New runners, and even seasoned runners, tend to learn lessons the hard way. But, generally speaking, many hard lessons can be avoided if you’re bold enough to ask the right questions. We’re going to lift that burden for you and answer a few common questions runners are too embarrassed to ask.
Here are a few answers about everything from underwear etiquette to popping blisters:
SHOULD I WEAR UNDERWEAR?
While this may be personal preference, wearing underwear with running shorts that have a built-in lining is usually overkill. Forgoing briefs also helps reduce chafing, improve breathability during your run and provide an overall more comfortable experience.
On the other hand, if you have running shorts without liners, compression briefs or other workout-specific undergarments that help keep things in place and provide a little more modesty is usually a good idea.
HOW DO I AVOID CHAFING IN SENSITIVE SPOTS?
When you combine sweat and friction, there will always be the potential for chafing. Whether it’s bloody nipples, irritation from a sports bra or running shorts or the rubbing of skin on the inside of your thighs or armpits, dealing with these issues can really wreck your run — not to mention your post-run shower.
Fortunately, there is a wide range of anti-chafing products like BodyGlide that reduce friction. Trying different cuts of shorts and sports bras may help, too, and remember synthetic materials keep you much drier than wearing 100% cotton clothing. For the dreaded nipple problem, it’s as simple as using waterproof bandages.
RUNNING A MILE TIRES ME OUT, I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Running is hard — both physically and mentally. While you might want to hit the road and run for miles like you see so many other runners doing, building your fitness takes time.
To avoid fatigue too early in your run, start slow and adopt a run-walk strategy that focuses on distance instead of speed. You can also try short interval workouts that feature short bursts of fast-paced running followed by rest breaks on a track once or twice a week. This can be a good way to improve your endurance.
DURING ALMOST EVERY RACE I HAVE TO GO NUMBER TWO. IS THIS NORMAL?
Running has a way of speeding the bowels. Add the nervous energy created by race environments and a sudden case of “runner’s trots” can become reality. Fueling tactics during the race, what you’re eating before your runs and dehydration all play a factor, and the exact cause can be individually based.
To help you narrow down what might be causing a mid-run potty break, use these tips.
MY TESTICLES HURT WHEN I RUN. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
Some pains are normal and some are not. Varicocele, for instance, is a common disorder among men caused by an enlarged vein that can block blood flow to the testicle that has the potential to cause pain following a run. In this case, wearing more supportive undergarments, like compression shorts, while you run can help.
Keep in mind it may be difficult to determine whether your pain is serious or something minor you shouldn’t be concerned about. To be on the safe side, it’s always better to visit your doctor if pain persists for more than a few days.
READ MORE > SCIENCE SAYS: RUNNING BOOSTS BRAIN POWER
WILL RUNNING MAKE MY BREASTS SMALLER?
For some women, the notion of running decreasing breast size is an issue. Since breast tissue is composed of fat, the more you run and the fitter you become the more likely you are to decrease your overall body fat — breasts included. The idea, though, that you will only have a decrease of fat in one specific target area is unlikely, but you will become leaner throughout your entire body.
SHOULD I POP BLISTERS OR LEAVE THEM ALONE?
Fluid-filled blisters on the toes and bottom of the feet are unfortunately something almost all runners are forced to deal with. Friction, sweat and ill-fitting shoes are all common causes, and your chances of developing one of these painful problems increases the longer your training run or race is.
As for popping them, small blisters can be left alone as long as they’re not too painful. For larger blisters that are causing severe discomfort, draining them with a sterile needle is recommended for pain relief. Just remember not to remove the skin of the blister after it’s been drained and to use an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Covering the blister with a dressing or bandage is also a good idea to keep bacteria from entering the wound.