Running helps to improve health with stronger hearts and legs. More than that, aerobic exercises including running helps to build bigger brainsimprove mood and instill healthier habits. Unfortunately, running – especially hardcore runners, can cause chafing, aches and more if you’re not well prepared for.

Fret not – here are 5 problems AND the solutions!

1. Chafing

clothes running gear

The redness you get post-run from clothes rubbing against your skin – that’s chafing. It’s most obviously felt when you go into the shower and feel that burn (not the good kind). How to avoid it? Go dri-fit, wear compression and hydrate. Compression protects your inner thighs and dri-fit clothes are sweat-wicking, looser. It’s also important to hydrate because it minimizes the salt concentration of sweat. High salt content has a sandpaper effect on the skin. If you already experience chafing, wash that area with antibacterial soap and blot it dry – do not rub and irritate that area further.

2. Blisters

"Running really is a metaphor for life," she says. "There is always another mile. You just have to take it one step at a time." Anne Mahlum, Marathoner and Founder of Back On My Feet
Photo Credit:Anne Mahlum

One of the most common problems runners face. Although it’s not as debilitating as an IT band injury or plantar fasciitis, it’s still pretty irksome a problem. Its main cause? Friction. Try to keep your feet as dry as possible using anti-perspirant or sweat-wicking socks. For those with sweaty feet, avoid cotton socks. Those tend to retain moisture. Make sure your shoes are well-fitted as well – check for size and width. If you can see the fluid under the skin, drain the blister using a sterile lancet and quickly apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent infections.

3. Black Toenails

running-barefoot-no-shoes-runner-feetSome runners can be proud of their black toenails because when you start getting them, it means you’re training pretty hard! Black toenails happen when extra fluid migrates into the toe region. In hot weather (like Singapore’s – hope no one’s disputing that), the fluid level increases. The internal pressure of the fluid against the toenail can allow for fluid buildup between layers of the nail. This can cause a few blood capillaries to break or leak blood, producing the red and then black color. Then, you feel pain. Best way to prevent it? Get properly fitted shoes. The best way to drain it or treat it is to visit the doctor’s.

4. Stomach Ache

stomach acheThere might be various reasons for this – it could be related to the way you’re breathing, or what you ate or drank before your run. If your levels of sodium, potassium, and calcium are out of balance, that could contribute to stomach cramps too! (says Pete McCall) To prevent stomach aches, start with what you eat before your run. Eat simple carbs such as fruit and drink water. Have your meal at least 2 hours in advance, or 3 hours if you want to be safe. If a stomach ache brutally assaults you during a run, practice deep breathing and slow down your pace. Don’t be a hero – walk if you must!

5. Sunburn

young runner kid water

Unfortunately, this is going to be pretty common in tropical weathers. And if you choose to run in the middle of the day, that’s a sure way to get red, painful burns on your skin. An obvious prevention is to put on sunblock and choose cool periods of the day to run. Common kitchen staples such as oatmeal, fat-free milk, yoghurt, lettuce and teabags can be great sunburn soothers. Avoid soaps when you shower (ironic, we know!) because it can dry your skin and irritate it further. Soothe that part with ice and moisturizer while resting.

Take care and train hard, buddies!