(Photo by Charlotte Taquet - Source: The Greenrace)
Women face social sexist pressures every day. We are often judged based on our appearance. People assume that women should look pretty, smell like roses and always take care of themselves.
This pressure doesn’t apply the same way to our male comrades - but that is perhaps a discussion for another day... Running, and particularly trail running can be hard on our bodies. Blisters, black nails, chafing, bloating are all common 'features' of a trail runner. So is there a way to keep on running and still looking like a lady?
Don’t worry, we've got your back - based on our own experience we have come up with a list of the not-so-glam advice for all trail running ladies:
● Cut your nails short
If you want to avoid bruises and bleeding underneath your toenails, it is best to cut them short. It will keep your toes from being thrust forward into the tip of the toe box in your running shoe and minimize the impact on your nails. Cut your nails short at least 3-4 days before a race, just to ensure you have enough time to “adjust” in case you cut them too short or sharp.
● Don’t do a full pedicure before a race
Cutting nails short is a good thing but doing a full pedicure is not the best idea. By removing the dry, thick and strong skin layers from your foot, your skin under will be left thin and soft. You might get irritated when running, and could develop serious blisters, especially in the humid and hot weather in Asia.
● Choose the right pair of shoes
If your shoes are too tight you may experience nail issues mentioned above since your nails end up touching the tip of the toe box when running. If your shoes are too big you may develop blisters caused by chafing as the shoe slides up and down your heel when you run. Choosing the right shoes is therefore the key. Try them on for a few short runs before any long run or race to make sure they feel comfortable.
● Use preventive bandage or blister patch
Blisters can be prevented by applying a blister patch or bandage in advance on the identified potential spot. You will learn quite quickly during your training where you usually experience blisters and so you can always prepare your feet accordingly.
● Don’t be shy to use Vaseline
Before a long run or a race, it is advised to apply some Vaseline between your legs, near the bra area or also under your arms – basically wherever you could think you might get irritated while running. Buying anti-chaffing underwear (such as the T8 commandos) could also be a good option.
● Find a good sports bra
Having a good sports bra is key. Make sure you try it before any race or long run to ensure that it fits well. If it is too tight it will cause chafing, if it is too loose it won't provide enough support.
● Use compression socks when necessary
Trail running can be very wild. Sometimes you need to reach places that are hard to access and you might end up bushwhacking instead of running. Using compression socks or calf socks is a good way to still run freely without injuring your legs in the bushes.
● Protect yourself from the sun
Nice tan lines (socks, shorts, t-shirts and hydration bags) are part of the game but don’t forget to apply sunscreen, put on glasses and a hat to prevent getting a heat stroke and looking red like a tomato.
● Don’t eat too much fiber before a race
Stomach issues are annoying, especially if they happen during a race. Luckily there are some tested ways to avoid stomach problems. The best is to avoid eating too much fiber beforehand, foods high in fiber are indigestible. Focus on white rice, grains, pasta instead of high fiber foods to fuel up for the day.
● Fight your period cramps
If you are getting your period on the race day and you suffer from cramps try to do some abdominal stretches before hitting the trail and make sure to drink plenty of water. If your cramps are too intense you might want to consider taking a pain killer 24-48 hours before your period starts and/or before your race to improve your experience of racing on your period.
With all of this advice in mind, just focus on what you do best: RUN AND SHINE!