Exercise! - Horrible pain while running.. help??

03-28-2007, 01:00 PM
Hi all. I was going to try to figure it out myself, but I'm just stumped.. and it's really not cool.

I'm on week 3 of C25k. The first two weeks were fine for me... no pain at all, no real struggling. When I looked at the schedule for week 3, I was excited.. didn't seem like anything more than I could handle.

My first day of it, I forgot to stretch beforehand. During the 3 minutes the first time, I began to get a painful stitch, but using the breathing methods on the Cool Running website, i was able to get rid of them, and make the run enjoyable. The next day I took off, after that I had day 2, which went fine. I figured the stitch was from not stretching beforehand.

Then yesterday. I had been having some upper back pain at work. My plan had been to run after work, so after going home and resting for a bit (normally after sitting for 20-30 minutes, I have no problem with back pain for a while) So I rested, then got changed, stretched, and went out. While running the 90 seconds - which had been no problem for me in the past - I began getting a stitch. Focusing on my breathing made that somewhat tolerable. Walking made it go away. Back to the jogging, for 3 minutes.. halfway through I had to stop and sit on a curb. The pain was horrible, I couldn't even walk with it. So I sat and stretched it until it felt like it went away, then got up and continued jogging.. more like a walk with a bounce really, a bit slower than I usually go (Not that how i go normally is fast, but it's slightly faster than I walk). I continue to have pain the rest of the time I jog, but it's not as bad as that once. I keep it slow, and complete.

Today I decided to go out again, instead of taking the rest day like I had planned. Not to go out hard or crazy, but I wanted to see if the pain was better after a night of resting. I kept the same pace as I had yesterday, pretty much walking with a bounce. And yes, there was pain, by the time I finished the first 90 second jog I was hurting. I couldn't even finish the workout - by the time I got 5 seconds into the last 3 minute jog, it was really bad, and I knew I shouldn't push myself that hard. I turned around and went home.

Im taking the next day or two off of running to give my body a break. Im thinking maybe I strained myself at work, which is odd because i work as a cashier. Nothing heavy. But I wanted to know if any of you more experienced runners had any suggestions to help me. I haven't been able to really relax and enjoy my runs today or yesterday because I was hurting so badly.. help!

Thanks for reading!


03-28-2007, 04:08 PM
Dear FaeReverie: I jumped in here because I have a similar problem with strong cramping, and was hoping that someone more in the know advising you would give me some clues, as well.
Within the last year, I've been getting occasional severe cramps. Sometimes it in a foot, sometimes a calf--but from time to time a couple new spots -in a thigh, of all places--will be really cramping, and I haven't been exercising, or anything. Maybe I should drink less coffee (tho I make it half decaf/half reg), as I've read it leaches the calcium from one's body. Maybe I should be taking more calcium. I'm on levothyroxine for hypothyroid & lisinopril for blood pressure regulation. Dunno if that's got anything to do with these awful muscle cramps or not. It's really painful--I know exactly what you mean. You dare NOT exercise, for fear of bringing it on, and yet--we need to exercise! What to do??!!

03-28-2007, 10:54 PM
Fae, side stitches are pretty common and they can hurt like crazy, but if it is in your torso and hurting that bad, I'd really suggest getting checked out by your doctor just to make sure you don't have any serious problems. Running isn't healthy for you if it triggers a previously unknown heart condition! Once you pass that hurdle, I'd suggest taking it easier--the C25K program was too much for me to start with and I had to build up slower--in both running speed and duration.

Virgo, there are lots of theories about what causes cramping, overstressing muscles (building too fast), dehydration, electrolyte imbalances (sodium, potassium, calcium primarily), etc etc etc. I've had terrible spasms when I was building to my first half marathon, and also when I was pregnant, both obviously physically stressful times. If you are taking meds I'd ask your doctor about it.


03-28-2007, 11:13 PM
The usual first recommendation for side stitches when running is to breathe when the other foot comes down.

Or, walk more for a while and take the C25K plan much slower. Running guru Jeff Galloway's beginners running program is here: http://www.jeffgalloway.com/training/beginners.html

03-28-2007, 11:17 PM
What is the cool running site? I could use some help with my breathing..

03-30-2007, 07:36 PM
Thanks everyone!

I tried to run again today, after taking 2 days off. The first running parts (90 seconds and 3 minutes) I did at the slow jog, and I was terrified.. and nothing happened. I was fine. So the second time, I took a deep breath and went at my normal pace. It was great, there was absolutely no pain at all. I couldn't stop grinning. I think I know what happened.. My apartment complex is circular, and I run around the parking lot. The day the bad pain started, I was running in the middle of the lot, instead of near the side where I usually stay, when I thought I heard a car behind me. I turned quickly while running to see if anyone was there.. and Im guessing that did something. Teaches me to be more careful!

Anne - I would have gone to a doctor, except (and I hate to say this with a passion) I'm uninsured and have no money for a doc. If the pain had persisted, my next step would have been to contact my father and stepmother. My dad is a physical therepist, and he knows much about fitness and things - he's the person I usually turn to with questions like that. His wife is a nurse who is also experinced with weight loss. So I figured they would be of some help.. or at least help me pay for a doctor's visit if they couldn't. I still plan on discussing what happened with him.