I'll blame my poor showing on the fact I felt drained this morning - but I did wake up with the thought "he's at 1184, I can do day 2 of 3". So, out of bed and onto the street in my new running rain jacket. It sadly didn't make me feel better, or worse, so I'll be happy I didn't give in today.
Since C was just saying about side stitches "I just wish I knew how to get rid of them altogether" I figured I could do some research and shed some light on the problem.
Common knowledge is that side stitches are caused by spasming in the diaphram. In high school I was taught a technique to combat side stiches without having to stop running. Runners' World covers it pretty nicely here along with some more techniques. It has worked for me.
When a side stitch occurs, stop running and take some deep breaths. Then, press your first two fingers in and slightly upward directly where it hurts and hold for about 10 seconds. While pressing in and up, take more deep breaths. You can continue this process of pressing in and up, all around the edge of your ribs up to your sternum.
The New York Times put out an article a year ago in their Really? collumn that it might be posture causing the problem. I do know that C, who generally has great posture and works to improve mine, falls apart a bit on the uphills of runs.
One explanation is that poor running form may affect nerves that run from the upper back to the abdomen. Another is that hunching increases friction on the peritoneum, a membrane that surrounds the abdominal cavity. This could also explain why controlled breathing seems to help relieve stitches: drawing deep breaths fills the lungs and improves posture.
- Really?: The Claim: Side Stitches? Change Your Posture.
by Anahad O'Connor. Feb 28th 2011
The common thread is that focusing on deep breathing and good posture will help alieviate side stitches. Strengthening your abs (push ups?) , staying hydrated (all day, not just during the run) and not over-eating prior to a run will help prevent them. My coach taught us that hill repeats, track work outs, and anything else to push your lactic threshold help to prevent the issue as well.
Other articles I found:
Women in Sports
A video on how to get rid of side stiches