Back to Back Issues Page
The Marathon Rookie Times, Issue #0027
November 28, 2006


Winter Running


Avoid Blisters

Side Stitches

Winter Running

For many of us, cold weather has arrived or is on the way. My favorite time of year! The cooler weather is welcomed by most as relief from those hot summer running days. However, some days can be just plain cold.

Be smart and use your best judgment as to whether or not to run when you have a cold or feel like you might be getting sick. Sometimes it can feel good knowing you ran or made your scheduled training run even though you were sick, but it could lead you to getting sicker and missing a week of training rather than only one day. If you are training for a race, a big part of training is breaking down your body and it recovering to become stronger. As you break down your body, your immune system may weaken and make you more susceptible to becoming sick. Keep this in mind when considering whether or not to run when you are sick. Missing a single run is always better than missing 1-2 weeks while you are laid up in bed sick.

Dress appropriately to keep yourself warm, but not hot - and cool, but not cold. Naturally, our bodies generate heat as we run. It is okay to be a little cool at the start of a run knowing we will warm up, but if in doubt, go ahead and take along a pair of gloves and a cap (or toboggan) so you do not find yourself shivering late in the run. If you find the gloves are not needed, you can easily stuff them in your pants and run on. Applying Chap Stick to your lips might be a good idea too.

Just because we may not sweat as much during cold days does not mean we can cut back on fluid consumption. Be sure to continue hydrating after runs and that you get your body weight back to within a half pound or equal to what it was before the run by consuming water or sports drink following the run.

Enjoy those cool weather runs!


"It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse."

- Ann Trason, Ultramarathon runner

Avoid Blisters

Blisters can be common among runners and can be painful, annoying, or simply unpleasant to look at. The culprit is generally friction and moisture. Following are a few ways to help avoid blisters:

Before long runs, apply a small amount of Vaseline to both feet. The Vaseline will reduce friction and dramatically lessen the likelihood of getting blisters.
Wear synthetic running socks that pull moisture from your feet. Be sure to wash socks before running in them again (I trust you already do that!) so they stay fresh and can easily pull moisture away while maintaining cushioning.
Wear shoes that fit properly and are not too loose. If wearing a new pair, wear them on lower mileage runs before wearing them on a long run to help break them in first.

Side Stitches

Side stitch is the term referring to that sharp pain we sometimes experience in the rib cage while running. There a several possible causes, but most have to do with the diaphragm.

Eating too soon before a run may lead to a side stitch. Always try to eat no less than an hour before a run. Eating 2-3 hours before a run should help to avoid side stitches.

One popular remedy to side stitches during a run is to exhale slowly and fully to remove all the air from your lungs. Then pick back up with a breathing pattern such as a 2-2 breathing pattern where you take two steps while breathing in, then two steps while breathing out, and repeat. Maintaining a breathing pattern may also help to prevent a side stitch from occurring in the first place.

Action Steps:
Allow adequate time between eating and running
Exhale to remove air and follow a breathing pattern

Happy Running!

Brad Boughman

November Announcements

Gift Certificates are now available.

Marathon and Half Marathon eBooks on Sale

Back to Back Issues Page