Perhaps my biggest problem when I run is stitch, despite my best efforts to avoid it (not eating before running, occasional core workouts and warming up properly) I still have runs like this . From 30mins onwards I could not get any flow going and had to keep stopping to wait for stitch to clear.

Now this isn’t just a whine about the limitations of my body (although that is part of it) because there are probably other people out there suffering from a similar affliction. Despite the fact that these people will never read my blog, these are the key things that I have found over many hours of internet searching:

  1. Wait 1-2 hours before running after a large meal. Especially if you ate a lot of carbs or fibre.
  2. Drink only water or electrolyte drinks before and during runs, avoid coke or other high carbohydrate drinks.
  3. Do specific torso stretches in your warm-up such as chest rotations and torso reaches to relax your abdominal and oblique muscles before running.
  4. Core workouts especially for the abs, these help to strengthen the muscles around your torso and reduce the likelihood of stitch. Core exercises also help with running posture and efficiency so even if you don’t suffer from stitch you should do them anyway.
  5.  Some people say that breathing with your stomach or “belly breathing” is better than chest breathing in terms of avoiding stitch I can’t say that I notice a difference when switching between the two.

Edit: Since writing this post I did another run ( where I tried the belly breathing technique again and I worked very well. So perhaps there is some merit in it after all.



Business Time

As the sun  begins to shine on Canterbury again it’s time for the racing season to begin. This being my first seriously competitive year I have selected 3 very different races to focus on along with the usual orienteering in the background.

First up is the Bell Hill Challenge ( a chance to follow in Nick’s footsteps and see how I compare to some of the best trail runners in Canterbury. Aiming for a top 10 finish in this one. The course starts with a brutal 600m climb over the first 2.5 km then undulates around the edges of the dalethorpe orienteering map before coming onto the gravel road for a few km to the finish. Total of 19km with about 850m of climb.

Next its onto the 10km road race at the Selwyn running festival ( here I am aiming for the overall win but that will really depend on who else races. Judging by last years results it should be feasible but if a real road runner were to turn up then I would be screwed.

Finally the Longbeach coastal challenge ( this is a 35km mountain bike race that has previously featured the likes of Anton Cooper and Ben Oliver. As this will be my first ever mtb race I’m not entirely sure what to expect. But my goal is to get in the top 20 overall, and hopefully get my hands on a share of the prize money if I can win the junior category.