|Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme|
Properly-fitting equipment is the first step to prevent unwanted effects of physical activity. I am not kidding when I say that proper-fitting, moisture wicking sports bras, shirts, shorts, and socks make all the difference in the world. If you're still going for long runs in cotton tees and no socks, you might be a masochist. Which is cool, if that's what you're into. But for me, I was non-plussed by the dime-sized rashes caused by an ill-fitting sports bra.
Properly-fitting shoes are also very important. Still, many of us get callouses or gnarly toenails from the many miles logged in training. Certainly ill-fitting shoes exacerbate foot problems. So does not trimming your toenails (that one's a message to the men folk out there). I like to get pedicures. To maintain pretty feet and massage tired arches, I also rub in Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme one or two nights a week.
The second important aspect of preparation is fueling. This is really a form of preventative care. I had 18 miles to run today in pretty humid conditions. Knowing this, I had my camelbak with water to prevent cramping and dehydration (electrolytes help there too), and two gu packets to prevent bonking (as a general rule, one needs 100 calories every hour). Runs less than an hour probably don't require you to take fuel along with you, but this is something individuals learn for themselves as they become more experienced.
The final step to fully enjoy your physical activity is proper lubrication! Okay, seriously, chafing is a huge problem for runners. It is caused by something (fabric, skin) rubbing against moist bare skin. Of course, since running leads to sweating, chafing can be an issue for many logging more than a few miles. The constant sweating and rubbing can scrape skin away and then sting like hell as sweat or water in the shower goes back into the wound. Another factor exacerbating chafage is typical midwestern weather. At this moment, the temperature is 79 degrees fahrenheit with humidity at 50% and a dew point of 60 degrees. I just ran 18 miles with minor issues, though--just a slight rash the size of a quarter where my camelbak rubbed against my shoulder blade. However, last weekend when I ran the 10 mile race, the temperature was only 60 degrees but the humidty was at 72%. Unlike today, I was unprotected. I know, I know, forgetting or not having protection with me in the heat of the moment is not an excuse. Trust me, I felt the consequences between my thighs for the next couple of days. I'm still referring to chafing my friends. Between the legs is a common place for chafing to occur because our legs rub our shorts as each leg alternates in forward motion. Less common, perhaps, is chafing under the breasts. This unhappy phenomenon I also experienced last weekend, for the first time. As per above, the boob-chafage was not so much a consequence of running unprotected, but of poor fit. Today, I was smart. I was prepared. I slathered on the body glide. And all that physical exertion was more more enjoyable because of it.