Guide to Preventing Blisters

I am both scared and excited for this weekend. Scary part: the weather will be nearly 70 degrees for my last long run (20 miles, second one this training cycle), which sounds down right tropical after all my winter training. I think I’ll be stuffing my hydration pack with ice. Aside from the run, I’m sure I’ll appreciate the gorgeous warm weather!
weather 10Apr

goodbye puffy winter coat!

Fun part: we’ll be watching a movie in my favorite movie theater and eating Toki ramen. I love the Courthouse movie theater – it has huge reclining seats! I almost don’t care what I watch, but we’re going to see the new Captain America movie so I’m pretty excited about that too :)

Blister Prevention Products/ Techniques

Blisters on my feet have been my personal plague over the last year- I’m not talking small blisters, but big blood blisters after most long runs and some weekday runs. I haven’t figured out what the cause is, since I managed to train in 2012 without a single blister, but I know for a fact that the front of my feet are wide due to bunions. While blisters don’t stop me from running, they are quite painful and can slow me down because of the pain!

As a result, I’ve spent the last several months trying nearly every blister prevention product under the sun, and I’m happy to say that I’ve found a few that work for me so I’ve been running nearly blister-free lately! Here’s what’s been working (and not working) for me:
Light Protection (short runs – 4 to 6 miles)
-Blister-free socks by themselves do the trick here – I like Wrightsocks (double layer) and Balega (comfortable and plenty of ventilation). Thorlo socks have given me terrible blisters in the past so I don’t recommend them for the blister-prone.
-If I’m not wearing blister-free socks, I might stick some moleskin on the blister-prone areas of my feet, or spread a little Vaseline to reduce the friction.

Medium Protection (mid-distance runs – 6 to 12 miles)
– For this distance, I don’t run without a thick layer of Rungoo, which is a thick white cream that contains lanolin and wax to reduce friction. I then carefully roll on a pair of WrightSocks (the double layer kind), making sure not to rub the cream off.
Heavy Duty (half marathon and beyond)
– This distance took the most trial and error (and lots of Googling) before I started coming home without huge blood blisters.  The method that works 90% of the time for me is gel squares secured with medical grade tape (Tensoplast) on the blister-prone zones combined with double-layer Wrightsocks.  The gel squares serve as a cushion that prevents my feet from rubbing against the sock/ shoes, and also provide some lubrication to and cool off the skin.
This method has been working great – I had NO blood blisters after my 20 miler from a few weeks ago!

blister prevention heavyProducts that Haven’t Worked
So now the sad part – here are the products that haven’t worked for me at all. They all have great reviews on Amazon, so I’m sure there are people that swear by them, but the protection they offered was too light to be effective for me.
Blistop – this is a spray that you apply on blister-prone areas that creates a layer of film to reduce friction.  A light application did nothing for me, so I tried creating thicker layers but that didn’t provide much protection either.  To the trash bin!
2Toms Sport Shield Roll-on – I had high hopes for this product because I liked the easy, mess-free application of the roll-on! Unfortunately, I think the product rubbed off on my socks pretty quickly, and I didn’t find the coating to be very buildable (I couldn’t apply a very thick coating that might stay on through the run).
BodyGlide Skin Glide Liquified Powder – I love the BodyGlide Anti-Chafe Stick for other areas of my body, so when I saw this product and saw reviews claiming it worked great for preventing blisters on the feet, I decided to give it a whirl. It’s a liquid, kind of like a lotion, that dries to a silky powder once applied to the skin.  I found out pretty quickly though that the product wasn’t staying on my skin – probably being rubbed off or sweated off pretty quickly during the run.
blister prevention noSo there you have it, my tried and true blister prevention guide! If you’re suffering from blisters, I hope this helps!

Have a great weekend guys!


One thought on “Guide to Preventing Blisters

  1. Pingback: Marathon Packing List (Pittsburgh) | sneaker∙therapy

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