Runner’s Low

My past two runs have been disasters. Far from flying along, I hobbled stubbornly for awhile and then was reduced to walking. My affliction? A plain old stitch in my side.

I didn’t sleep well Friday night, so when I set out to run on Saturday, I was prepared to struggle. After a mile, I felt a small pain developing in my right side beneath my rib cage. I tried slowing down and focusing on my breath, but the pain increased until I was nearly doubled over. Defeated, I walked most of the 5 miles route I’d planned.

Sunday was a repeat battle with the stitch. I lost again.

I consulted the infinite wisdom of Google to try to determine what was causing my stitch and how to prevent them in the future. Apparently physiologists don’t know why running causes these pains. Some possibilities are eating right before running, drinking too much water, and not drinking enough water. An article by a Navy Seal suggested that a strong core can help prevent them.

Whatever the cause, I am interpreting my stitch as a warning from my body. If I overzealously run too far, too fast before building up my endurance, then I could injure myself. I enjoy running because it is challenging. If there were no obstacles, then I would probably get bored with it pretty quickly.

Also, I can’t forget the importance of cross-training. I want to take my bike out on the Erie Canal bike trail soon. (It’s been nearly two years since I went on a bike ride.)

A barn by the Erie Canal in March. Soon the bare trees will be sporting leaves.

A barn by the Erie Canal in March. Soon the bare trees will be sporting leaves.

Questions of the Day: Any thoughts on how to prevent the dreaded side stitch?