How To Stop Runner’s Stitch Every Time It Strikes!

How To Stop Runner’s Stitch Every Time It Strikes!

Is there anything more annoying than getting stitch? It’s up there with blisters and chafing for things runners hate. Get rid of stitch every time with these tips!

What Causes Runner’s Stitch?

Most of us have experienced it, but experts still don’t understand what causes it. Some think it’s a form of cramp, caused by lack of blood flow, erratic breathing and/or pressure on the diaphragm. Stitch can feel like a stabbing sensation that comes and goes, or an annoying ache you can’t get rid of. It can be central, under the diaphragm, or to either side. Sometimes it feels like it’s moving about. Whatever the origin, all we know is that it’s painful and annoying!

Food And Drink To Combat Stitch

Make sure you eat and drink the smartest way to avoid stitch.

What you eat It

It makes sense to avoid hard-to-digest foods before you run. That means nothing too heavy, and easy on the fat and fibre both of which can cause gastric issues.


If it’s a long run, a hot day, or a tough race, your stitch could be linked to loss of electrolytes. So make sure you have a sports drink with added electrolytes, or water with an electrolyte sachet or tablet, or a gel which contains electrolytes and minerals.

Pre-Run Tactics To Avoid Stitch

There are a few things you can do before setting off to lessen the chances of getting stitch.

Warm Up Properly

Make sure you warm up before setting off on a run, particularly if you are doing a fast session like intervals, race pace or a track session. Include breathing exercises in your warm up and open up your chest, back, shoulders and lungs.

Core Strength Helps

A stronger core and abs might mean you can combat stitch. It will certainly mean a better posture and the ability to hold your tummy tighter when stitch strikes. So add core strength work like planks and side planks into your weekly training.

Got Stitch? Try This

If stitch strikes during your run, try these ways of getting rid of it.

Breathe Easy

Get into a regular breathing pattern which isn’t too slow or too fast. Don’t tense up or hold your breath. Relax your chest, shoulders, upper back, arms and hands. A regular and easy breathing pattern can really help banish stitch.

Exhale In Rhythm

Here’s a tip which can really help get rid of stitch when it strikes. Think about exhaling hard every time your foot hits the ground. If the stitch is on the left side, exhale as your right foot strikes the ground. This works in two ways: gets your breathing into a regular pattern, and uses the muscles of your core to control the cramps.

Stretch It Out

If all else fails, stop and stretch. Stand tall and reach both hands up to the sky, stretching out your waist. Then do slow side bends to stretch out your ribs.

If you get stitch often, or if it doesn’t go away, get it checked out just to be sure there’s no bigger problem at play. But for the occasional and annoying runner’s stitch, we hope these tips help.

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