How on earth do you run off a stitch?

After going somewhat off the boil last week, and only making it out of the house once, Monday rolled around and I was still being lazy. On Tuesday, however, the trainers were firmly back on and I was going out for what I have now realised was probably my longest run ever.

40 minutes.

I know, I know- big whoop, that’s really not very long at all, but for many a year of my running ‘career’, I used to employ the ‘run 10 minutes, walk a minute’ plan- I even dragged myself round the whole of the London Marathon using this method. Not unsurprisingly, I’ve never really been comfortable thinking of myself as A Runner, but I’m finally coming round to the idea now- I have a water bottle with a hole in it and everything!

Anyhow, last week, me and Mark set out for one of our ‘long slows’ and I was delighted to find that as I was plodding round I was actually able to maintain a conversation for what seemed like the first time ever! Following the previous week’s PB successes at Parkrun, I upped my time for long slow runs from 7 minutes 30 per km to something closer to 7 minutes. And set off on a route that took us up several hills.  And would you believe, about 10 minutes in, chatting away, I got a stitch. Mark, being the sensible soul he is told me to shut up and breathe properly, but the bloody thing wouldn’t go away- It was like having knitting needles poked into my ribs. We slowed down… and down and down, and I employed various techniques that I’d read about, like trying to breathe out fully and really hard as your foot hits the floor on the side that the stitch is on, before I decided enough was enough and I was going to start walking.

No chance, says my trusty running buddy, and made me run at a snail’s pace, quietly. I found that landing really heavily on my stitch side helped loads (and was secretly pleased, because I realised I must be quite light-footed usually!) and eventually, after about 10 minutes, I felt that it had gone enough to carry on at a proper speed- More of a blunt force than a knitting needle! Happily the last section was down hill, so we picked up the pace enough to make it back with an average pace of just over 7 minutes per km- Very happy indeed!

Now on to the next challange- The sub-30 5k. Dun dun DUUUUN. I’ve got Parkrun on Saturday, so will give it a go, but I’m not holding out much hope- Maybe with a few more weeks of proper training, but I’ve got to get a whole 27 seconds off my PB, and I sense that it may have been a fluke- we shall see


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