Sooner Rather Than Later: Lesson #6 From Adelaide 2019
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it’s so much smarter to take action on blisters sooner rather than later. In particular, at the hot-spot stage, rather than waiting until blisters are in a bad state.
The value of this was never more evident than in Adelaide in 2019 at the 6 Day Ultramarathon. In fact, it was THE biggest difference between 2018 and 2019, from a blister standpoint.
Far less blister popping
More people came to see me earlier rather than later. And even the blisters I did see, more of them were coming to me in their early stages when the roof was intact and there was minimal blister fluid. We lanced far fewer blisters in 2019 than we did 2018.
This makes it so much easier for me to have a significant impact on the blister – to stop it from getting worse, stop it from hurting and to help the healing process start in spite of the ongoing workload on the feet.
Anyone can put a bandaid on a blister
This is the reason I take 10 days off work to attend an event like this. I’m not interested in volunteering my time to put bandaids on blisters and watch runners continue to struggle around the course. Anyone can do that. I’m there to show people that blister prevention is possible, and so is meaningful blister treatment.
This starts before the race – weeks before the race – with a little bit of education. Thanks go to Ben, Michelle and Mark for helping me get that bit of education into the email inboxes of competitors. It’s because of this that blisters played a far lesser part in the performances of most runners.
That little bit of education revolved around:
- What causes blisters (the video below is so important to watch)
- How to predict where you’ll get blisters in this race
- The absolute necessity of choosing the right prevention for each blister location
- The basics of blister treatment and infection prevention
With a new appreciation of what actually causes blisters, the understanding that you already know the worst blister you’re going to get, an insight into blister prevention products, techniques and strategies you didn’t even know existed (or how to use them properly), and all of a sudden, runners actually think…
“Maybe I don’t have to put up with blister pain”
“Maybe if I pop up and see the blister lady she might actually be able to help me”
“Maybe I should do x, y, z before I even start this race”
A change in mindset
This improvement in competitor mindset in 2019 compared to 2018 warmed my heart and reaffirmed that helping people with effective blister prevention and treatment is a worthwhile endeavour.
If I had one piece of advice to take this even further in 2020, it would be to go further in your pre-race preparation. The blisters you’ve had before (in this race or in others) are the ones you must EXPECT. So have your preventions in place when the race starts. That will take them out of the equation. And we can manage the ones that come as a surprise – the ones you’ve never had before and therefore never expected – sooner rather than later.
Look forward to seeing everyone in Adelaide in 2020!