I'm going through the process of joining the army, and I've been told I should get my 1.5 mile run down to 10:30. At the moment, I can only do 14:00 which is obviously bad. The main problem is I get a terrible side stitch and find it hard to breathe, and have to stop multiple times during the run before the pain subsides. I've been told I should try to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth, but when I try this it feels like I'm breathing half as hard as I should do. The trade I'm going for is Systems Engineer Technician, so although its listed as being required under 14:00, its been hinted at that unless its about 10:30 I'm likely to fail on that account. Could I get some advice from you experienced chaps and lasses to help improve my performance, to improve my breathing and to help deal with that side stitch? Also, would anyone happen to know if AFCO are open on May Day? I've looked around on the careers site but don't see any information for that.