Me and Robin (Cindy, Candy and Donna for parts). 7 miles. Whoohoo! Every time I train, I re-learn how much running is all in your head. If I start out thinking I’m going to do 3 miles, I do 3 miles and that’s all I feel I can do. If I start out thinking I’m going to do 7 miles, I do 7 miles and feel just fine. It’s all in your head. I even managed to not get serious side stitches this time, primarily by focusing on diaphragmatic breathing, counting breaths a bit and doing some pursed-lip breathing. I think I figured out why I was getting side stitches:
The most effective way to prevent a side stitch is to avoid “shallow” breathing. Shallow breathing can be defined as taking in a small volume of air with each breath, using only a small portion of the total lung capacity. When this occurs while running, the diaphragm remains in a consistently high position and never lowers enough to allow the connective ligaments of the liver to relax. The diaphragm becomes stressed and a spasm or “stitch” results.
In addition, most runners are “footed”. They begin and end a respiratory cycle on the same foot while running, usually in a stride to breathing ratio of 4:1 while jogging and 2:1 while running very fast. As the runner’s breathing then becomes synchronized with his/her stride, exhalation consistently occurs on the same leg. If one repeatedly exhales (causing the diaphragm to move up) when the right foot hits the ground (forcing the organs on the right side of the body to move down), a side stitch may develop.