Friday, January 30, 2015

You’ve Got to Be Chafin’ Me

When I started running, I went out with some coworkers for a 3-mile run. I was as slow as a turtle and was breathing like I had emphysema. I spent much of my first year with one injury or another.  As I progressed through my first half marathon training and increased my mileage, I started to discover some not-so-pleasant obstacles I’d have to overcome. 

Once my long runs made it past the 7-mile mark, I started to have chafing issues. I apologize in advance because I know chafing is not the most fun topic to read about; but hopefully, I can help other people avoid this issue. The first area that chafed was behind my leg. I was not gifted with the “small butt” gene; thanks, Mom and Dad! After one of my 12-mile runs, I made the mistake of jumping in a bathtub full of ice water. I felt like I was being cut with thousands of razor blades. I also had issues at my nipples and near my armpits where my arms would rub against my sides. I ran with tech shirts, so it wasn’t an issue of using cotton shirts. My nipples never got to the point of bleeding, but they hurt really badly. After watching my wife breastfeed our three young children, I feel bad saying that. I have no room to complain. I don’t know how mothers do it.

Now that I have probably grossed you out, I want to provide some solutions that have worked well for me. There are some cheap, easy solutions for chaffing legs, thighs and underarms. I have used Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Cream and the Body Glide Anti-Chafe Stick (looks like a deodorant container). You can find them on Amazon for $2 to $20. For those chaffing nipples, I have used Band-Aid Waterproof Tough Strips, which is a good name for the bandage since it will stick to you like gum on your shoe. I would strongly suggest shaving that area prior to using the Band-Aids; otherwise, when you remove them, it will feel like you are getting waxed. Unlike most of the other types I’ve tried, these Band-Aids stay on.

I hope this information helps you out. You don’t want to end up like the guy in the picture. I am sure that he isn’t having a very good day. If you have had success with other measures, please let me know.

Copyright 2014
*Used by permission of MOKO.Mobi, Inc.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to avoid fatigue by building strength

I have noticed over the past few half marathons that I can run strong for most of the race, but the last mile or two is a struggle.  Many of my marathon running friends talk about the dreaded “Wall” that occurs around mile 20.  This is typically due to fatigue.  I recently ran across a great article from Runner’s World Magazine, “How to prevent marathon fatigue” and wanted to share it with you.

While I don’t run marathons yet (my first will be on December 6th) I figured that this article would also be useful in training for half marathons.  The basic premise is that you can prevent your muscles breaking down at the end of a race, marathon fatigue, by adding strength training to your weekly schedule.

When adding strength training like lunges and squats, it is best to start with 3 sets of 12-15 reps (light weights) which will add to your endurance.  As it becomes easier, you can increase the weight and change to 3 sets of 6-8 reps to increase your strength.  The article also suggests doing your weights after you run.  That way you are training your legs to work harder when they are fatigued.  You should take a rest day after that workout to allow your muscles to repair themselves and get stronger. 

I have been doing this workout for the past two weeks.  I run 3-4 miles at an easy to moderate pace and end my run at the gym for 3 sets of squats, dead lifts, and box jumps.  While I have been doing a circuit training (Body Pump) class each week, combining the running and weights has provided results immediately.  I feel stronger and recover faster from hills. 

The article also suggests adding threshold runs to your routine.  I will be writing a blog post next week that addresses threshold runs and how to add them to your routine.  I hope you like this workout half as much as I do.  What is your favorite cross training workout?

Note:  I am not a doctor; these are my personal opinions based on research.  Consult a running coach to assess what should be added to your running plans.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Should I take time off of my training for an injury?

I had to just take a week off of running because of a foot issue near my ankle.  I have no idea what was wrong other than there was a small bump on the top of my foot near my ankle on my Extensor Digitorum.  It appears to be Extensor tendonitis (1), which is typically caused by having your shoe laces too tight or calf tightness.  This causes a pressure point which is very painful when anything touches the bump.  

So here is the miracle… I actually took time off of running.  I ended up taking a week off of running, although I did jump on my bike and did a Body Pump class for some cross training.  There is a point where you just need to listen to your body.  There are cramping, aches, and pains that are normal with running. There are also pains that should not be ignored and could lead to much more significant injuries.  Pain in the hips and knees are very important to look at honestly.  You can’t let your pride or ego enter into the equation.  It might just be a running form issue or it could be something more significant.  If you are not sure, see your doctor!
After taking a week off, I headed to the local track for my interval session.  I was actually a little faster than before my week off and felt great.  The pain was completely gone.  I have 3.5 weeks until my first half marathon of the season and I feel that by listening to my body, I will still be on track to break another PR.  Bring it on!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

10 Crazy Superstitions Of Runners

Runners are a quirky bunch of people, from the disgusting things we would only do on a run, to the superstitions we have. I asked my friends what running superstitions they have prior to a race or training run. Here are the 10 best:

  1. Putting Body Glide on your feet (to avoid blisters).
  2. Eating the same food before races. Lucky Charms… Really?
  3. Having a tube of ChapStick (or else, you might as well kiss that PR buh-bye).
  4.   Never wearing a race shirt from the race you are doing.
  5. Listening to “Eye of the Tiger” in the corral. (Get that song out of your head now!)
  6. Wearing two different colored socks (i.e., one red and one green).
  7. Pinning your bib on the night before and laying your clothes on the floor in the shape of a person (yes, socks, armband, and hat, too).
  8. Cleaning your race shoes prior to the race (or else, you will trip and break your ankle).
  9. Putting your clothes on in the same order every time (underwear, shorts, left sock, right sock, then shirt).
  10. Wearing the same underwear for every race. (Your race briefs have more holes than Swiss cheese.)

Have you done any of these things before a run or race? Do you have any you would like to share?

Picture Credit:
Lucky Charms: (from

Copyright 2014
*Used by permission of MOKO.Mobi, Inc.