If you know me you’ll probably be scratching your head about the title of this post. “Doesn’t Kendra hate references to Forrest Gump and especially to that line?” Yes. Absolutely. Completely. A Million Times Over.

For those of you who don’t know me in real life, my middle name really is Forrest (no; I’m not making it up, yes; I do spell it with a double r, yes; my dad was is a hippy, and no; I am not named after the founder of the KKK… now that we’re through the usual questions…) and I really do hate the movie Forrest Gump. I have no better reason than the line “Run, Forrest, Run.”

After hearing it two hundred million and sixty eight times growing up (doing cross country), I would be happy to go back in time and steal every script for that movie before it was made and burn them all in a glorious bonfire that I would dance around naked while singing operatic revenge songs. Prevention really is key.

Well, it’s too late for that and I’m stuck with an imposed slogan for the rest of my life, or until I change my name. I figure that like cottage cheese, I should really just use it and maybe learn to love it… eventually. In the meantime I’ll cringe every time I write a post with this theme (and possibly throw up in my mouth a little).

This brings me to the point of this post (really, I do have one…). I love running. I really love it. Unfortunately it doesn’t love me back. Never fear, though, I am a relentless lover and I will pursue that bitch until she hearts me back.

On Monday I did the hardest run I’ve ever done. I’m still doing intervals but I increased the speed of both the running and the walking. The result of this was that not only did I sweat like a hippo in August, but I also got the dreaded side stitch. Sonofabitch.

That was when I had to remember that I do, in fact, know how to prevent these. I don’t know if there is a drop of scientific evidence to back this up, I found it in a sketchy looking article, but here are some of the ways I prevent and relieve side stitches (cue the catch phrase).

Stitch in your side stealing the spring in your step? Try this:

1. Exhale when your left foot hits the ground rather than when your right foot hits. Apparently the side stitch occurs because of muscle spasms in your diaphragm caused my the impact of your internal organs bouncing while you run. There are less heave organs on the left side, though, so not allowing your diaphragm to expand upward (as it does when you exhale) while the heavier organs are coming down for impact is helpful.

2. Moderate your breathing for multiple steps. When I first start my workout I’ll usually do a 3:3 breath cycle. Breathe in on right, left, right and breathe out on left, right, left. That keeps my diaphragm from expanding or collapsing too quickly in either direction. Once I’m really in the run and feeling like panting like a Newfoundland I switch it to 2:2 starting each with my left foot.
3. Breathe deep belly breaths. You should actually do this all the time but especially when working out. Your shoulders should never move while you are breathing.

4. Combine all of the above and pretend that you are breathing through a straw. I don’t know why it works but it does.

5. Press hard right under your ribs on your right side. Maybe it’s just shifting the focus of sensation but it seems to work.

These things might only work because of a shift of focus but, hey, I don’t mind placebo effect as long as I get to keep running.

Any more tips for preventing and treating side stitches?

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