Daan Coenen – Ultra Trail Runner

How to not get blisters while running?

We’ve all experienced it, blisters during running. It sucks and can even end your race in a worst-case scenario. As a long-distance runner, I have experimented with a lot with different methods. The best I will tell you in this blog.

“My feet were burning”

Yep, they were! This is a quote from me during one of my first ultra marathons. The soles of my feet felt like they were peeling off, this was luckily not really the case. What happened was the friction of the sock in my trail running shoes that caused the burning feeling on the bottom of my foot. I was wearing technical socks back then from a big running brand that I bought in some outlet. This was not the best option, looking back. It got rainy that day and was happy because of the wet feet I got that cooled the burning down. Now, wet feet are absolutely not a good idea to heal or get rid of blisters. That is also the other reason why my feet felt like that during that race. The moisture from my feet wasn’t being transferred the right way.

Looking back, the solution was not only new socks but also getting a new foot care routine.

1000 pairs of socks

After that race, I went to look for other socks, this time with some padding that protect my feet a little more. I did not really buy 1000 pairs of socks, but it did feel like that, socks are not cheap and definitely not when you don’t genuinely like them after a while.

I ended up at a brand that only produces socks, a good sign right? These socks had little pockets for my toes. Worn by some pro ultra distance runners. So, I bought them! Great socks, but I didn’t really get the toes part. I only found out that it was beneficial for runners who often got blisters on their toes. That’s not me!

Then I switched back to normal running socks and eventually got some merino wool mixed socks that felt really nice. But also here, my feet just didn’t feel much better in these. It was an improvement, but just not that much. What was there left to do for me, to fix my feet?

Lemons and crème

Then I came across this article of the utmb guide to not getting blisters. This article describes how you should apply lemon and ant shafing crème some period before a race. I tried this and this is the real hack!

It’s not about the types of socks (to some degree). It is about how your body responds to you running a long distance. You need to repair your skin for this effort instead of breaking the bank on expensive running socks.

How to prepare your feet:

Before the Race:
To prep your feet for the challenges of running an ultra-trail in the mountains, dealing with damp conditions and repeated shocks, I recommend incorporating an anti-chafing cream into your pre-race skincare routine.

Days -20 to -10:
In the mornings, treat your feet to a gentle rub with lemon juice, followed by an evening massage with moisturizing cream. This regimen will fortify your feet without drying out your skin.

Days -10 to -1:
Apply our anti-chafing cream to your feet daily during this period, ideally before bedtime. After applying, make sure to thoroughly massage the cream into your skin, covering every inch from toe tips to heels, ensuring no area is left untouched.

Race Day:
Approximately one hour before the race begins, generously massage your feet with the anti-chafing cream. Pay special attention to the arches of your feet. Do this before donning your running socks.

During the Race:
Depending on your condition and needs, consider changing your socks and shoes during the race to rejuvenate your feet and regain comfort. Before switching to dry socks, apply a fresh layer of anti-chafing cream generously.

What crème?

Let’s be clear, you don’t need an expensive running crème to do this. I have used the decathlon one a few times now and haven’t had any problems. This is super personal, so just try it out for yourself. That’s with most things in running :).