Jogging Help

I’ve tried jogging, but every time I get sidelined by two things:

  1. A debilitating stitch in my side after a short period of time (usually a few dozen strides). Is there a way to control these, or is it just something I have to overcome through conditioning?

  2. The next day, the muscle that runs along my shin bone cramps up like hell. I always stretch before I try to jog. Is there something I’m not doing right?


Your going to damn fast.

Try walking first for a week
Walk further next
Walk faster next
Walk faster, with a light jog every once in a while during your walk
Jog a lot slower than you think you should
Jog for longer distances
Jog with occasional faster paces
Do whatever you want because, don’t look now but, you’re successfully jogging.

  1. Side stitches. I’ve never heard of these coming on so quickly but they will improve with conditioning. They’re caused by the diaphragm cramping up.
    You need to learn to belly breathe, breathe down into the stomach not raising and expanding the chest. Practice by lying down with books on your stomach and try to raise them when you breathe.

2 Shin Splints The shin muscles are out of conditioning and swell, resulting in pain. Ice 3-4 times a day.
Walk on your toes 10-20 yards toes forward, turned in, turned out 3-5 sets each. Tap toes(like your waiting for someone) 15-30 seconds, 3-5 sets.

Couch to 5K One of the best training programs around.

Side stiches: breath evenly, from the diaphragm, like runner pat says. I found that it helps to breath in rhythm; I sometimes count to myself and breath on the counts.

Shin splints: What kind of shoes are you wearing? Cheap shoes or shoes that are not meant for running give me shin splints no matter how much I stretch before/afterwards. Go to a store that specializes in running gear and get a good pair of shoes.

I don’t think its shin splints.

To me shin splints are a constant pain that develops over a longer time, and they hurt even when walking.

I think the OP is describing more of tired and sore muscles not used to working out than well used muscles that are starting rip away from the bone.

As others have noted, there is something to be gained from breathing techniques. Here (warning PDF! - see page 165) is an article that briefly talks about side stitches and a technique to help alleviate it. In short, the side stitch should go away with more training and better breathing.

With the shin pain, what kind of stretching are you doing? I used to get shin splints as well but I was able to alleviate them by stretching my calves. I would face the wall and lean into it like I was trying to push it over. Then I’d press way back on my heels to get a really good stretch through the calves and achilles. Consider running a short distance, very slowly, before you stretch. I’ve heard stretching cold muscles isn’t such a good idea.

I also think Sigene has good advice by saying you should back off and try to build back up slowly.

Good luck with the running.

Stay on the left side of the roadway so you can see oncoming traffic.
The life you save may be your own!

I didn’t think it was shin splints…yet. Shin splints are very common to new runners. As the OP was having cramping in those muscles it’s obvious they’re weak and in need of work before it develops into shin splints.

Two things I learned (can’t remember where) to help with side stitches:

  1. Hold your arms lower when you swing them.
  2. People look at you funny, but if you purse your lips a bit, and really push your breath out (Think of the way they have women breathe when they’re in labor.) it seems to help. Maybe tightens your abdominal muscles and holds all the jiggly stuff in place?

2b. The rhythmic breathing works, too. If you’re always breathing out when your right foot strikes, you’ll commonly get a stitch on that side.

Good luck, and don’t give up! They’ll go away eventually.

New runner here. I am a weight lifter and bike rider and in good aerobic shape, and it took me 5 weeks to get to three miles with discomfort, instead of doing one mile in pain.

Shins hurt, but it went away. Just new loads for muscles that weren’t ready for it. Like weightlifing, just introducing a new type of weight training routine can hurt. Your legs need rest and will learn to adjust.

Cramps under rib cage. Yep open up your chest and get the good breathing from down low in the lungs.

Some pains stay and some go, some float in and out as just discomfort. So far, the most important thing that I’ve learned to remember is that pain = stop and rest, and discomfort = watch it and see if it doesn’t get worse. Like sore muscles, mild discomfort isn’t alarming, but often very rewarding and addictive. Pain is definitely a sign to stop, and seek professional advice if painful shins don’t stop.

Running shoes and knowing the type of stride you have can help. Get expert running shoe advice geared towards YOU.

Everyone else has covered the side stitch issue pretty well – slow down, breathe (at an easy training pace, you should be able to hold a fairly simple conversation as you run. If you can’t get out five words without panting, you’re going too fast), and if it hurts too much to keep running, slow to a walk but keep moving. Raise your arms up over your head to help stretch out your torso & diaphagm.

As for the shin pains, beginning runners often aggravate the fairly weak muscles in the front of the shin due to bad biomechanics. With easy, regular exercise, you can build up those muscles and the pain will go away, but in the interim, here are some things to think about:

Shoes – if you’re seriously going to take up running as exercise, find a local running store and buy a pair of real running shoes there. Most places will have you run on a treadmill for a bit as they film your feet and ankles, and will be able to show you a shoe that is appropriate for your particular running gait. Just picking out a pair of shoes that “feel good” or look pretty or are cheap can make things worse. A good pair of running shoes may cost $80-$120, but if you’re doing anything more than walking, getting shoes that properly distribute weight and impact is essential to avoiding injury.

Footfall – one thing that will really make your shins hurt is if you’re not properly landing (e.g. you’ll get serious shin pain quickly if you’re flexing your foot upwards too much in order to land on your heel). Different people have different styles, but by and large, don’t make the common mistake of trying to land squarely on your heel – doing so causes you to overflex at the ankle and will make shin pain much worse. Try to make the first part of your foot to touch the ground be the midpoint between your arch and your heel. A good way to fix footfall problems is to pretend that you’re running on broken glass, trying to land each step as softly and quietly as possible. This will help stop you from “stomping” on the ground as many new runners do. You’ll also want to avoid the hardest surfaces whenever possible, at least until your ankle and knee muscles build up a bit – concrete and cement (i.e. sidewalks) are the worst; asphalt is a little better; hard-packed dirt and gravel/cinder trails are pretty good; your local high school track might have a cushioned rubber surface that is close to ideal.

Gait – New runners usually haven’t figured out the right gait for easy body movement and tense up muscles that should be relaxed. Most runners don’t lean forward enough and try to get their propulsion mostly from pushing off with their toes. This will exacerbate any shin pain. How far you lean will depend somewhat on how fast you’re running, but ideally, much of your propulsion should come from the fact that your center of gravity is ahead of, rather than over, your feet. Have a friend put their hand on your chest and then lean into them until you are at a point when you’d stumble or fall if they took their hand away – that’s the body angle you want when running.

The only other casual biomechanical advice I can give is to try different things as you run, and see what feels best. I can’t discourage you enough from wearing an MP3 player to distract you when you run. Instead, spend the time trying to be conscious of what you’re doing with each part of your body and experiment with each one to see how it affects you – e.g. run a few hundred yards with your butt a little lower to work your quads more; try holding your arms higher or lower or swing them more or less; try holding your shoulders more forward or back; your chin higher or lower, etc. Becoming conscious of your body will not only lead you to your most natural and efficient running form, but it will get you more attuned to how you’re feeling along the way and teach you to differentiate between the “this hurts because I’m pushing myself” pain and the “this hurts because I’m injuring myself” pain.

Start slow, increase distance gently, breathe easily and deeply, and if nothing else, keep moving forward. Good luck.

Uzzah has a key answer. I used to buy cheap shoes and I had pain in my shins and arches. I bought a pair of those “fancy” Reboks and VOILA the pain disappeared almost over night.

Side stiches are because you don’t know how to breathe right yet. Since you’re beginning you need to walk/run till you get in better shape.

The key guide is pulse but often it’s hard to take, so here’s a simple method. Run and try to talk to yourself outload. If you can not do this without gasping, or trouble, you’re running too fast. Then slow down. What you want to do is run and then go a little faster and just till the point where you talk out loud you’d have to gasp for air. Then slow down just a bit. Then continue at that pace.

That is the goal you want to shoot for, at least when you begin. I found side stiches can be helped simply by slowing way down to almost just a stroll and BREATH IN DEEPLY. Get some oxygen to the muscle. Of course don’t do it too fast or you’ll start hyperventilating. (If that happens just cup your hands over your mouth and breathe in the air you breathe out.)

As your condition improves the side stiches will lessen.

But Uzzah was so right, get a GOOD pair of shoes.

Thanks everyone!

If you are serious about running buy good shoes. Also it is very important that you find shoes designed for your foot type. I overpronate very heavily and once the only pair of shoes I could find was designed for underpronation (the soles were tilted inwards instead of outwards). Needless to say they killed my knees and legs. Of course, since I was stuck in Bumfuck, Greece and this was the only pair of shoes I could find at the time, it was better than walking barefoot :stuck_out_tongue: You’ll probably have to try several different brands and models to find something that works well with your feet.

Also keep in mind that running shoes are expendable. The sole flattens with use and eventually won’t cushion or support your feet. I personally change my shoes every 4-5 months even if they look in good condition on the outside.

I don’t mean to hijack, but, what is “jogging” speed? A nice easy gait? What speed would it be on a treadmill? 2, 3 or 4?

The numbers on my treadmill, and most AFAIK, translate into miles per hour. My walking speed is 3.6. A 5 would translate to a 12 minute mile. When I started jogging on the treadmill, I was doing a 4.5. It varies for everyone though. A good starting speed for jogging is one that you can maintain without gasping for breath. In theory, you should be able to carry on a conversation while jogging. If you’re too breathless for that, you’re going too fast.

This advice is always given in running threads. But I must admit I am skeptical.

I jog two to three days a week during lunchtime at work. Been doing it for 12 years. I have always worn $15 Wal-Mart running shoes, and have never had a problem. I find it curious that I would be an exception to the “rule” that you must always use Expensive Jogging Shoes.

A couple weeks ago I was in a sporting goods store and decided to wander over to the shoe department. I checked out their high-dollar jogging shoes. I examined them pretty closely. They looked just like my $10 Wal-Mart shoes. :dubious: Perhaps there are subtle things in the internal design that are not obvious? Perhaps the materials are different? Yea, perhaps. But I remain skeptical.

Crafter_Man, you may be one of those blessed with perfect biomechanics. Abebe Bikila ran the 1960 Olympic Marathon barefoot.

If the cheap shoes work for you, have at it. Yes, there are differences in materials and construction that can’t be seen but are obvious when the shoe is used.

How many miles are you running? Shoes that work fine for two or three miles may show their deficiencies as you go longer.

Hardly. I do not have a “runner’s physique.” I’m short and stocky (5’ 6" and 165 lbs). I have big, wide, flat feet. (I wear size 10.5 wide shoes.) I’m not what you would consider to be “athletic.” Was never into sports in high school.

When I first started jogging 12 years ago, I suffered from *lots *of pain - shin splints, leg pain - you name it. The pains eventually went away. I don’t think “better” shoes would have made the pains go away any faster.

You don’t need a “runner’s physique” to have good biomechanics. I was referring to how the foot and leg work during the footstrike and pushoff.

165 is not horribly heavy to be a runner. Big, wide feet can still be efficient. I don’t know how flat your feet are but everyone’s feet flatten to some extent while walking and running, it’s how the foot absorbs the shock of landing. I always needed a shoe for moderate overpronation and could tell by running a few steps if a particular shoe would work for me.

As i said, if you’re running a short distance or you have really good mechanics, you can use pretty much any shoe.

I have seen many people have trouble from using the wrong shoe.

Personal anecdote to illustrate.

After 6 years of running in the same model of shoe,(injury-free) I decided to try a motion control shoe. Within a few days, I came down with a case of sciatica which did not clear until I went back to the previous model of shoe.

I’ve seen the pattern with many runners over the years so I know it’s not just me.