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went from 3mins To 5 a little to fast! Can't do the last 5! Pain help! Lol

Guest Toni

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well ....I'm on week 4 and on the second day of 3,5,3,5 minute jogs. That extra two minutes is hurting! The last 5mins I just can't do. Really bad right low stomah cramps! Not sure what I'm doing wrong or if there is something I can do to prevent this pain!! Any suggestions?!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Toni


I just did my first day of week 4 today and had the same problem!  I was feeling really confident at the end of week 3 as could do the 3 minutes jogging with out too much trouble, just a little out of breath, but today after jogging 3, 5, 3 I too could not finish the last 5, due to what felt like a huge stitch (but not in the place where I normally get a stitch) that would not go away despite doing my normal stretching and breathing techiques. It took the remaining minutes of the 5 min jog and the full cool down before it went away.


I have decided I am going to go back to week 3, and when the voice says to walk after the 3 minutes I will instead run for one more minute, then do the walking. That way I will build up to 4 minutes before I tackle 5 minutes. Hopefully that will work.

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Hey there, It is ok. We all have things once in awhile that slow us down.   Slow down your run a little bit and see if that helps.


Sportsmedicine.com had this to say:     Most runners have experienced a side stitch or side ache at one time or another during exercise. That sharp, localized twinge of pain just below the rib cage that usually occurs on the the right lower abdomen. It is particularly common in runners and has been known to slow some athletes down to a walk until the pain subsides.

Today, researchers refer to this nagging abdominal pain by the much more technical and scientific term, "exercise-related transient abdominal pain" (ETAP). Regardless of what you call it, the pain is often enough to stop runners and swimmers in their tracks and hold their sides in agony.

What Causes a Side Stitch

While there is still no definitive explanation for the cause of a side stitch, there are several very convincing theories. The majority of the researchers believe that it has a lot to do with what we eat before we exercise.

Several studies agree that ETAP is most common in running and swimming. The pain is described as well-localized in the right or left lower abdomen. The pain of the side stitch often interfered with performance, but wasn't related to the athlete's gender or body mass index. ETAP was far less common in older athletes.

The most important factor in developing ETAP seems to be the timing of the pre-event meal. One study reported that consuming reconstituted fruit juices and beverages high in carbohydrate and osmolality (a measure of concentration), either just before or during exercise triggered the onset of a stitch, particularly in susceptible individuals. The symptoms didn't seem to be related to the amount of food eaten (gastric volume).

A more complicated explanation put forth by some researchers is that a side stitch is caused by stretching the ligaments that extend from the diaphragm to the internal organs, particularly the liver. The jarring motion of running while breathing in and out stretches these ligaments. Runners tend to exhale every two or four steps. Most people exhale as the left foot hits the ground, but some people exhale when the right foot hits the ground. It is the later group who seem more prone to get side stitches.

Exhaling when the right foot hits the ground causes greater forces on the liver (which is on the right side just below the rib cage). So just as the liver is dropping down the diaphragm raises for the exhalation. It is believed this repeated stretching leads to spasms in the diaphragm.

What to Do for a Side Stitch

If you develop a side stitch when running, stop running and place your hand into the right side of your belly and push up while inhaling and exhaling evenly. As you run or swim, try to take even, deep breaths. The stretched ligament theory would argue that shallow breathing tends to increase the risk of a stitch because the diaphragm is always slightly raised and never lowers far enough to allow the ligaments to relax. When this happens the diaphragm becomes stressed and a spasm or "stitch" is more likely.

Some other ways to alleviate the pain of a side stitch include:

Tips for Preventing a Side Stitch
  • Time your pre-race meal to allow it to digest prior to the event
  • Avoid drinking reconstituted fruit juices and beverages high in carbohydrate and osmolality before and during exercise
  • Stretching may relieve the pain of a stitch. Raise your right arm straight up and lean toward the left. Hold for 30 seconds, release, then stretch the other side.
  • Slow down your pace until pain lessens.
  • Massage or press on the area with pain. Bend forward to stretch the diaphragm and ease the pain.
  • * If you continue to experience pain, see your doctor.
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Thanks Kellyb that's really helpful advice!


I did week 4 day 1 again yesterday and didn't get the stich until 35 seconds before the very last running section. I therefore tend to agree with the pre-run meal theory, as on both times I had the stitch I had the same snack before I went running, but at different times before I started. Next time I won't have that snack and see if I still get the stitch!

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I'm in week 6 day 2. I get those pains also and I've noticed that if I eat too soon before the exercise I hurt a lot. Eating at least an hour (preferably longer) before running helped me to eliminate the pain. Another thing I do to help with the pain while running is titenning my abdominal muscles. When I run and let it all just kinda hang and shake it hurts sooner.

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