Finish Line Tears
In 2011, I ran my first half marathon. Tears were streaming down my face as I crossed the finish line. Not because I was overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment, not even because I was so happy it was over. But because I was in an incredible amount of pain.
Let’s back up. I started running regularly in spring 2010. I did a 5k with a group of friends and was immediately hooked. I stuck to short distances—three to five miles—and started my collection of bibs and event t-shirts. When my brother-in-law asked if I wanted to train for the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon, I dove in without thought. Ultimately, the “without thought” part is what hurt me—literally.
I followed my training schedule religiously: three shorter runs and one long run each week, going up in mileage as the weeks went on. Mid-training, I started getting some aches in my left knee. So I iced. Stocked up on ibuprofen. Carried on with my life. In the final weeks leading up to the race, the pain was becoming intense. So I rested and hoped that if I took it easy, I’d be able to finish on race day.
The bane of many runner’s existence is the dreaded blister, and this can be especially true in the summer where sweat can cause even more chafing and friction. We feel your pain, your puffy, fluid-filled flap of skin pain. And we’re here to help.
The best way to banish the blister is prevention. There are a few key tools in any runner’s arsenal to help with this. The perennial favorite is Body Glide’s original anti-chafing, anti-blister balm. The balm forms a dry, invisible barrier, effective wherever skin is rubbed by clothing, footwear or skin. Never wet or greasy, this stuff is fantastic. It’s sweat-resistant, provides all-day protection and is made with allergen-free and vegan approved!
The majority of blisters for runners occur on the feet, and while Body Glide balm is fantastic to put on wherever you know you get some chafing, the real key here is wearing the right kind of socks. Cotton is not your friend here. Cotton is evil. Cotton is to be avoided at all costs. Cotton won’t wick a drop of sweat away from your feet and will turn them into a swampy, blistery mess. You’re going to want to look for some polyester or wool socks (or a blend) that will help wick moisture away from your skin.
EATING FOR THE LONG RUNIt comes as no surprise that providing your body with the proper nutrition while training for a marathon will help optimize your running performance. We know that good nutrition will help your body to “run” more efficient, enhance your overall health and immune system, aid in preventing/healing injuries, improve your body’s adaptation to training as well as promote speedy recovery. The food you eat and the way you eat it will indeed dictate how well you run! But with so much information out there it can be hard to know what to do and when to do it! Below are some basic recommendations to help you fuel your body for peak running performance. Use this information to guide you, but don’t be ultra concerned about all the details so much that you don’t enjoy eating!!!!! After all we run to eat! Or do we eat to run? Remember what might work for one person, may not work for you. Try to remember that just like running should be fun, eating should be fun too! Practice, practice, practice during your long runs to see what does and doesn’t work for you and than follow that on race day!
Let’s face it. As distance runners we don’t pay much attention to the basics of stretching. I know that is a generalization, but it is true for most of us. Sure, we probably do some light stretching before a workout or race to loosen up our muscles but we really don’t give proper stretching the attention that it deserves. A proper stretching program will help in several ways. It reduces the risk of injury; decreases muscle soreness and improves performance. There are six basic stretching techniques: static, passive, dynamic, ballistic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PFN) and active isolated (AI).
The Importance of Footwear
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our blog! When you are considering a new exercise or running program, the first thing you should consider is your footwear. Whether you’re brand new to running or are training for your fifth marathon, the most important investment you can make is in the right running shoe for you. The highly trained staff at Gazelle Sports will guide you through this comprehensive process to make sure your training gets started on the right foot!
We begin by measuring your foot’s length, width, arch length and flexibility using a Brannock device. Next, we do a biomechanic assessment to determine what type of shoe would work best for you. We also take into account any past and present injuries or minor aches and pains before making recommendations. But we don’t stop there! We want you to love your new shoes, thus we’ll encourage you to take them for test runs at home. If you aren’t completely satisfied, we’ll help you find a shoe that keeps you smiling mile after mile. Second, let’s talk about socks. Why socks? The anatomy and functions of the foot are more complex than we generally assume. Our feet are put to the test daily as we walk, run and pursue recreational activities, with little regard for what we put next to our skin. Socks play an important role in foot comfort. If you have not done so already, ditch the cotton socks! Cotton can hold up to four times its weight in moisture, which can make for a very uncomfortable run. Try synthetic or wool socks, which will pull moisture away from your feet and help keep them dry and blister-free! Keep Moving!