from the following – muscle spasm, parietal peritoneum irritation and stress on the spine. These factors are probably overlapped at times, but it’s best you learn more about themselves in order to understand what could be your reason for getting stitches. Learn about it here.

So how are they caused?

Again this is debated and comes from many different areas of the body, but there are a few things you can avoid to accommodate here. If you want deep breathing to be a good part of your exercise, then great, because that’s one. But skipping your warm-up, your dietary choices, and increasing workout strength or difficulty are all factors too. Being careful promotes optimal breathing, healthy internal organs with careful food, and deep breath control helps to give the body what it needs. It’s all about taking it in the right ways and being good to your body first.

Ways to stop them

Some of these can be so simple it’s too easy. Just listen up and take note of these easy steps.

  • Slow down – Make sure to slow down, part of the problem is that the pace you’re going at is continuing to cause strain on whatever region it is, so slow down and let your body catch up.
  • Practice belly breathing – Make sure to practice your deep breaths, with side stitch pain, you can feel the relief not long after.
  • Stretch your arms and your abs – A classic one, repetitive movements need warming up on. If you are repeatedly causing strain somewhere, then you need to make sure that area is ready for it.
  • Push on the stitch – Another easy solution, make sure to push on the stitch. You’ll feel the pain of it at first, but then naturally, it’ll begin to subside.


It may be highly contested as to where the stitch comes from, or what causes it in reality, but we do know that there are many runners around the world practising the ways in which reduction is likely, prevention possible, and a smart approach to injury employable. Make sure you do the right thing and prepare, and it’ll be all good news for your body.


Is breathing deeply to one level the best?

It doesn’t have to be your deepest breath, it can be beneficial to take lesser breaths, too, just make sure it’s within the deep range, and you’ll be fine.

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