Endurance Runners: Ailments and Treatments

December 17, 2014

I live on a small island. It seems like every weekend there is a running event for charity going on here.  I can’t even recall the last time I saw an event being advertised as “just” a 5K.  Not that I am complaining.  Quite the contrary.  I love to see the hoards of people running for something in which they believe.  I really admire endurance athletes.  I think endurance runners are some of the most physically fit people around.  Seeing masses of healthy people always makes me happy, because those people realize how important it is to take care of their bodies.  There is a shortage of healthful people in this world.  And although I would like to blame Monsanto (aka Obama’s Food Tzar) and all those evil boxed-food companies, I can’t.  At no point while you grocery shop is someone holding a gun to your head and telling you to buy those Cheezits, or that case of Diet Pepsi. People have just bought into the hype that because the box says “diet” it’s good for you or because the box says “whole grain” it’s good for you.  No one reads the ingredients of a twinkie and says: “Mmmm, this jet fuel is so tasty.” But I am getting off topic.  My purpose for this blog is to talk about endurance runners and the many aches and pains that they endure and the treatments that have been working for those ailments.

My family has some decent runners.  When I really want to, I can run just like the rest of them.  But I usually prefer to ride my bike all around this quaint island.  Besides, I don’t want to show them up, it’s just not my style.  More often than not, even the healthiest of runners gets jarred by shin splints, muscle spasms, or the most ghastly: Plantar Fasciitis.  It hasn’t anything to do with nutrition, believe it or not.  It is just a common side effect to being awesomely fit.  So here are some of the ailments endurance runners face and the best treatments I can find.

Extremely sore muscles: (sometimes referred to as niggles)

R.I.C.E.= Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. (please note that ice should be used for the first 72 hours of the injury. Heat will inflame the blood vessel walls therefore causing more damage.)



To drain or not to drain, that is the question. If your blister is small, leave it alone, it’s Mother Nature’s band-aid.  However,  if you find that it is bothersome, drain it with a sterile pin and let it get as much air as possible.  Keep it CLEAN.  Make sure  you wear moisture-wicking socks and apply vaseline to prevent those blisters next time.



If they hurt, get them removed. You can do this at home if you have a pumice stone.  If you don’t then I would suggest getting them removed professionally.  The foot biomechanics play a huge role in callouses.  It seems that over-pronators have the worst luck with callouses.


Athlete’s Foot:

I am a HUGE advocate for natural and homeopathic remedies.  If you have athletes foot, the best way to cure it is by mixing a concoction of Goldenseal powder (which is anti-bacterial) essential oils and coconut oil.  Avoid getting Athlete’s Foot by changing your socks regularly, and letting them air as much as possible.  Here is the recipe for the cream:  Two tablespoons organic unprocessed virgin coconut oil, two teaspoons Goldenseal powder,  three to four drops of Eucalyptus essential oil.  Melt coconut oil in microwave (Use GLASS only), just until liquified, add rest of ingredients, mix and place in refrigerator to solidify.  Apply to infected feet and toes three to four times a day.



Iron deficiency is common in endurance runners, especially females. Running can actually break down red blood cells as the foot strikes the ground. If you are feeling ‘washed-out’ or ‘lack lustre’ it may be wise to see your GP for a blood test. The doctor will want to check your hematocrit level. This is the ratio of red blood cell volume to total blood volume. As a runner you should have a high haematocrit level as the oxygen carrying red blood cells are essential to you performance. Make sure you tell the doctor that you are and endurance runner. It can take a long time to recover from anaemia so, if you think you may be short of iron, start eating more leafy greens.  It is also beneficial for you to cook things in a cast iron skillet.  Look into a live supplement like Green Vibrance instead of a multi-vitamin.


Shin Splints:

Stop running.  Ice your shins at the first notice of these pesky strains.  Massage Arnica gel into your shins daily.  In a sitting position, trace the letters of the alphabet with your toes.  This will stretch your shins in just the right areas.


Plantar Fasciitis:

This video will fix you, IF you do exactly as it shows you.

Let me know what other ailments I’ve missed and how these treatments seem to help all of you endurance runners.  Happy Running!!


-Collette Gray

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