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Managing blisters and black toe nails

AUG 9, 2023

Minute 1: Build a morning routine to improve stress and blood sugar levels

No matter how much of a morning person you are, there will always be days when you wake up with less motivation to work out than a character in “The Hangover.” It’s not just Mike Tyson who can throw your body for a loop, sometimes we’re just not feeling it. If you want to turn a rough morning into a smooth flow of positivity, consider these: “7 Things to Do Every Morning for Balanced Blood Sugar Levels.” Mornings where we feel anxious or scatterbrained are often the result of disruptions in our blood sugar and cortisol levels. Fear not, as there are tons of ways to get your levels back to normal, like drinking a glass of water right away or having a balanced, fiber-rich breakfast. Those will dilute and stabilize your blood sugar levels to reduce stress and provide a steady source of energy. Another step you can take is to get some early morning activity, and a morning workout can do a lot more for you than just blood sugar regulation, as you can see in: “13 Excellent Benefits Of Working Out In The Morning For Employees.” Exercise releases feel-good neurochemicals like endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline, and endocannabinoids. Those can reduce feelings of anxiety and pain so that you’re primed to handle whatever left hooks the day throws your way.


Minute 2: Change your mindset to crush hills

Some runners dislike hills more than report cards and public speaking. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, there are some tricks to cresting them with a smile on your face. If that sounds easier said than done, check out these: “Mental Strategies for Uphill Running.” Staring all the way up an incline can feel overwhelming, which is why pro trail runner Kim Dobson likes to segment her hills into smaller challenges. Focusing on landmarks part way up a hill can allow you to have little victories, rather than facing the big picture of a full hill at once. It’s important to practice strategies that help you keep your cool in the face of adversity as well. That means accepting the fact that your pace is going to be reduced until you return to flat ground, rather than burning yourself out trying to avoid a slowdown. Instead, try to maintain your perceived effort level for the duration of the hill, as this story suggests: “Managing effort: learning the art of running uphill.” Once you’ve got the right mindset and strategy to take on your hills, you can participate in an event like these "9 challenging vertical races that will have you going uphill.” These races generally range from 1 to 10 kilometers, but with average gradations of upwards of a 50% incline, they’re as demanding as any endurance race out there.


Minute 3: Don’t let blisters ruin your run

It’s an unfortunate reality that if you’re doing a lot of running, chances are you’re going to develop blisters. In some sense they’re a badge of honor representing all the hard work you’ve done, but we’ve never met a runner who didn’t wish for a speedy return to blister-free feet. If this annoyance is something you’ve struggled with, you should consider this advice that applies to trail and road runners alike: “How To Treat and Prevent Trail Running Blisters.” Blisters are caused by excess friction between our feet, socks, and shoes. That means finding the right sizing for your shoes is essential. Too small, and they’ll exert constant pressure on your feet. Too large, and your feet will shuffle around and experience friction from excess movement. Particles and moisture can also have an impact. Be sure to empty your shoes of any dirt, dust, and sand after your runs. It’s also helpful to get a pair of moisture wicking socks, like those offered by Bombas. Blisters aren’t the only issue that can arise from ill-fitting socks and shoes, and you should also be on the lookout for signs of a blackened toenail: “What is the Best Way to Treat Black and Bruised Toenail from Running?” Also known as “jogger’s toe,” a bruised toenail is something that as many as 14% of runners deal with, according to one survey. Like blisters, bruised toes can come about from shoes that are too big, allowing your foot to slide around and experience an impact, or too small, with tight laces compressing the toenail with each step. Running downhill and long distances can also exacerbate the problem, so be sure to pay attention to the fit of your sneaker when running a long or hilly course.


Minute 4: Can a keto diet and supplements work for athletes?

If you or anyone you know has adopted the ketogenic diet, you know it can demand a pretty significant lifestyle change. Its restrictions are intense, but for some folks, so are the benefits, helping with weight loss, blood pressure, cholesterol, and even certain brain disorders. Keto diets work by restricting carbs and burning fat for energy, which poses a challenge for athletes. Can endurance athletes on keto still find success? Maybe, but it requires some experimentation to see what works for you: “Ketone supplements and endurance: worth the hype?” Ketone supplements are a way to facilitate ketosis without having to restrict your diet significantly. Consuming them will signal your body to use fat as an energy source, helping with weight loss and appetite suppression. However, one recent study found that during a 20-minute time trial, cyclists experienced a reduction in performance after consuming ketone supplements. Following a traditional keto diet may require some fine tuning to get your macronutrient balance right, according to: “Does Keto Work for Cyclists Who Ride All the Time?” For any athlete starting a keto diet, you can expect a two-week adjustment period with decreased performance. However, when athletes’ performance was measured a month into adopting keto, things seemed to return to normal. Once you’ve adjusted, maintaining performance will hinge on making sure you’re getting enough calories every day, as well as avoiding excessive carb restriction. If you’re running or biking for hours every day, you can still consume several grams of carbs and remain in ketosis, provided the majority of your calories are coming from fats.


Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • In Minute 2 of our last issue, we took a look at breathing techniques and mantras to improve your running. We found it so helpful that we wanted to extend our look into breathing better and we just came across this list: “Beat stress, get to sleep and find your focus: seven ways better breathing can improve your life.” If you want to dive a little deeper into the benefits of deep breathing, you can check out “Why Learning to Control Your Breath Will Change Your Life.”

  • If we asked you to guess what is the healthiest vegetable in the world, what would you say? We bet most of you didn’t pick the one that the CDC recently declared to be on top. It’s far less common than a lot of the options you’ll typically see in stores or on a menu, like spinach, chard, and beet greens. If you’re curious to learn how healthy a vegetable can get, take a look at “Experts Say Watercress Is The Healthiest Vegetable On Earth.”

  • Marathons are a huge undertaking, and that means a long list of tips is warranted to give you the best chance of success. If you’re a checklist kind of person, you may like this new piece from Runner’s World, offers advice on training, lifestyle changes, race day, and beyond. Dive into the: “25 rules of successful marathon training.”


Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

In the age of social media and oversharing, it’s easy to get caught up in others’ opinions of ourselves. We get into the habit of publishing our runs on apps like Instagram or Strava, and sooner or later, showing off to friends and competitors can start to feel like a big motivator driving our exercise. @thepacepusher points this out in a short yet hilarious video, but it’s a poignant reminder that we should all ask ourselves what our inherent reasons for running are. If you’re looking to reconnect with your “why,” you can check out “Intrinsic Motivation Explained: 10 Examples & Key Factors.” While you’re waiting to dig deep into your psyche, we recommend a good chuckle from this video in the meantime.


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