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How to Avoid Side Stitches

You’re cruising along at a nice clip when suddenly your breath’s cut short by a sharp pain in your side. A stitch can halt your run. Not anymore.


  • Step 1: Avoid big meals Avoid eating a big meal within two hours of running—a full stomach can jostle your diaphragm and spawn a stitch.
  • Step 2: Practice breathing Practice deep breathing, filling your belly with air, to stretch and loosen up your diaphragm.
  • Step 3: Build your abs Build up your abdominal muscles with 10 to 20 sit-ups and stomach crunches a day. These muscles will help keep your internal organs from jiggling and affecting your diaphragm.
  • Step 4: Breathe deeply If stitches hit you during a run, consciously start breathing deeply until the pain goes away.
  • TIP: Change your breathing pattern—particularly by exhaling when the opposite foot hits the ground.
  • Step 5: Rest If need be, take a breather. If the pain is bad, rest on your back with your legs elevated. When the stitch goes away, you can resume running.
  • FACT: Side stitches affect swimmers more frequently than runners.

You Will Need

  • Strong abs

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