I recently re-starting my running programme and was shocked to find I could only run 5-10 minutes before having to stop due to pain under the ribs. At first thought I presumed this was due to being deconditioned but when this didn’t settle after a few weeks I sought the advice of my good friend and colleague Daniel Kay (Osteopath at http://www.danielkayosteopathy.co.uk).
Thankfully, he had the answer! After listening to me describe my symptoms, he told me it sounded like I was experiencing a side stitch. Interestingly, this injury is really common in new runners, and those who are returning to running, and is thought to be the diaphragm going into spasm.
So of course I was very keen to find out how to treat and overcome this injury and thought I would share the tips he gave me. I have applied these to my training and am now gradually increasing my speed and distance.
TIP ONE: Make sure you are not just mouth breathing and are inhaling as much through nose as possible
TIP TWO: Try to regulate your breathing to follow the same rhythm as your gait, i.e. exhale either every left/right foot step or every other or three, depending on your effort
TIP THREE: Try to fully exhale every 20 – 30 or so breaths to try and get the last 25% out of the lungs
TIP FOUR: Keep your head up and fix your gaze at least 100m ahead, try not to look at your feet or immediately in front for prolonged periods
TIP FIVE: Make sure you are hydrated and have not just eaten