Psssst… Girl Talk and Those Body Things

Let’s talk about all of those weird, gross, ouch, things that running can cause to our bodies. Between the three of us girls we have asked and discussed all of these things with each other as if they are a secret or we are the only one that it is happening to. Then we realized “hey I’ve also had that or I know what that feels like,” etc.

We want to share them with you, share our solutions and we want to recognize that not everyone has someone that they can talk to about it or even relate to about what you may be going through. Do not worry we can guarantee you are not alone. It is time to be honest… running can be kind of gross!

Body Thing #1. Bladder Infections:

  • That awful burning sensation when you are peeing and then constantly feeling like you have to pee even when you don’t. How would you end up with a bladder infection from running? Very easily. If you think about it, especially in the warmer months of the year, you are running, sweating, and you’ve got material/your underwear that is getting wet with sweat. Its a tight knit area down there and heat/sweat can get trapped creating a great area for bacteria to live and move around.
    As a road runner your chances may be less because you can perhaps find a Starbucks or corner store to pit stop at when you have to go and lucky you toilet paper! However for a trail runner 9 times out of 10 you get to pick the biggest tree to squat behind and you don’t have a roll of toilet paper resting beside you. You pee get a quick drip dry pull up your bottoms and off you go again. Doing this multiple times during a run and not having anything to wipe with is the main culprit to a bladder infection. Sweat, not wiping and a tight knit area.
    Both men and women can get bladder infections, however women are more at risk because we have a shorter urethra. Do not fear! There are many ways in which you can help prevent a bladder infection from happening even out on those long treacherous runs

WOODS

  • Here is how:
    – Carry something to wipe with. Toilet paper can be big and bulky and get mushy if raining or damp so we highly recommend using Muff Wipes. I love my Muff is a bio degradable little wipe that we carry in our running packs, can also easily fit in a pocket or waist water belt, and are perfect to use on the go where ever you are.
    – Avoid wearing cotton underwear, thongs and g-strings. They can rub and bring unwanted bacteria to your lady parts. (It`s gross, but it`s true)
    – As soon as you get home from a run if you are running from your house, shower, clean off asap! If you drove to your running destination bring a change of clothes and change for the drive home, we don’t want to be sitting in our sweaty bottoms allowing for any bacteria to do its thing and potentially spread.
    – Wash your running bottoms as often as possible or plan to wear a new clean pair for each run, seems like an obvious thing however many of us have a favourite or lucky pair of shorts and when we get home through them back in the gear pile and then run a day or two later in the same shorts we just sweated in.
    – Drink Pure 100% cranberry juice daily. (It is really acidic so I recommend diluting it or adding a splash to your smoothies) If you do end up getting the symptoms or feeling the burning of a bladder infection for a quick relief drink 100% pure cranberry juice, it can stop the bladder infection from progressing and relive that awful burning sensation. See your doctor for antibiotics as soon as you can.

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Body Thing #2. Chaffing:

  • Oh yes, chafing. On all areas of the body this red burning skin rubbing rash can make your day painful. Whether it`s from your bra, your hydration pack, your clothing, or essentially anything you are wearing. One of the most dreadful places for chaffing to occur is…down there… it happens to the best of us… and chafing just comes with the territory of running. Its a guarantee for me to have in-between my butt cheeks chaff as soon as I step over 40km. When two things rub together, skin on skin or skin on fabric, it causes irritations and when your running lots of things are rubbing together. Sweat and being wet from the rain can worsen your chances of having chaffing. The most common symptom of chafing is a painful stinging or burning sensation. The area is usually red and raw.

CHAFINF

  • How we can prevent it:
    – Making sure you are wearing technical fabrics, moisture wicking, breathable and nothing heavy, no cottons, also look for items with less seams and stitching. It is very easy these days to find running tops and bottoms that are extremely light weight and soft with no textures. Garments made with all natural fibres also are a plus option.
    – Try and go underwear free! Find a pair of shorts that have built in liners.
    – There are tons and tons of non chafing creams and remedies out there, in my opinion and experience most of them a waste of money. What I find works the best for me to both prevent chafing from worsening once it starts to happen and to relive the burning pain is Vaseline. Its cheap, easy, I carry a very small container of it in my pack when I run and it works for me. Simple and easy. Vaseline repels water so if its raining and or your sweat is dripping the Vaseline will not run off.

Body Thing #3. When Nature Calls:

  • Have you ever been caught out on a run or hike and… UH-OH… nature calls! This becomes almost unavoidable on longer runs. Popping a squat to pee is one thing, but what if you have to go number 2?! It`s happened to all of three of us and I bet it has happened to you, even if you are siting there saying, whaaaat, me, never!!! If you are running on the road and there is a starbucks you can jump into, FANTASTIC! If you are on the trails and there is an outhouse nearby, PERFECT! But what if you are literally in the middle of the woods and all you can find are trees. When you have to go you have to go and if you try and deny the fact that you have to go, you are probably going to end up with a pretty terrible stomach ache and offending everyone around you with gas. Just accept it, and go. Find a tree, dig a little hole, and do your business. If you are really embarrassed about it, be sure to tell your friends you are just doing number 1 and for them to keep going and you will catch up. Here is the thing, going number 2 while running is completely natural. There is a thing called…Runners Trots…read all about it and feel even better that you are not alone. Running creates a lot of movement through out your body, including your bowels, so it is no wonder nature likes to call when your out on a run, just make sure you have something to wipe with!

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Body Thing #4. Runny Nose:

  • Have you noticed that your nose gets excessively runny while out on a run? Cold outside and it runs even more? Part of it could be due to exercise-induced rhinitis which is like regular allergy symptoms that is triggered by exercise. But it can also be due to your sinuses produce just under a litre of mucous a day when you are perfectly healthy! Your body creates even more when it is cold out as tiny blood vessels in your nose dilating to increase the blood flow to help warm the arm as you breathe in. The increase in mucous production can give you a that runny nose. Also since your moving a lot when running, the mucous that normally gets swallowed on a normal bases, gets transferred to your nose as it moves up and down in response to the impact of running.

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  • How to prevent it:
    – In all honesty, your body naturally creates mucous daily so it is pretty hard to prevent it. But you can manage it.
    – Carry around tissue in your hydration pack to soak up some of the sniffles
    – Wear a buff around your wrist so you can easily wipe your nose on the fly!                             -Perfect the farmers blow…hold your finger over one nostril, lean forward and blow as hard as you can out the open nostril then repeat on the other side. It can be a natural part of running. It is gross, I know. But sometimes, justifiably necessary!
    – On those long runs, if you have been wiping your nose a lot, the skin can get red and sore, helpful tip dab a little Vaseline onto the sore area for fast relief!

Body Thing #5. Athletes Foot:

  • Gross a fungus growing on my foot! Athlete’s foot is a very common skin condition that affects the sole of the foot and the skin between the toes. It is usually a scaly, red, itchy eruption and occasionally may be weepy and oozing. It affects the feet of athletes and non-athletes alike. I myself have it and it comes and goes all of the time. When its flared up my feet are itchy and burn in between my toes. It’s not one of those things that you ever want to share with anyone because it can be spread to others easily so people will look at you weird and run away, I was really embarrassed about it even when I went to see my doctor to ask for the cream prescription. Keep in mind its a really common infection…Not only does running not help keeping athletes foot away it really help keep it. Since some people are simply more prone to fungal infections, they are also prone to repeated infection.

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  • Preventive measures include:
    – Keeping your feet clean and dry, avoiding prolonged moist environments, removing shoes and allowing the feet skin to “breathe,” avoiding walking barefoot in public areas like swimming pools and gyms, avoiding contact with known infected people, and avoiding soaking and contaminated tool usage at nail salons.
    – Disinfecting old shoes and periodic weekly or monthly sprinkling of anti-fungal foot powder (Pedi-Dry Foot Powder) into shoes can also be helpful.
    – If you do end up with a case of athletes foot and for those of us who can’t wear sandals to work (everyone) try to change your socks through out your day or even change your shoes also.
    – Just keeping your feet as dry as possible is key and see your doctor for an anti fungal medical cream that can help relieve the uncomfortable symptoms.

Body Thing #6. Toe Nail Loss:
toenails

  • Hours and miles of wearing running shoes, your feet bashing up against the front of your shoes as you hammer your way down a hill. It is totally normal to be sporting less than 10 toe nails. It just happens. All of us lost a few at the Coastal Challenge and when we were training for our first ultra. If you want to get into ultra territory, just accept you might not have the prettiest feet on the planet!
  • How to prevent:
    – Make sure you get a really good pair of shoes that fit well. If you get a pair of shoes that are just a little too small, your toes will bash the fronts of them easier which bruises your toe nails making them more at risk to falling off. Make sure you have about a thumbs size space between the tip of your toe and the end of your shoe, especially for trail runners with a lot of down hill running!
    -Pack a pair of sandals in the car to change into after a run. Get your shoes off your feet as soon as you can to prevent any more toe crunching and give your feet a chance to breathe.
    – Find the right socks. Socks can make a world of difference. Get a pair of socks that fit and fit well so that your feet aren`t sliding in them.

paddedsocks

 

Body Thing #7. Blisters:

  • Blisters are just another wonderful that plague our poor runner feet. Both annoying and painful, blisters are caused by friction, usually your shoes or socks rubbing against your skin. Anything that intensifies rubbing can start a blister, including a faster pace, poor-fitting shoes or socks and foot abnormalities, such as callouses, bunions, heel spurs and hammertoes. Heat and moisture intensify friction by making your feet swell. Our bodies respond to the friction by producing fluid, which builds up beneath the part of the skin being rubbed, causing pressure and pain. A blood blister occurs when the friction ruptures tiny blood vessels. It becomes a little (or big) bubble under your skin, and when they pop, they hurt a lot!! Blisters do not really pose a health risk, but they can really bum you out and slow you down during a run. They do need to be treated properly as they can become infected.
  • How to prevent and treat:
    -Moisten your feet before a run, my favourite is vasoline between the toes. Dry skin is more prone to friction so be sure to moisturize your feet on a daily basis.
    -Choose blister-free socks and stay away from cotton as they retain fluid. Synthetic socks wick moisture away and socks with reinforced heels and toes also help reduce friction. My personal favourite is wool socks, or injiji socks where none of your toes are touching each other, decreasing friction.
    -If you can learn one thing, it is the importance of good shoes and socks. Get a pair of shoes that fit as shoes that are too small will cause blisters under the toes and on the ends of the toenails. There should be a thumbs width of space between the toes and end of the toe box.
    -If you feel a blister coming on, throw on some second skin or moleskin to prevent further friction. After the run, pop the blister with a small, sterile needle and let the fluid drain out and bandage appropriately.

toesocks

 

Body Thing #8. Smelly Smelly:
hotface

  • Long hours running, sweating in the gym, hot yoga, cross training. Athletes sweat a lot and we just have to learn to live with it and embrace it as just liquid awesomeness. And with sweat comes our enemy, body odor. We all know that deodorant is a life saver, but what do you do when your pit-stick power is out of juice and you are even starting to offend yourself.
  • How to prevent and treat it:
    -No cotton while sweating! I am sure you know this by now through trial and error. Cotton absorbs moisture and holds onto it making it heavier, wet and smelly. Choose moisture wicking clothing.
    -silver infused clothing has anti-smell properties. Lulu-lemon makes some pretty awesome tees, tanks and longs sleeves that hold up to your smelly armpits.
    -Shower as soon as you get home. I know this sounds pretty basic but we can get caught up in everything as soon as we walk through the door. The longer we stay in our running clothes, the worst the stench gets.
    -Avoid wearing running jackets in the rain. I know that sounds silly, but running jackets hold in a lot of moisture as they stop moisture from going in. You may be staying dry from the rain, but inside you are going to be soaked. If you are running in the rain, just accept you are going to get wet!

Body Thing #9. Runner Hair:

  • If you are logging multiple hours a week, multiple times a week, your hair is probably 99% of the time up in a pony-tail. (That might be a slight exaggeration but I feel like my hair is never down!) Sweat, dirt from the trails, exhaust from the cars, it all contributes to make your hair one big giant mess. The more you wash your hair, the faster it gets greasy, but how are you supposed to not wash your hair all the time if it is dirty all the time! Not to mention hair breakage leading to your comb being full of hair after you brush it. Having it up all of the time out side in the changing weather conditions, cold, wind, rain, sun… it can dry it and fry it out.

dayna1

  • How to help:
    – If you don`t need to have your hair looking super sassy for work the next day, try just rinsing the sweat out with water and putting it back in a ponytail. What I found is that I was the bottom of my hair where it attaches to my neck at then the parts around my face and ears with water and leave it in a pony tail. I can normally get away with not washing it for another day or 2.
    – Get a shampoo and or conditioner that isn`t super oily. Oily shampoos and conditioners weigh down your hair and decrease your hairs natural oils which makes it get greasy looking faster. I tend to use organic and natural shampoos and conditioners.
    -Get a pick for your hair instead of a brush. You can work through all those knots easier without loosing copious amounts of hair!

See, all those weird, gross, uncomfortable things that happen to while you are running… you are not alone!!! We have all experienced all of them and we are here to help if you have any questions at all!

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Comments

  1. OK — along with the bladder infection thing…yeast infection. Sad but true.

  2. Chaffe blisters!!! Put those two together and ypu have the worst thing i had to overcome. I would get a chaffe blister on my inner thigh, stung throughout the week. Thank goodness for vaseline.

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