So, I have a client who has just started running. She’s having troubles with side aches. I’ve recommended not eating within an hour of starting her run, making sure she’s properly hydrating, paying attention to her breathing (try to inhale through nose and exhale through mouth) and take deep breaths rather than short ones. I can’t think of anything else and they happen like 3 minutes in. I’ve been running since high school so I can’t remember what it’s like to be a beginning runner and having these problems, anyone have any other tips?
When a person suffers from a side stitch while running the cause is usually related to shallow breathing. Have your client focus on taking deep breathes in a consistent rhythm. She should try to take between three to four steps with each breath in and three to four more steps for each breath out. I teach participants in my marathon training programs to run at a pace where they can say three words between breaths. If they can say “How are you?” between breaths they are using a comfortable pace. You may want to have your client breathe in through her mouth. I have been a runner for about 38 years and I have always taken in air through my mouth. I can’t get enough air in if I try to breath through my nose. Finally, the next time she does get a side stitch it is very easy to get rid of. Have her blow air out forcefully through pursed lips as if she was trying to blow up a balloon. Within three to four breaths like that she should see relief. Denny
Have her SLOW DOWN – WAY down. My running clients are always surprised at how slow I have beginners run (13-15 minute miles). She should be able to answer a question in a short sentence without gasping during her run.
Intervals should be very short to begin with and build slowly (I start my running groups at 1 minute 3 times with 5 minute breaks and progress each time, but very slowly, especially since I work with older women, mostly).
If slowing down doesn’t keep them at bay, have her slow to a walk (not stop) when it happens, and take two fingers just below the rib cage and press in and up. What has generally happened is the diaphragm has spasm’d and the organs are pressing on it so it can’t release (that’s why it’s generally the right side where the liver is). Usually this will release it and after another few seconds, she can start running slowly again.