Nutrition & Health
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Date Posted: 27 June 2019
Chafing, black toenails, rainy weather, cramps...running isn't always the simple sport that you might think! But all these problems are more are solvable. Here’s our list of common issues runners encounter and how to fix them.
I love talking to my non-running friends about running. In particular, I love the priceless look of complete incomprehension when I explain that vomiting, the dreaded runner’s runs, lost toenails, and getting out in unseasonable weather are all par for the course.
In the interest of your comfort, we've compiled some handy tips to help you conquer those pesky problems you'll most likely end up facing at some point or another as a runner.
Nipples, underarms, lower back, between your cheeks, between your thighs... it can seem like no part of your body is immune to chafing. And when those tender spots get wet in your post-run shower, you might consider quitting on the spot. Ouch!
So, how do you prevent chafing while running? A happy combination of well-chosen apparel and lube.
When heat, moisture and friction builds up in your shoes (as they will over long or frequent runs), it often results in painful blisters on your feet. But don't worry, you're in luck: we have a whole article on preventing and treating blisters!
Muscle cramps are both painful and annoying - they're one of the biggest reasons people fail to complete races or marathons. They're caused by dehydration (imbalanced electrolyte levels), poor stretching and/or insufficient carbohydrates.
Experiencing stomach cramps or side stitches instead of muscle cramps? Imbalanced electrolytes can still contribute, but these tips may help too:
Hunger & Hitting the Wall
When you "hit the wall" or "bonk", your body falters and starts to shut down in the middle of intense, prolonged exercise (like a marathon). Why?
Eventually, without replenishing your stores, you will deplete your body of its stored glycogen (carbohydrate stored in the liver and muscles for energy). In this state, your brain wants to shut down in preservation, which sparks the overwhelming feelings of fatigue and negativity that accompany bonking. Your body is smart enough to essentially make glucose out of things that aren't glycogen (like fat stores or, less effectively, proteins) - a process called gluconeogenesis - but it's not as effective.
The best way to keep on fighting is to manage your nutrition well. Here's how:
Here are the main types of fuel you can use to keep yourself going:
Ah, injuries: the bane of every athlete's existence. We could write a full article for each and every injury with the amount of info out there on how to spot, treat and prevent these pesky problems. For now, here are some of the most common runner's injuries:
So what can you use to prevent or help such injuries? Rest the area, ice or compress swelling, and see a doctor if you're worried or the pain increases or is severe. Otherwise, you can check out:
Toenails may blacken, blister, become ingrown or just drop off from running. It happens when your toes hit the end of your shoe - particularly while you descend. These mini-incidents add up over time, leading to toenail loss. To help prevent these toenail troubles:
Needing the Bathroom
We've all been there: you're halfway through a backcountry run with no civilisation in sight, and all of a sudden the urge hits. What do you do?! We have the answers.