Drymax – Dry To The Max!

I posted a few days back about the arrival of some Drymax socks from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com. Despite the advice never to use an item for the first time in an actual race scenario, I put the Drymax Trail Running Socks – 1/4 Crew High socks to the test, at the 36.5 mile Speyside Way Race.

For long distance runs I always lather my toes in Sudocreme. However, thanks to some information obtained initially from the blog of fellow SUMS runner Silke which was confirmed by Keith from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com, I knew that you should use no lubricant at all.

“Vaseline or other lubricants or powders actually create a barrier between the sock and the skin. In this case they inhibit the Drymax fibres from working to their full potential. This is why Drymax recommend not to use them.”

To be honest, I was sceptical! However, I broke with my usual race ritual and opted for the 1/4 crew sock, a high density protective padded sock, with no lubricant on the feet at all. Just in case of any problems, I put a small tub of Sudocreme in the second of my checkpoint drop bags.

Talk about putting the socks to the test! The Speyside Way Race Race Directors advised runners to use trail shoes via Facebook as large parts of the route were very muddy. Torrential rain overnight merely added to this. As a result, the first 12-13 miles of the route alternated between a mud fest and a river, making for a tricky, testing start to the race. There was no way anyone’s feet were staying dry today!

As I found my feet totally submerged for the first time, I have to admit that I feared the worst and that my break from the convention of not testing new gear in a race situation was going to cost me dear.

There was, however, something different about the feeling in my feet. The feet were being soaked continually but there were no signs of aggravation or hotspots.

36.5 miles later I was relieved to cross the finish line in this, my 7th and final ultra of the year.

Removing the socks, I was delighted to see that they passed the litmus test, with flying colours. Not a single blister! My feet also looked a lot drier than usual and especially so given the conditions.

So, no faffing around with lubricant, 36.5 miles run, many of which in soaking wet, muddy conditions, and not a single blister. I will most definitely be adding to my ‘collection’ of 3 pairs of Drymax socks. A definite success and I can see now why they are held in such high regard Stateside.

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.