No matter how experienced a runner you are, stitches can happen. This type of pain can be quite frustrating, because it can impede your run. You may be on course to making a new personal best, when your side suddenly becomes painful and you find you have to stop for a while – thereby wasting precious minutes.
It is impossible to completely prevent those pesky side stitches, but here are some steps on how to prevent stitches while running.
Doing warm up and cool down exercises are extremely vital before you start running to prevent those pesky stitches. Such exercises will help to relax your muscles and prepare them for the workout session ahead.
After that, you should not simply go from a slow walk and straight into a run. Instead, try to slowly ease yourself into the run by doing a brisk walk for several minutes and gradually increasing your pace.
Breathe more efficiently
On how to prevent stitches while running, you could try to regulate your breathing so it is more regular. Have you noticed how swimmers breathe? They synchronise the pace of their breathing to their swimming strokes. By matching your breathing to your running strides (i.e. inhale for two to four strides, then exhale for the same number), you will not only be greatly reducing your chances of suffering from stitches during your run, but will also gain by improving your body’s efficiency of transporting oxygen during your workout session.
Take note of what you eat
Look at what your pre-run meal consists of. This is typically the meal that is eaten about two to three hours before your run. If the food is high in fats and fibre, these will take very long for the body to digest – so have food with low fat levels. And then if you go out for a run so soon after eating such foods, it will create problems such as stitches. Preferably, your meal should consist of plenty of refined carbs, such as white bread, pasta or rice, because these are easy on the body and will digest easily, so that your body can then focus on helping you to run, rather than having to digest the food at the same time.
Stick to foods that you are familiar with
A few hours before a workout, do not try new foods that your body is not familiar with or there may be trouble in digesting this. Instead, eat foods that you know you have no trouble digesting. This is because if the body has never encountered the food before, it may spend a much longer time digesting it. So by the time you are supposed to be running, the body won’t be able to focus all of its energy to helping you run, because it will still be trying to digest food. Your body isn’t very good at multi-tasking in this manner, so it will give rise to problems such as stitches during your run.
Drink plenty of fluids
Drinking lots of liquids before and during your run also helps with stitches. This is because the fluids help to lubricate your muscles and prevent dehydration. However you should not simply drink any beverage. The best types to ingest would be water or isotonic drinks. However, try not to take in fruit juice or alcohol, because these will dehydrate the muscles and aren’t so good for lubrication purposes.
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