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Eight Tips Every Runner Should Know
Running Hacks

Tennis balls feet great on your feet after a run.
Chilled tennis balls feel great on your feet!

Whether you're running a 5K or a marathon, it's often the littlest things that make a difference. Yes, an appropriate training program is important, but what about that other "stuff" experienced runners just seem to know?

To save you time and potential injuries, I'm going to share eight valuable tips every runner should know.

Wear synthetic socks. You might like the idea of cotton. You may already have cotton socks. That's fine, just don't run in them. When cotton and synthetic socks were tested side-by-side, synthetics emerged as the clear winner. Moisture was the key. When a person starts to sweat, cotton socks get damp increasing their "coefficient of friction" (COF). The higher the COF is, the more likely you are to develop a blister.

Synthetic socks don't hold onto the moisture, but instead wick it away for a lower COF. If you're going to run, do it in synthetic socks.

Get some lube to help reduce chafing. Chafing is caused by the sweating and friction of body parts rubbing together or clothing rubbing away at you. Eventually, the skin becomes red, irritated and raw. Common symptoms include a stinging or burning sensation. Most of the time it happens in the armpits, groin area, inner thigh and on the nipples.

Petroleum jelly is a popular chafing lube because it's easy to find and cheap, but it may not stay on as well as professionally designed products. For serious slipperiness, consider Bag Balm, Body Glide, Chamois BUTT'r, Lube Stick for Runners or Sportslick.

Get non-slip nose pads for your sunglasses or eyeglasses. As you run and sweat, glasses tend to slide down your nose. Put a small piece of rubber or silicon on the nose pads to prevent the slipping. If you're particularly active, get a strap that attaches to the arms of the glasses and tightens around the back of your head. Find them by searching for sunglass straps or sunglass holders.

Don't do static stretches before a run. Engage in an active warm-up. That's where you gradually increase either the speed you move, your reach or both. You don't hold the stretch, so you typically do this exercise in sets of 8-12 repetitions. It's also called dynamic stretching or mobility exercises.

Set your treadmill on a one to three-degree incline if you have to run inside. When you're running outside, you get resistance from the wind. On a treadmill that resistance doesn't exist. Putting the treadmill on a slight incline better approximates what happens in the real world.

Focus on nearby objects when you run, to make it easier. For example, focus on a tree, mailbox or park bench a few hundred feet in front of you. Keep staring as you run up to it. Then focus on the next object a few hundred more feet in front. Because you reach each target so quickly, it makes the run seem less difficult and go quicker.

Shower in your running clothes, minus shoes and electronics of course. When you get back from a run, your clothes are often sweaty and smell bad. Wear them in the shower, rinse them off and you'll wash away most of the smell. Then take them off, wring them out and finish cleaning up.

Hang the wet clothes up to dry. If they weren't too bad, you can wear them for one more run the next day before putting them in the laundry. If they need to be cleaned, at least now they won't stink up the room before you get them in the washing machine. 

Use tennis balls to massage your feet after a run. Put them under your feet and roll them around to relax the muscles. For added comfort, store the balls in a freezer so they cool your feet down as you use them.

Simple ideas for you to try yourself and share with friends, before your next race.

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