I can run a mile, mile and half at 9.5 - 10 minutes per mile but after that my stomach starts hurting on the right side, right at the bottom of the rib cage. If I really push it, I could probably make it to 2 miles.

I want to be able to run for 5 miles at that speed. What's the best way to increase my running distance?

I could run a mile, slow down to walking pace for a few minutes, then run another mile, or I can push it and run 1.5 miles for a few days and try to slowly increase from there.

Or maybe, I could slow down my run and try to increase the distance and work on the speed after?

What's the recommended approach?

I'm fairly fit, maybe 10 lbs overweight but otherwise healthy. I recently started exercising again, I'm doing cardio at home 2 - 3 times a week and run/lift weights at the additional 2 - 3 times a week, so I'm not a couch potato, but cardio has never really been my strong suit.

  • While I won't mark it as such since it would be somewhat self serving, this question has been asked and answered many times. Here is one such question, there are other similar ones.
    – JohnP
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 21:39

1 Answer 1


Running cramps are sometimes caused by your internal organs bouncing in time with your breathing. They get hit repeatedly by your diaphragm at the exact same point in your stride. You can see if this is your problem by changing up your breathing pattern. If you find yourself starting to breathe every 4th stride, for example, try to occasionally switch the foot on which you start your breath. Even better, try to breathe every 3rd or 5th stride, which will switch sides every time you breathe.

Having food or drink in your stomach when you run can exacerbate the problem.

There are many causes of cramps, but this is a cheap and easy thing to try before looking at other approaches.

Separate from the cramps, many people have found that interval training is the best way to extend the distances you run. This is the basis of many books such as couch to 5k.

  • So interval training is run fast, slow down, run fast again right? Can you elaborate on the breathing pattern? I'm trying to breath steadily, but have not really though of timing my breathing to my running...
    – ventsyv
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 19:02
  • Most people, when they run at any speed, get into a breathing cadence that matches their leg cadence. The repetition can cause cramps. Next time you run, try to pay attention to see if that is the case for you.
    – michael
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 19:16
  • WRT intervals, it's usually run/walk/run/walk. The run part gets longer and eventually you connect the two. If you are in really great shape and you can recover by jogging, it could be run/jog/run/jog
    – michael
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 19:17

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