Tips For Running In The Heat

New post at The Running Bug, ‘Tips For Running In The Heat‘.

“There will be weather”. This by now infamous line from the West Highland Way Race may sound daft out of context but anyone running that weekend, in the torrential rain best described as ‘apocalyptic weather conditions’, will fully appreciate the impact of the weather. On this particular weekend, it made the job of running 95 miles, including 14,760ft of ascent in under 35 hours, all the more difficult.

One good thing to come out of that weekend is that, regardless of the ferocity of the rain, I have yet to call off a run because of inclement weather. Having run in the conditions that weekend, nothing seems that bad any more.

As residents of this island we are all too accustomed to dealing with poor weather. We don’t have the extremes experienced in some countries but our weather can be quite grim. As such, as runners, we generally just get on with it and deal with it, adding an extra layer and/or waterproof when required, throwing on a hat, some gloves, a buff etc. etc.

However, the other end of the weather scale is a different matter altogether and, especially, when it just happens to fall on a race day.

Like most people, I love the heat when all I have to do is relax. When it comes to running however, it throws a spanner in the works, especially given that I weigh considerably more than I ideally should. Slowed down, sweating profusely, challenging any chance of a PB, I would go so far as to say that I dislike running in the heat. And yet, this weekend, I set out for a 10 mile trail run in the heat of the day.

When I looked outside, I knew we were in for a hot one. However, rather than rush out to try and avoid the worst of the heat, I waited. It’s not often enough that we get days like this, at least not this year, and what’s to say that the next time I have a race it wont be one of these days. Generally, I tend to get the worst or the best of the weather on race day, seldom anything in between!

As such, I decided to face my demons, to man up, to grin and bare it, to get on with it, to learn to cope, for it is only through adaptation that our bodies become accustomed to running in high temperatures, just as the same process of adaptation facilitates our development as runners in terms of speed or distance.

It was worth it. I went out prepared for the heat of the day and, while I toiled, it was expected. I would go so far as to say that I enjoyed it, and I certainly felt a sense of achievement having finished the run in a time only a few minutes slower than I would normally have done.

It wasn’t until after I completed this post that I found a similar post from fellow Running Bug blogger, Kim Ingleby but I decided to go ahead and post this regardless as there are sufficient additions and differences to justify the post.

So, down to it, my tips for running in the heat.

Apply Sun Tan Lotion

Be sure to apply suntan lotion, ideally before putting on whatever items of clothing you have selected for the run. If you apply after you put your clothes on then there is a chance that your clothing will move and expose untreated skin, resulting in a burn. There’s nothing worse than thinking you are protected only to end up with burnt skin.

Recommendations: Coppertone Sport and Banana Boat Sport sprays.

Go lightweight

Look out your lightest running gear and, if you are running longer distances, choose your backpack or waist pack carefully.

Recommendations: Check out RaceReady shorts. This super lightweight US brand has long been a favourite of ultra runners stateside and, thanks to www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com, is now available in the UK. Check out how I got on with a pair of RaceReady LD Sixer Shorts on my personal website.

Prevent Chaffing

Chaffing is bad enough at the best of times but can be particularly bad when caused by soaking wet clothing. Consider applying a lubricant to sensitive areas like the groin, nipples and anywhere a backpack or waistpack might rub on your skin.

Recommendations: BodyGlide or Vaseline, though I have found that the former is kinder to clothing when used long term

Cover Your Head

This might actually sound counter productive in the heat of the day but there’s nothing worse than a burnt head and/or neck. Some head protection can also go a long way to reducing the amount of sweat streaming down onto your face and into your eyes.

Recommendations: Visors, Buffs and caps are all useful in their own way. Visors offer some protection and mop up sweat whilst letting air get to the head. Buffs might sound like an odd choice on a hot day but they soak up sweat well and, when soaked in cold water, go a long way to helping cool you down. Caps protect your head and mop up sweat. If you are running in locations where you are likely to be bothered by flies, consider something like the Raidlight Sahara Sunhat, available from www.likeys.com, with its ‘cape’ that protects the back of the head and neck. There’s nothing worse than the feeling of being chased by flies and having them ‘ping’ off the back of your head when you stop! You will likely get some funny looks from people though, as they will likely be unaccustomed to seeing someone in a desert hat.

Wear Sunglasses

Be kind to your eyes (and face) and wear sunglasses. There are many lightweight brands out there that are suitable for runners.

“Studies carried out by the National Eye Institute, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, indicate that eye exposure to UV radiation increases the likelihood of cataract development. Additionally, excessive UV exposure has been linked to keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), pterygium (abnormal tissue growth in the sclera), and macular degeneration (a breakdown of the part of the retina that deals with visual perception). Sunglasses that block 100% of this UV radiation are the best way to maintain healthy eyes.” (runnersfeed.com – Why Runners Should Wear Sunglasses)

Recommendations: I have been using Adidas Evil Eye sunglasses for years. The lenses can be swapped according to the conditions and can be easily replaced. After years of use I found that constant exposure to sweat (and the occasional tumble!) had taken its toll on the lenses. It cost approx £35.00 for two new lenses and prescription lens options are also possible. The sunglasses also have a sweat band which goes a long way to keeping sweat out of your eyes.

Consider Your Hydration

On hot days you should always carry fluids and, depending on the length of the run, I would recommend increasing the amount that you normally carry. If you know that your route will take you past a shop, carry a bank card and/or some cash and top up your fluids rather than carry them from the start. A Jimi Wallet is an easy to carry option that keeps cards and/or cash safe and dry.

Be careful not to over hydrate, especially if relying on water alone. Hyponatremia, or water intoxication, can result when water and sodium lost through sweating is replaced with only water. This leaves the body low in sodium.

I would also suggest reading this article on a new and controversial book, ‘Waterlogged’ by Dr. Noakes, which challenges many of the common beliefs surrounding hydration.

Recommendations: Use High 5 or Nuun tablets in water to restore the balance of nutrients in the body and to offer a range of flavours. Just add the tablets to water. I personally prefer using bottles to bladders as I find them easier to fill at check points in races and, perhaps more importantly, I find that it is easier to monitor how much (or how little) fluid I have consumed.

Pace Yourself

Some days are not for racing. Arguably, at least for the majority of us, really hot days fall in to that category. The heat will likely impact on your mile times, your chances of a PB and so forth. Be ready to accept that. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Chasing a PB that was attained on a day far more favourable to racing could prove risky to your health.

Recommendations: Stop and walk if you have to. In ultras, walking is all part of the race strategy and I have seen me clock miles just as fast from a run/walk strategy than grinding out purely run miles.

Plan Ahead

You may find that it is better for you to run early in the morning or later in the day/early evening when the weather is not as hot. Arguably this approach reduced the opportunity to adapt to the hotter temperatures that you may experience on race day. However, if you have a specific goal or are working to a schedule as part of your training, training at the coolest point of the day may make more sense.

Recommendations: Check the forecast for an approximation of likely temperatures at a given time of day.

Think Positive

It is all too easy to let the heat get the better of you and to get flustered. Keeping control of your head is half the battle. Think positive. Be realistic. Expect and accept that your running will be affected by the heat. Adapt your plans as the circumstances dictate. I actually found myself running further than I had initially planned just so that I could spend some time in the shade in a forested area of my route.

Recommendations: Try to think ‘light’ and ‘cool’. Stay positive and try to visualize a successful run.

Beware Of

Dehydration: Symptoms include dry mouth, nausea, extreme thirst

Heatstroke: Symptoms include stopping sweating, confusion, unconsciousness, hot and dry skin

Enjoy It

Most of all, be sure to enjoy it!

Recommendations: See all of the above to try and ensure that you do enjoy your run!

West Highland Way Rated By National Geographic Traveler Magazine

Saw this article on the BBC website today, something that I am sure many of my fellow ultrarunners will be in agreement with – The West Highland Way is one of the world’s best hikes.

“A walking route in Scotland has been included on a US travel magazine’s list of the world’s best hikes. The West Highland Way covers 96 miles (154.4km) from Milngavie on the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William. National Geographic Traveler Magazine ranked it alongside 19 other trails, including the Santa Cruz Trek in Peru and Tibet’s Mount Kailash Pilgrimage.”

Mens Running Devil O’ The Highlands Race Report

Mens Running have included a brief race report from me for the recent Devil O’ The Highlands ultra on their website.

Name: Jonathan J Mackintosh
Age: 40
Occupation: Web Applications Developer
Event: Devil O’ The Highlands Ultramarathon
Distance: 43 miles

What was your race time?
9 hours 50 minutes

How long have you been running?
Ultras for 3 years, marathons 1 year before that, 1/2 and 10ks occasionally but only started running seriously 4 years ago.

What made you decide to sign up for this race?
By completing this race I completed the ‘Triple Crown’, finishing the 53 mile Highland Fling, the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, and the 43 mile Devil O’ The Highlands, all in one year.

What were your expectations for the race?
I always want a PB but at my last race, 2 weeks previously, I had a terrible race and realised that I had not yet recovered from the 95 mile West Highland Way Race. As such, I hoped for a PB but would have been happy just to finish.

What were your high and low points during the race, if any?
The low points were the evil midges and the unexpected heat (approx 22 degrees) which made the climbs in particular difficult. The high points were many: meeting friends both old and new en route; meeting my wife and her brother, my support crew, at each of the checkpoints, which always picks me up; enjoying the spectacular scenery, seen at its best in the glorious weather; running a strong last 7 miles to pull a PB (12 minutes) out of the bag despite thinking that the opportunity had passed; finishing – after the time spent running in that heat I was glad to chill!

If so where and when did they occur and why?
Low points: On the 2 monster climbs, up the Devil’s Staircase and the climb out of Kinlochleven. High points: Everywhere!

What was the best part of the course for you?
The whole course – might sound like a cliché but it is a glorious, challenging course, with a mix of terrain, a high point of 1798ft, the scenic Rannoch Moor, and views of Buachaille Etive Mor and Ben Nevis (to name but a few highlights!).

What was the most challenging part of the course for you?
The two main climbs, up the Devil’s Staircase and the climb out of Kinlochleven up to the Lairig Mor. The descent down into Kinlochleven and some of the latter stages of the route were also difficult as a result of the rocky terrain underfoot.

How would you describe the crowd support?
Brilliant. Because of the remote nature of a lot of the course, there are long spells with no support at all but, as with all of the Scottish Ultra Marathon Series races, the spectators, marshals and support do their best to cheer on not just their own runners but every runner at the start, finish and every checkpoint.

What’s your overall verdict of the race?
A course that cannot be beaten in terms of scenery, excellent marshals and organisation, and a friendly family atmosphere running amongst a lot of known faces from other Scottish Ultra Marathon Series events and a good number of new faces. Organisation: Excellent Scenery: Unbeatable Atmosphere: Excellent

Would you do it again next year?
Definitely

Thank You TeamGB

It’s only been a matter of days and already I am having withdrawal symptoms from the Olympics.

I can’t ever recall feeling such emotion or feeling so impressed with the achievements of others. I can’t ever recall feeling so rooted to the TV, nor getting quite so engaged with the success or failure of athletes. I can’t ever recall shouting and screaming at the TV, whether it be in joy at a victory or a top 3 placing, or in anguish at an ‘almost’.

It was a roller coaster two weeks from start to finish, from the slow start when it looked like TeamGB were not going to do as well as hoped, to the finale when, some 65 medals later, TeamGB exceeded all expectations with some 29 Gold, 17 Silver, and 19 Bronze medals.

TeamGB you truly are the champions

Thank you for giving us some true heroes.

With a bit of luck the legacy of these Olympic Games will be to inspire young and old to participate in sport, to train, and perhaps even to compete. With a bit of luck people will aspire higher than being the latest TV ‘celebrity’, famous for all the wrong reasons.

The athletes of TeamGB, and all of the other nations, deserve their fame. They have worked hard for years. They have inspired a nation. They have inspired me.

My running mojo was nowhere to be seen of late, perhaps as a result of one too many ultras this season. I found it again last night, on the treadmill of all places, inspired by thoughts of the Games. It’s a great feeling to have my mojo back – in a sense, my own personal athletic victory.

Thank you TeamGB

Blogging Stats & Thoughts

It had never crossed my mind to blog about my races. Back in July/August of 2011 I first came across The Running Bug and I started blogging for them, with my first introductory post going live on 20th September 2011.

I was asked about traffic to my blog recently and, on the basis of this, thought I would do some homework to see just how busy each of my blogs are.

From 1st January 2012 to 10th August 2012 my Running Bug blog, ‘Aim high, anything is possible’, has been viewed a massive 12,332 times. Since I started blogging, back on 20th September, the blog has been viewed 18,063 times.

That’s massive. I am totally blown away by the scale.

My own site, www.pixelscotland.com has far less exposure but it has steadily grown, especially since it was added to the West Highland Way Race list of blogs. Average stats for pixelscotland are now around 1000 hits a month and growing.

The funny thing is, when I decided to start blogging, it was more for me than for anyone else. I wanted to record how my races went. How I felt. What worked. What didn’t! What equipment I was using, and so forth. Knowing just how forgetful I can be, I wanted some kind of record of everything, and especially the ultras, that I could point any future offspring at and say, ‘I did that’ (I can just image the look of disbelief on their faces now!).

I didn’t think for a second that anyone else would find it remotely interesting.

So, for everyone who does read my blogs, thanks for taking the time to stop by. I hope you like what you read and that you come back again.

Happy running

Stubborn Goes A Long Way!

New post at ‘The Running Bug‘, ‘Stubborn Goes A Long Way‘.

It’s been a while since my last post here on The Running Bug, coming up for a month now – a veritable drought!

That’s not to say that nothing has been going on. Quite the opposite in fact!

Since my last post, I have run 2 different ultramarathons, The 40 mile Clyde Stride, and the 43 mile Devil O’ The Highlands, and I am now just one race finish away from completing my goal of 7 ultras in 2012. Technically one more than in 2011 but, given that the ‘one’ was a 95 mile race, I feel like it counts for a whole lot more!

On 21st July, exactly 4 weeks on from The West Highland Way Race, I took part in the Clyde Stride. Starting in Partick, the route takes runners along the Clyde (funnily enough!) out towards the finish in historic New Lanark. It’s an excellent race, well organised and a great option for anyone looking to step up to ultra distance, which is reflected in the large number of first time ultra runners in amongst all the ‘usual faces’.

I thought that a month would be sufficient time to recover from the 95 miles of The West Highland Way Race, even though there were many runners who suggested otherwise. The lack of West Highland Way Race runners in the starting list for The Clyde Stride should also have served as an indication that this was a commonly held view. Turns out I should have listened more carefully!

I don’t know if it was the lack of running in the interim (I could count the number of runs on one hand!) or that the body was still fatigued. Whatever it was, it made for an uncomfortable race, with a feeling of running on empty accompanying me over the last 22 miles, and that’s a long way to go on an empty tank!

I contemplated a DNF – briefly – but I just couldn’t bring myself to pull out. If I could make it through the apocalyptic weather and the projectile vomiting of The West Highland Way Race, I could surely make it to the end of The Clyde Stride. What’s more, I had left my wife back home as she was attending a wedding and I should have been accompanying her. I had also disrupted the weekend of Sandra and John (part of my West Highland Way support crew). I had impacted on enough people’s lives this weekend. Stubbornness kicked in and I told myself to “quit whining and finish!”

And I did, but with my first non PB of the year, missing my previous years time by some 12 minutes. I was gutted, albeit temporarily, before appreciating that I had ground out a finish, something that had not been assured just 20 miles earlier.

At the end of the race I saw fellow ultra runner Colin Knox. “See you in 2 weeks at The Devil” he said.

2 weeks? 2 weeks??? 2 weeks!

I thought that I had 3 weeks to recover before The Devil. Turns out I should have checked on the dates just a little bit more carefully.

Bugger! I had just experienced one of my toughest races and was going to have to do it all over again in just 2 weeks. 43 miles, with a LOT of ascent!

So, a different approach to recovery this time. I did run, although still not as much as I normally would. I cross trained and, mostly, spent time on the spin bike.

The night before The Devil, I did not sleep. I can only assume it was nerves. Whatever it was, it wasn’t exactly conducive to a good race performance. And then, at 4am, it was time to rise and prepare for the 6am start.

Even at 6am it was apparent that the forecast of rain, possibly even hail, was some way short of the mark (or at least was some way off!). It was already hot and the dreader midges were out in force. Their breakfast – some 130 runners waiting for the start of the race. ‘Fortunately’, it later got so hot that even the midges sought shelter, providing some relief for the runners, marshals, support and spectators.

This race, over the top 43 miles of The West Highland Way, is a glorious, scenic run at the best of times. With the sun shining, it showed our surroundings at their very best.

From that initial climb out of Tyndrum, on to Bridge of Orchy and the 1000ft climb up on to Mam Carraigh, through the stunning Rannoch Moor, down through Glencoe with the imposing Buachaille Etive Mòr in the background, up over The Devil’s Staircase, at 1798ft the highest point of the route, down into and back up out of Kinlochleven onto the Lairig Mor and finally down towards the finish at Fort William, it truly is an epic race.

Despite the heat, I did not experience any real lows. I had put any notion of a PB out of my head, based on my experience at The Clyde Stride. However, realising in the latter stages of the race that there was the potential for a PB, I pushed particularly hard in the last 7 miles, hoping to reverse my fortunes from the previous race.

And I did – by 12 minutes! (What’s with the 12 minutes!)

In finishing, I completed not only The Devil O’ The Highlands and race number 6 for 2012. I also completed ‘The Triple Crown’, a finish at The Highland Fling, The West Highland Way Race, and The Devil O’ The Highlands, in a single year. I hadn’t given much thought to this until some Facebook posts over the past couple of days.

I have Iain Wallace to thank for considering The Triple Crown as follows:

None too shabby!

I have John Kynaston to thank for the following statistics: In completing the Triple Crown, I am one of 13 to have completed the Triple Crown in 2012. Since 2007, when runners first completed all 3 races, some 60 people have completed the Triple Crown.

So, 6 down, one to go – the 37.5 mile Speyside Way Race, 2 weeks from now.

Before (finally!) finishing, it’s worth considering the following:

  • I am still struggling to get the weight down, ideally by another 2 stone
  • I am still far from being fast, although have now started to incorporate speed work into training, or at least, the training that takes place when I am not in recovery or taper mode!
  • I still have a lot to improve on overall

However, hopefully my experience this year demonstrates that ‘Aim high, anything is possible’ is a good strategy. You don’t have to be the fastest or the fittest. What I will say however, is that stubborn goes a long way!

Happy running

The Triple Crown 2012

Completing the Devil O’ The Highlands on Saturday also saw me complete ‘The Triple Crown’, the completion of the Highland Fling, West Highland Way Race, and the Devil O’ The Highlands in a single year. Having completed the Fling and Devil in 2011, it was great to go that step further and complete all 3 in 2012.

I hadn’t really thought about it like this until a recent Facebook posting by Iain Wallace but the Triple Crown can be considered as follows:

None too shabby!

7th August 2012: A quick update. According to stats compiled by John Kynaston, in completing the Triple Crown, I am one of 13 to have completed the Triple Crown in 2012. Since 2007, when runners first completed all 3 races, some 60 people have completed the Triple Crown. Thanks to John for those stats.

The Devil O’ The Highlands 2012

Tyndrum enjoys a steady stream of people throughout the year, partly as a result of its location on The West Highland Way. However, twice a year it is invaded by hundreds of ultramarathon runners, in April, at the end of the 53 mile Highland Fling, and in August, at the beginning of the 43 mile Devil O’ The Highlands Ultramarathon.

This weekend past it was the turn of The Devil O’ The Highlands runners.

The race itself always sells out well in advance and a waiting list then is operated on a one out, one in basis as people invariably, unfortunately find themselves injured or otherwise committed.

This year 138 runners were at the line for the 6am start. Of these, 124 completed in times ranging from 5.36.17 to 11.43.50.

The winners were as follows:

Males:

  • Thomas Loehndorf: 5.36.17
  • Casey Morgan: 5.55.47
  • Craig Cunningham: 6.21.27
  • 1st Male Vet: Robert Soutar: 6.21.28
  • 1st Male Super Vet: Graham Harcus: 7.09.47

Females:

  • Debbie Martin Consani:6.54.06
  • Hazel Dean: 7.23.45
  • Michelle Heatherington: 7.23.54
  • 1st Female Vet: Mellanie Sinclair: 7.57.34
  • 1st Female Super Vet: Louise Burt: 7.25.59

The Route

The Green Welly Stop, one of the landmarks in Tyndrum, opens its doors and cafe to runners for the 4.30am – 5.30 race registration. At 6am runners set off from Brodies store, with an immediate climb out of Tyndrum, heading for the first check point at the Bridge of Orchy, approximately 7 miles away. No such thing as a gentle start to this race!

Leaving Bridge of Orchy, the route climbs approx. 1000ft up on to Mam Carraigh which, according to the race info, “heralds the beginning of rougher country underfoot that continues more or less unabated until the end of the race”.

The speedy descent offers tremendous views of Loch Tulla before crossing the scenic and desolate Rannoch Moor. Fortunately the glorious weather on race day showed Rannoch Moor at its best. Take it from me when I say that it is no less pretty yet considerably more daunting when crossed in whiteout conditions!

The welcome sight of the Peter Fleming Cairn up on the hill to the left of the trail signals the end of Rannoch Moor and the close proximity of checkpoint 2, at the White Cottage, Glencoe.

From here the route then heads towards Kingshouse, with the imposing Buachaille Etive Mor in the background. Climbing alongside Beinn a Chrulaiste, the route takes runners to Altnafeadh, at the bottom of the Devil’s Staircase. Once at the top of the 849ft Devil’s Staircase there are amazing views of Buachaille Etive Mor to be had behind you. At 1798ft this is the highest point of the route.

The descent down into Kinlochleven is both brutal and never ending. What should be a glorious bit of downhill is obstructed somewhat by the ‘difficult’ (understatement!) conditions underfoot. Kinlochleven hosts checkpoint 3 and, on leaving Kinlochleven, the route includes another steep climb, up to the Lairig Mor (the high pass).

The final stretch of the route takes runners over the Lairig Mor and finally down towards the finish at Fort William, some 43 miles later.

The Race

Scotland’s ‘summer’ so far this year has largely consisted of the occasional sunny day sandwiched between torrential rain and, unfortunately for many of the runners, the day of the race turned out to be a gloriously sunny day. Whilst it made for a great day for spectators and support crew alike, many of the runners suffered in the heat which, according to a temperature sign in Fort William, was in the low 20s. While the temperature showcased the splendour of the route, it also made for a tough day and made staying fully hydrated that little bit more difficult.

From a personal perspective, I was pretty nervous about the race and this was the likely cause for the total lack of sleep on the night before the race. Having completed the 95 mile West Highland Way Race in apocalyptic weather conditions towards the end of June I next ran at the 40 mile Clyde Stride, expecting to have fully recovered by this point, 1 month later. However, the reality was quite different and I toiled to grind out a finish, with the body running ‘on empty’.

With only two weeks between The Clyde Stride and The Devil I was not overly hopeful of a good result! Fortunately things fared better for me than expected on the day, despite the heat in which I always suffer. I took 12 minutes off of my previous time, finishing in 9.50.55 in 90th position.

Perhaps more importantly than the time or position, I felt like I had a good overall run, with only the occasional dip and none of the absolute lows experienced in the previous two races. I had suffered particularly badly in the long climb out of Kinlochleven and had all but seen any chance of a PB slip away. However, managing to put in a good final 7 miles, I pulled this back.

I was even lucky enough to win a spot prize, a set of High 5 gels and energy source powders.

Next up is The Speyside Way Race in 3 weeks, my 7th and final ultramarathon for 2012.

I was supported by my wife Leanne and her brother Ross on race day.

The following is taken from last year’s Devil O’ The Highlands race report. The compulsory kit, elevation profile and route have not changed.

Compulsory Kit:

This list of safety equipment is to be carried by each competitor and a duplicate copy is also advised to be carried by the backup team:

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Space Blanket
  4. Full body waterproof clothing
  5. Water
  6. Food

Devil O’ The Highlands Elevation Profile

Devil O’ The Highlands Route

Lubricants Review

I came across the following article this morning which, I have to admit, surprised me at first. The article was written by John Vonhoff for his excellent ‘Fixing Your Feet‘ website. Basically, he advises against the use of vaseline for the prevention of blisters on hotspots on the feet. Having used vaseline for a couple of years before switching to Sudocrem, I was initially surprised at the advice. Using Vaseline is a common recommendation amongst runners and walkers alike. However, what John says about attracting dust and dirt certainly rings true. Would be interesting to see what John makes of Sudocrem, my new foot lubricant of choice.

Lubricants – One Bad and Lots of Good.

This post came about because of a Backpacker magazine article about skills. One of the items was about endurance and was for, “Blistered feet during a high-mileage trek.”

The tip was to, “protect against hot spots by applying a skin lubricant like Vaseline to high-friction areas”

I’m sorry, but I think Vaseline is a bad choice.

When I ran my first ultra, back around 1982, there was not a huge choice in lubricants so Vaseline was commonly used. But I learned very quickly that its stickiness helped it collect dust and grit, sand and dirt, and other things that found their way into your socks and shoes. Once absorbed into my socks, it also became stiff. I looked for an alternative and discovered Bag Balm, which I used for years.

Over the years, Vaseline has been surpassed by lubricants that are slicker without attracting ‘stuff’ that can cause hot spots and blisters, that last longer, that don’t cake up on your socks, and that are much more effective.

So, here’s my choice for a bad lubricant: Vaseline.

And here are my choices for good lubricants:

Sportslick Skin Lubricant

  • Tube
  • Solid Stick
  • Pocket Slick

BodyGlide

  • The Original Anti-Chafe Balm
  • FootGlide Foot Formula
  • Ant-Chafe with SPF 25 Balm
  • BodyGlide Anti-Chafe for Her
  • Liquefied Powder
  • WarmFX Anti-Pain Balm

BlisterShield

  • Powder
  • Roll-On
  • Towelettes

RunGuard

  • Anti-Chafe Stick
  • Anti-Chafe Stick, Sensitive Formula

Be sure to check out http://fixingyourfeet.com/ for more foot maintenance info.