During the NDC I didn’t have one blister. There is no doubt in my mind that this is because of the preparation that I put in before the event, and every morning before the run. There were quite a few participants who did get blisters, some of them pretty bad ones, and I observed how this was dealt with differently by them. On the one hand there were those who did the necessary work to treat the blister, deal with the pain, and prepare for the next day’s run knowing that their blisters would be painful, which they shrugged off and got on with it. On the other hand there were one or two whose blisters were quite bad, but less severe than those of other runners, and they dropped out of the race being unable to continue due to their blisters.
How is that one runner can continue and another cannot when both are suffering from the same issue? I suppose you could add in the possibility of a lower pain threshold, but again I have no doubt that this is because of one’s mental state and preparedness.
When I ran across Africa I ran “in effect” a marathon every day for 3 months. I would run for 6 days in a row and then have a rest day on the 7th day. To this I added the treat of having a double rest day whenever I reached the 1,000 km mark – I ran 2,600 km. What is interesting is that having a rest day was problematic and undesirable physically. The day after a rest day was horrible and full of aches and pains whilst getting back into the routine of long distance running. The primary, and absolutely necessary, reason for the rest day was a mental one. Mentally it works wonders to know that at some point in the future, soon, this discomfort and suffering is coming to an end even if only briefly. And as the run progressed through the months this mental relief became necessary at more frequent intervals, even if only for a very brief time. I planned my daily run as follows:
- Walk the first 2 km to warm up (it was freezing cold at 07h00 every morning, literally)
- Run for the next hour uninterrupted
- Walk whilst consuming a third of a small bottle of food replacement substance (Hammer Nutrition’s Perpetuem) some water, and a few jelly babies
- Run for 30 min
- Walk whilst consuming another third of a bottle of Perpetuem, and some water
- Continue this process every half an hour – when the going got tough I would reduce the short walk to every 20 minutes and not always drink the Perpetuem.
- My walking distance would be from a specific tree or bush or log that was lying at the side of the road to another point in the distance that I could already see, not too far. I never, ever, not once in my entire life have ever stopped running before the starting point that I have chosen to start walking. I also never started running again after the end point that I have chosen for my walking stretch. Important!
- The support vehicle would be at roughly the 25 km mark where I could replenish water, and drink some Recoverite (Hammer Nutrition). This point was a stopping, sitting and rest point for about 10 min, which I eventually realised didn’t work for me and I changed to simply standing whilst doing the drinking and replenishment, and then continuing after only a brief stop.
- Then I continued my routine of walking for a short way every 20 or 30 min, depending upon how hard the day had been, and continued with another few doses of Perpetuem.
- The support vehicle would be at roughly two or three km from the end point, depending upon either the distance that it had been decided to run that day, or the most available and suitable camping spot. From this point forward I would walk the last few km to loosen up and stretch.