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Sticking it out through stitches.

the causes of stomach cramps (or "stitches") during runs remain fairly unknown. Many trainers believe these painful diaphragm spasms are associated with gravitational forces and occur when running tugs at the connective tissues in your GI tract. They may also be related to an excess of food or fluid in your stomach at the time of your run. It's advisable to avoid eating less than four hours before a long run, and frequent but small quantities of fluid are better to ingest than large drinks at a time.

As uncomfortable as they can be, you can usually run through a stitch, though right-side cramps can be more severe and may require you to stop. To alleviate a stitch mid-run, try raising your arms over your head and "breathing into" it deeply. Lower your arms as you forcefully exhale, and tighten your ab muscles. Or try bending over as you breathe in and exhale through pursed lips. Many runners have luck concentrating on other body parts until the stitch clears itself up. If you find the pain is particularly severe, pull off the road and with your knee raised on the stitch side, press your fingers into the painful area, massaging it.
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Title Annotation:Ways we Run
Publication:Running & FitNews
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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