Don’t let the little things ruin your run

Running seems like a very simple sport in that you can put on a pair of trainers and just run; but sometimes running isn’t quite that straightforward and can be the small things that ruin a run.

Blisters

Blisters are very common and even tiny blisters can be extremely painful.  Blisters are caused by heat buildup from the friction of running, the skin becomes hot, it can separate, and this is when fluid fills the gap between the layers of skin. Anything that intensifies this friction can cause a blister. For example, having running shoes that are too big or too small, running in wet socks, running downhill, running a faster pace than normal or increasing your mileage too quickly can all contribute to the formation of a blister.  Ignoring a blister can lead to bigger problems in the long term so treat the blister straight away. Keep the area clean, dry and protected by Investing in special blister plasters. Throw away any thin cotton socks and purchase duel layer blister free socks that are cushioned in all common friction points and treat a blister as if it were a damaged muscle or joint so take time off from running if necessary.

Black Toenails

Most runners I know rarely show their naked feet due to the loss of/or blackened toenails.  Losing a toenail can be quite painful and again you may have to take some time off running until any pain subsides. Most blackened toenails are caused by trainers being too small; if there is no space between the front of your trainer and your toenail, your toenail is being bashed into the front of your shoe, on average, between 80-100 time per minute; that’s a lot of force going on between your toenail and the front of the shoe hence the blackened toenail.  Investing in correct fitting trainers and keeping your toenails short usually eliminates this problem.

Stitches

 Side stitches are very common amongst new runners and are very painful.  The best advice is to look at what you are eating and drinking on the days you are running, make sure you do not have a huge meal just before you run, if you eat and then run you could still be digesting your food whilst running and this could cause the discomfort of a stitch as your food is not properly digested.  The best thing to do is plan your day so that you fuel well at least 2 hours before you run, remember not everyone is the same so see what works best for you.  You could eat a bigger lunch if running in the evening and then just have a snack an hour before you run but try a few things out. Make sure you also drink plenty throughout the day as fluid aids with digestion.  Setting off too fast and not warming up can be another cause of a stitch so don’t go from standing to a full on run as this can cause short, shallow breathing, make sure you do a gently warm up first.

 Cramp

Cramp is the locking of the muscle in a sustained spasm which can suddenly cause a severe pain that in most cases is so intense it forces you to stop mid run.  Luckily cramp is only temporary and the causes could again be dehydration, changes in trainers, overworked muscles or an inadequate warm up.

Most minor ailments can be prevented by investing in a good pair of running trainers, a decent pair of running socks, eating and drinking well on your running days and by doing a 10-minute warm up before you head out for your run.