02-23-2004, 03:28 AM
Hello i am a keen young junior tennis player and do quite a bit of running about 4-5 days a week and 5-6 km each time. I am quite good in the legs but it is stitches that are bringing me down and really hurting my running. like i am great when they stitches dont occur but they probably occur once every 3 runs.

i drink water before hand etc. what other tips do you have?

thanks guys

02-23-2004, 09:41 PM
You just have to ignore the pain and run through them-eventually they will go away during your run. Mind over matter. They can't really hurt you.

02-24-2004, 02:42 PM
Side stitches are from weak stomach wall ; like Phil said they go away with repition. Doing crunches or abb exercice will hellp speed it up.

bruce nissenbaum
02-24-2004, 09:21 PM
Hi Robbie

Based on 32 years experience coaching HS track and cross-country, I will try to comment without knowing your overall fitness and conditioning, how you train overall, the pace or variety of your runs, etc.

First. I don't care what anyone says: Never run through pain!! Pain is the body's mechanism for letting you know something may be, or is about to be, seriously wrong. However, do learn to distinguish pain from discomfort and try to deal with discomfort. Yet I still would not accept even discomfort for a long period of time during a training run. As you improve your overall fitness, discomfort will be 'pushed' farther and farther toward the end of your run and, possibly, eventually be a non-factor.

Two. The 'common stitch' experienced by most runners is the result of weak or overused abdominal muscles and, mostly, the diaphragm worked during breathing. To help prevent occurrence of the 'common stitch' requires a well devised abdominal stretching and strengthen program, learning how to do relaxed, controlled belly-breathing to limit and make more efficient the number of diaphragm repetitions during a run, and developing a progressive, varied running schedule of distances and speeds to train the abdominals and diaphragm to react to different breathing patterns during the activity.
The 'stomach stitch' often results from formation of gas pocket from faulty digestion resulting from improper eating routine prior to runs. To help prevent this requires a lot of trial and error as to what you can/cannot tolerate and how long before your training runs you should eat. If a 'stomach stitch' occurs during a run, it can often times be relieved by bending over slightly at the waist and pushing in on the abdominal area where the stitch is felt, while exhaling vigorously. Until you learn to do this while running, it is best to stop when you try to 'free' the gas bubble(s).

Three. The younger the athlete, the more critical that any plan be gradual. Growth begets its own problems and the young athlete, especially, has to be aware not to 'push the envelope' when things don't feel right (not that anyone else should do so, but my personal experiences with adolescent athletes plus my research leaves me with a very strong opinion about not pushing young athletes too far, too fast). To me, no pain, no gain has no place in a young athlete's life.

Four. It might be worth the time to visit your school's track or cross-country coach and ask for help in developing a program as I suggested in number 2. Tennis and track are spring sports in the east where I coached, but a lot of tennis players were on my fall cross-country teams for conditioning and turned out to be great long distance competitors and champions who built tremendous stamina and endurance for the tennis season. It might be worth thinking about.

Again, it is difficult to be helpful without knowing much about your routines, so I hope there is something useful for you to consider in this post. If you'd like, feel free to email me if you have any questions about what I've posed or if you think I might be able to be helpful in some other way.

Good luck with the tennis. :)


02-24-2004, 10:25 PM
Bruce's recommendations are outstanding and right on the mark. I wish he were my coach back in CT 35 years ago, when the Villanova (Bump Elliott) method dominated -- run as hard as you can as fast as you can as far as you can every day ... in hard, cushion-less shoes ... Marty Liquori had a brilliant, short carrier ... Then cam the Oregon/Bill Browerman method, hard/easy days, long slow distance, better shoes, let the body recover ...

Now? I don't know, listen to guys like Bruce who know their stuff and are working with athletes.


02-25-2004, 12:03 PM
thanks guys for all your feeback it was much appreciated. yeh i am a very fit young athlete 18 who decided to start running to help tennis about 3 months ago. I now run faster distance times than my sister who is state standard. but im a guy i guess.

yeh my weakness would be stomach muscle area and my sisters coach said my breathing patterns might be causing the stitches as well. so im doing a lot of sit ups and improving my breathing. the legs are fine as i got a lot of miles in em

thanx once again

Radical Shot
02-25-2004, 04:51 PM
Don't eat 2 Big Mac's before running.
lamborghini 400gt monza (http://www.lamborghini-tech.com/wiki/Lamborghini_400GT_Monza)

02-25-2004, 05:51 PM
"To me, no pain, no gain has no place in a young athlete's life."

Then I suppose you and my old H.S. football coach would not see eye to eye. His idea of a "training run" was to run everyone around the field, in mid-August (temps. in the mid-80's, humidity: HIGH) in full equipment, and not stop until at least a half a dozen players had to stop and puke their guts out in the tall grass on the side of the track. That brought out a crooked grin to the old basta*d, and he would blow his whistle and call "Okay, knock it off". Those words were music to my dumb, young ears.