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BTLSMUM SparkPoints: (31,452)
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11/7/12 8:13 A

Thanks, Coach Nancy. I will look into those breathing exercises.

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (65,167)
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11/7/12 5:24 A

If I enjoy the run too much and stop controlling my breathing, I sense stitch development, and I pick up the control of my breathing again. Essentially I try to take in plenty of oxygen through deep and fast enough breathing. I found that this prevents the stitches in my case.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
11/6/12 1:14 P

I read somewhere (sorry, no cite) that ensuring you breathe in on the left-foot-down can help. Whenever I feel a stitch starting to come on I do this, and I haven't had any problems.

SP_COACH_NANCY SparkPoints: (158,833)
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11/6/12 8:35 A

Hi BTLSMUM,

Let me clarify my point regarding side stitches.

Side stitches are not caused by water. The cause of side stitches is multi-faceted which is why there is not a single solution. Many times, just allowing time for your body to adapt to the pace and working on your breathing can help.

Stitches are thought to be caused by the diaphragm going into a spasm or if the contents in the stomach push on the diaphragm (if you eat or drink a lot prior to an event) thus pushing on the other internal organs which causes the discomfort we feel. They may also occur due to faulty breathing or running so hard you jar the ligaments that support the diaphragm.

What to do is slow down or stop until the pain subsides. You can try exhaling forcefully through pursed lips, too.

If the side stitches are caused from faulty breathing, you will want to spend some time working on some belly breathing techniques...lie flat on your back (no pillow) and place a book on your lower abdomen, then breathe deeply raising and lowering the book with each breath.

As far as eating, this can be a problem for some, so you may want to wait a little longer after eating or drink juice which will allow you to get some sugar into your system, but it will be digested and out of your stomach come your run.

Slowing down and deep belly breathing can be the easiest way to handle this very common issue.

As far is your son is concerned, he may want to talk with his cross country track coach. There are lots of different breathing techniques to try.

Just know that you cannot force the body to adapt to a pace that the body is not prepared to run. And he should not look at this as doing something wrong, even the elite runners have been known to experiences stitches, to the point where they literally had to stop in a world class marathon to allow the spasm to relax.

I hope this helps!

Coach Nancy

BTLSMUM SparkPoints: (31,452)
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11/6/12 6:38 A

Coach Nancy said this in another post, "The side stitches could be caused by the water, but it could also be caused by running too fast which causes a spasm in the diaphragm (the muscle that allows our lungs to expand)."

I was wondering how one can overcome diaphragm spasms? My oldest son ran cross country and towards the end of the season, he struggled with this issue. We worked on making sure he was hydrated, well fed but not too close to running, rested, etc. Obviously, the goal is to run fast so running slower would be counterproductive. He got them both in practice and in meets. Most of the time, he was able to use his breathing to power through but at the last meet he was really hurting.

I know this is a pretty technical question and I'm not necessarily looking for a specific answer, but suggestions on what other people have done or things we can try that might work. I'm just giving specific details to set up the situation. Any and all info is a big help prior to track season. :)

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