Sunday, December 05, 2010

Good-bye, side stitches!

Sky ran 3 miles with me today!

Next Saturday we are running Jingle Bell 5K together, and she is all ready for it. I posted a couple weeks ago about how she gets cramps, or side stitches, nearly EVERY time she runs lately. It has become very frustrating for her because she loves to run, but the side stitches have been slowing her down (or forcing her to stop at times). She always avoids eating or drinking too close to a run (only very small, controlled sips of water), and that hasn't seemed to help. Today, after only two minutes into our run, she started experiencing the very familiar and annoying side stitch. In the past, all I have known to tell her is to press the area of her cramp with her fingers (I had read that somewhere), and 90% of the time that has not helped. However, today was different, and she was able to get rid of the cramps and stave them off for the rest of the run. SUCCESS!!

Lately, thanks to Brian, I have been trying to get her to focus on her breathing. He recommended teaching her to consciously acquire a breathing pattern of 2-2 or 3-3. I realized I do that naturally - most of the time, it's a 3-3 for me; if I'm running faster or harder it's 2-2.  It has been hard for her to put that knowledge to use, but today she finally got it, and started running with a 3-3 breathing pattern.

At the same time, I got her to concentrate on her running form. I read somewhere recently (I can't remember where so I can't cite the source) that a poor running form can also cause side stitches. When running, the arms should be at the sides and parallel to the ground. I noticed Sky does a lot of crossing her arms in front as she runs. I instructed her to try to keep her arms at her sides and point her thumbs upward - a method I read that helps to keep the arms at the sides. I couldn't believe how quickly and easily she adapted to that form!

After a few minutes, she said the stitches were going away. After 2 miles, she said the stitches were gone, and was going another mile. When we got to the end of our third mile, we stopped running and walked the rest of the way home. She was smiling, beaming, sweaty (despite the 20 degree temp), and very proud of herself.

Well, almost the rest of the way. There is a very steep hill about 1/10 of a mile long to our house. At the bottom of it, she very casually said, "Hey Mom, guess what?"

"What?" I answered.

"I'm going to beat you up the hill." And suddenly high-tailed it.

And yes, she beat me. (Although I have to say she had a head start.)


Brian said...

Yay! I'm glad my advice helped. Good luck with the Jingle Bell run next week!

Tanya said...

I am so glad you were able to help us! Thanks Brian!