There is an old saying that states, “It is not the mountain in front of you that is the challenge, it is the pebble in your shoe.” Foot concerns like blisters can easily derail a runner’s training plan, and mid-race irritations and pain can affect the outcome of organized races and make the entire experience one to forget. Blisters are a fact of life for many runners, but the pain and sensitivity of foot blisters isn’t a forgone conclusion if you take the time to guard against these uncomfortable little bumps. The following four tips should be considered if you find that blisters make your runs feel like you are tackling a mountain:
- Shoes are everything – If you own a priceless sports car or race a Formula One car, you wouldn’t dream of fitting your vehicle with tires that don’t really fit, or are worn to the point of not being able to perform. Shoes are to runners as
tires are to cars, and ill-fitting shoes are often the culprit when blisters start to rear their ugly heads. Instead of buying running shoes the same way you purchase your other shoes, visit the local shoe store or sporting goods shop. Make an appointment at a reputable running store where you can get a fitting by a running shoe expert. The resulting comfort and support afforded by those new shoes will go a long way toward preventing blisters while running.
- Wear the right socks – Step one – do not wear cotton socks ever again, or at least while you are running. Cotton soaks up moisture and sweat, and isn’t as breathable as synthetic materials like nylon. A wool blend sock is another alternative to try to prevent blisters from running, but you’ll want to try these out as some individuals distinctly prefer the high-tech nylon socks that are on the market today. Another tactic to eliminating blisters is to wear two socks at a time. You’ll need to purchase socks and shoes that can accommodate this additional thickness, but one of the most effective ways to minimize chaffing is to allow the socks to rub together – versus against your skin.
- Use creams and powders – The running industry is one that is constantly in search of the next big idea or the latest iteration of a time-proven product or method. Blisters have been around since the dawn of man, yet the products that are on the market today are constantly reinvented to ensure maximum effectiveness for today’s high performance runner. Dr. Scholl’s makes a line of blister defense products, and 2Toms Blistershield is another popular option designed to minimize friction on the surface of the foot.
- Tape up – Some runners go as far as using duct tape on their feet to prevent blisters – but there is a better, and less painful way. Runner’s tape and bandages are easy to find and help minimize the chance of blisters emerging, while taking up little room within the socks and shoes. This eliminates the bulk of wearing two socks. Modern tapes are sweat resistant and hang on tenaciously during even the most spirited of runs.