Last Updated on January 22, 2022 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP
Thank you Rohto Dry-Aid for sponsoring this post.
Growing up, we always joked that my father approached camping and outdoor adventures with the Boy Scout motto: always be prepared. He had tool boxes and bags, tupperware containers and zippered kits, full of absolutely everything and anything you could possibly need out in the wild. From bandages for torn knee, to waterproof matches to start a fire, to a collapsible frying pan for emergency grilled cheese sandwiches…he had it all. And in my own world of adventure as an adult, I’ve definitely followed suit.
I try to be prepared for EVERYTHING.
When it comes to long distance running and the toolbox of self care items necessary to keep you going, everyone always immediately first thinks of blister care. It makes sense, of course: a blister or wild case of trench-foot can absolutely ruin a perfectly good race. But what about all of the other maladies that can occur over the course of a race, leaving you anywhere from mildly uncomfortable to downright miserable?
Here’s a glimpse into what has become known as my “Feel Better Stuff” box, a small box that can easily be transported by a crew or left at a transition area of any race.
Let’s talk about how funky you get during the course of 31, 50, or even 100 miles. You will most certainly get downright FILTHY, and let’s be real: showering mid race isn’t an option. So instead I reach for the occasional cleansing wipe. Best of all, they are multi-purpose. Sure, priority one is to make you feel a little fresher, but they also come in handy for:
- Wiping spilled GU or watermelon juice off your arm
- Cleaning your feet before reapplying blister prevention cream
- Cleaning the skin to prepare for kinesio-tape application
You get the idea. From store brand baby wipes, to sport specific wipes, you won’t regret throwing these in your “feel good” box.
2. Eye Drops
Dry, itchy eyes can be a giant pain in the…cornea. But anything from dust kicked up on a dry trail, to pollen, to excessive wind can cause mild irritation and dry eyes. I keep an easy to use dropper of Rohto Dry-Aid in my “Feel Better Box”. Rohto Dry-Aid helps give relief to 5 dry eye symptoms, including irritation, grittiness, burning, stinging, and of course, dryness. Rohto Dry-Aid contains a unique formula that cools and soothes burning, stinging eyes instantly and offers consistent and continuous dry eye relief, comfort, and protection throughout the day so you don’t have to continually reapply. Best part? It brings fast-acting, long-lasting relief.
(According to Optometrist Dr. Susan Resnick, it is important to talk to your Eye Care Professional about any questions or concerns you have about your condition and treatment. Learn more about using eye drops by clicking HERE)
In a world full of creams, glides, and spray on blister prevention, I think people often forget the power of a good anti friction powder. But the benefits of powder go beyond making sure you don’t get a gnarly case of hydration pack chafe: powders help keep you dry. I personally always sprinkle powder on my feet AFTER applying my regular blister prevention. It helps keep my feet dry from sweat as well as the occasional puddle splash.
4. Bug/Plant Itch Relief
Nothing is worse than an unexpected mosquito bite that leaves you scratching. It can be so incredibly distracting and obnoxious. Even the best bug spray can fail, and when it does, you’ll be glad you had some sort of topical, cooling skin relief.
5. Lip Balm
Sun protection? Check. Relief from windblown chapped lips? Check. A nice flavor that will distract you from the pain in your legs at mile 85? Check.
I always keep a backup, smaller sized sunscreen in my “feel better box”. Ideally sunscreen is applied before a race, and reapplied throughout the race. As a fair skinned, genetically prone to skin cancer runner, I like to have a”just in case” back up supply handy, just incase.
When running, especially when running longer distances, sometimes the gastrointestinal system has a mind of its own. Nausea can cause you to want to stop eating…and the second you stop eating, it’s pretty much game over. Calories are necessary to continue running for hours on end, so I like to have antacids to help calm an angry stomach, if it arises.
8. Topical Muscle Rub
Some sort of muscle rub is absolutely essential in my “feel better” box. Biofreeze is my favorite, as it not only calms angry muscles and joints, but gives immediately cooling relief, a bonus on a hot day.
Your turn…what sort of personal items do you keep on hand during an ultra? What would you add into your toolbox?
Visit the Rohto website here for a $2 off coupon so you can try them for yourself!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.