Dealing with Running Mishaps

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If you have been running for long at all, you have experienced your share of mishaps.

Black Toenails
Runner’s Trots

But there is hope! I will show you how to deal properly with these mishaps.

Hey, thanks for reading the rest of this entry. . .

Prevention is the best defense against blisters. Use petroleum jelly or a body glide product on areas where you are prone to blisters (bony surfaces: heels & toes). Make sure you are wearing socks specifically for running or walking. Tube socks and socks made of cotton should be avoided (cotton retains moisture). Some runners like to wear two thin pairs of socks to reduce friction or try the toe socks. If your socks get wet consider changing socks. Make sure you are wearing shoes that fit properly (shop in the afternoon when feet have swelled), there should be a half-inch of room between your longest toe and the end of the toe box. Studies show that fewer than 50% of runners are wearing shoes that fit correctly.

To prevent chafing wear moisture wicking gear (no seams or tags) that has the correct fit. Too much material can cause irritation and a too tight garment can dig into skin. Apply Vaseline, sports lube, Band-Aids, or NipGuards before you run to any vulnerable area. Wash with soap and water and apply an antibacterial ointment and light bandage. Make sure to keep your skin moisturized as dry skin chafes more. If you are wearing the right clothing and applying sports lube and still experience the problem see your doctor. You could have a fungal infection.

The best way to prevent a cramp is to be adequately hydrated and have taken in a small carbohydrate meal 2 hours before your run. If a cramp hits you mid-run stop, apply pressure to muscle for 15 seconds (don’t massage), then gently stretch (lengthen the muscle), repeat pressure/stretch if needed. Start walking when resolved, then resume running. If you frequently deal with cramps in a specific muscle group try to stretch this area before, during, and after the run.

    If you experience a side stitch, put your arms above your head and bend to the side opposite of the stitch. Exhale forcefully and fully all air in the lungs several times instead of taking panting breaths. Start walking again and then resume running. Work on taking deeper breathes and exhaling fully instead of taking panting breathes.

Black Toenails
They develop when the constant friction of the running motion pushes the nail against the shoe causing fluid and blood to build up underneath the nail bed. It can be caused by ill fitting shoes or socks, hot weather (causing the feet to swell more), or race courses with lots of downhill sections. Wear them with pride. 80% of black toenails do not require any treatment and will eventually fall off after several months (leaving a new nail underneath).

Runner’s Trots
The jostling motion of running can irritate some runner’s intestines and nerves causing increased mixing of food and loose stools or excessive gas. While running the blood is diverted from the digestive tract to the legs and that can cause “dumping syndrome” if there is undigested food.

To prevent GI distress try to eat at least 2 hours before a run, avoid caffeine and artificial sweeteners (mannitol and sorbitol), and milk products which can speed up GI movement. Try to add more fiber to your diet slowly to make yourself more regular. Avoid dairy products 24-48 hours before a long run or race (many people have reduced lactase which breaks down milk products). If this clears up your symptoms then you’ll know that dairy products are the culprits.

Also try ingesting a low-residue diet (less fiber) 24 hours before the race to reduce bulk. Chronic (ongoing) diarrhea can also be caused by an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in your intestines. Try eating yogurt with active probiotic cultures or a probiotic supplement to return the bowel flora to normal. Try to have a bowel movement before your run or race (drinking warm water and a little light movement may help stimulate one). If dietary changes aren’t effective to prevent this problem take an anti-diarrheal medicine on race morning or before your long runs.

Also Mentioned in this Episode:

Angela from Maine
Angela battles Lyme’s disease, which causes incredible joint pain and fatigue, yet she is taking on the New York Marathon! You can read about her inspiring journey over at

Items that should be in every runner’s medicine cabinet

  • Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) or body glide to prevent chafing
  • Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin) to soothe chafing and prevent infection in blisters
  • Sunscreen with at least spf 30 in sweat proof formula
  • Moleskin to cover hot spots and prevent blisters
  • Bandaids to cover popped blisters or apply to areas that chafe
  • Aloe Vera to soothe sunburn and heal damaged skin faster

Nova Marathon Challenge Movie-This short documentary proposes the question, “Can the average person standing on the sidelines can be transformed into an athlete crossing the finish line?”

This movie definately proves my theory that anyone with enough discipline, knowledge, and determination can run a marathon and change their life!

15 Responses to Dealing with Running Mishaps

  1. Trevor June 4, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    So. . . what do you think?

  2. Nate June 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    Thanks for the continued support and encouragement through your podcasts! I’m heading to a shoe store tomorrow to get fitted (properly) for shoes.

    I recently watch Nova’s documentary. Certainly gave me hope!

  3. Trevor June 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Thanks for the comment Nate!

    Getting the right shoes will definitely save you a lot of frustration. Make sure keep up with how many miles you put on each set of shoes. Angie says she replaces her shoes about every 400-500 miles.

  4. Anthea June 5, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Wow. This video moved me. Thank you for posting it.

  5. Trevor June 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback Anthea. I was inspired by the determination and spirit of the people who participated in the marathon challenge.

    Even the one woman who had to drop out of the training was there on race day to cheer her teammates.

  6. DPeach June 7, 2010 at 10:21 am #

    I have been enjoying your show for the last few weeks. I really like the format.

    Thanks for speaking up for those who are too embarrassed to talk about raw nipples. Someone needs to bring awareness to such a serious problem.

    I offer my experience about Vaseline (petroleum jelly). Men, I would caution against using it on your nipples, especially on tech shirts. The shirts that I wore when gooped up with petroleum jelly have funny stains now. The Vaseline does something to the material which totally wicks sweat away. Sounds like a good thing. But what happens is when you sweat up the rest of your shirt to be totally soaked you end up with 2 light colored spots that are right over your nipples. Maybe you aren’t as sensitive as I am to having people stare at your nipples, but if you are, you may want to try band-aids or BodyGlide instead of Vaseline.

    Thanks for the podcast!

  7. Trevor June 7, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Thanks for the comment DPeach.

    You may have saved our readers from a precarious nipple situation. We are glad to have you in our listening community.

    Does anyone else reading this post have an opinion on the best method to prevent chaffing? This might make for a good conversation.

    Leave a reply below. . .

  8. Rochelle Barnes June 18, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    All of this information has been GREAT (like Tony the Tiger). I’ve just decided that I want to run a marathon next year (2011) but as an obese female it’s good to see that out of shape overweight people can do it.

    I’m totally encouraged!

  9. NoiselessPenguin July 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm #

    Runner’s nipple needs to be mentioned and prevented – I was watching the finishers at the London Marathon one year and some guys running past looked like they’d been shot twice… can’t imagine how painful that must be! the blood!

    Runner’s nipple: not as fun as it sounds.

  10. Eric Beyer July 20, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    Have you any tips on dealing with achilles tendonitis? I’ve had annoying tendonitis for almost 2 weeks, which has totally derailed my running program. I’ve tried ice, stretches and rest, with some benefit, but really would like to get back to runs.

  11. Angie July 22, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Eric- I found a good article at Runner’s World about achilles tendonitis. Hope some of the suggestions help you!,7124,s6-241-285–8271-0,00.html

  12. Al August 3, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    In case anyone is interested, Netflix has the DVD for Nova’s “The Marathon Challenge”. Lastly, I want to say thanks for all the hard work you put in for us. Your podcasts have been guiding me along my path to my first half-marathon this September. Thanks again!!

  13. Angie August 3, 2010 at 9:32 pm #

    Thank you Al. It’s exciting to hear that you’re training for your first half marathon. Keep up the great work and let me know how it goes!

  14. Micki July 30, 2013 at 12:23 am #

    May I just say what a relief to find someone that really understands what they’re talking about on the web. You actually know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people need to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.


  1. Lyme runner » Blog Archive » Marathon Training Academy gives Lymerunner a shout out! - June 13, 2010

    […] pages with lots and lots of great information for marathon runners of all abilities. In episode 13, Dealing with Running Mishaps, Lymerunner gets a shout out 4 minutes into the podcast. Have a listen below, and many, many thanks […]

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