Are you the type of gal who loves getting your hair done? Excited about that wedding/birthday or special event coming up and can’t wait to put the final touches on your style by getting a hot and sexy pedicure? As women, we’ve all been there, primping and prepping, grooming our beautiful selves for an exciting event or maybe to simply polish up our everyday look.
You’re a hardcore runner!
You’ve got windblown, flat and deflated hair from that marathon – not to mention the damage all that training did to your mane. You’ve also got calluses, rashes and bunions from your last cross training session, rendering your feet too unsightly and painful to wear a pair of cute sandals or open toe shoes that expose your tootsies!
And when it comes to our mentality as female runners, we have to be on the lookout for shady individuals who lurk dangerously in the recesses of our local parks and trails. Sometimes, instead of focusing on our breathing, foot coordination and mileage, we’re distracted by someone who’s trying to harass us! That’s no way to enjoy a run!
Of course, men reading this can’t particularly relate to the sometimes “superficial” and safety aspects of being a runner who needs to pay attention to their personal habits when they hit the pavement. Even though many male runners are concerned with primping and grooming habits – and safety precautions – they typically don’t come across the challenges that their counterparts face.
What are some of the aspects and anxieties that women have to deal with that separates us from the male species when it comes to our running lives? Some differences may seem more obvious and “on the surface” than others.
Consider the fact that women have to wear adequate support for their chest on different runs. We’re always purchasing new sports bras, new running shirts and we oftentimes have to pair our underwear with the type of running pants we’re sporting for specific runs – not to mention when it’s that time of the month and we have to make the proper accommodations for a big marathon which happens to fall on a day when we’re not prepared.
It’s not all about the struggle of having healthy hair and feet -but we have to keep trekking and training no matter what challenges we face!
The Safety Factor
One of the obvious things that separates male from female runners is being safe and staying out of danger while hitting the trail. We can live in the safest communities in the world and we still need to be precautions when we go out for an evening or early morning run.
Women can face a number of safety hazards while running, including being approached by a stranger who could potentially attack or assault us – no matter what time of day it is.
The New York Daily News offered some insight into this scary reality in a 2018 report entitled: “Women Facing A Fear Of Jogging” in which they quote Runner’s World Magazine’s statistics that: “43 percent of female runners have been harassed, compared with just 4 percent of men.”
Street harassment and having to be alert definitely take away from the joys of being a runner, but women are advised to run with groups or in brightly lit areas when the sun’s gone down – or hasn’t yet come up. Experts also recommend running in different paths, against traffic so that cars can see you, and make note of all the emergency call boxes in your park on along the running path in case you need them.
Those who really want to be equipped with safety gear – and aren’t able to run with others – can carry mace in the pockets of their running pants. Making sure you can easily access anything that will help you ward off attackers is a minor inconvenience if you’re irked at having to carry things with you on your run, but it could potentially save your life.
And now for some of the lighter annoyances we deal with as female runners – like our hair!
One of the gripes I have when it comes to my hair regimens is having to wash my long locks – constantly! Sure, male runners who sport long hair and bunch their mane in a ponytail/bun can probably relate to the cleanliness issue, but women are more particular and prone to worrying about hair damage and using the proper products after a sweaty session on the road.
To Shampoo Or Not To Shampoo:
Some experts say women (including those who don’t run) shouldn’t wash their hair every day to avoid over drying the scalp and depleting their hair of natural oils, as doing so can cause the hair follicles to dehydrate.
If you’ve never tried a dry-shampoo after your run or workout, now’s the time to give a whirl! You should also use a deep conditioner and moisturizer when you do give your hair that special post-running treatment.
Another way you can try to save your hair is to wear headbands and bandannas that will absorb sweat as you’re running so you don’t have to necessarily – or unnecessarily – wash your hair later on. If you’ve gone on a really long run outside, however, and ran in the dirt, dust and wind, it may be unavoidable to have to wash your hair.
This also may seem like a tedious task, but mark down how often you wash your hair when you’re running and try to line up your “hair washing regimen” with your running schedule. If you can, coincide your hair routine with the days that you run so you’ll be tending to your mane out of necessity and on the same day as your hair washing cycle.
Don’t Tear The Hair:
One of the ways you can save your hair from breakage during a run is to wear non-abrasive hairbands. You definitely want to keep hair out of your face while you’re running and scrunchies are the perfect solution, but you could be tearing and breaking strands of hair if you use the wrong accessories to keep up those ponytails.
Many pharmacies and hair supply shops carry smooth, tear-free bands and clips that won’t rip your hair from your head as you remove them when you finish your run.
Another big DON’T is to pull your hair too tightly back into a bun or ponytail when you go running. You may want to keep the band loose enough so that you create more of a casual “wave” with your hair when you remove it after your run instead of a tight crimped effect that will have to be washed to get back to normal shape.
Great Running Feats Vs. Great Running Feet
If you’re one of the millions of women who love getting pedicures and keeping your toes looking beautiful, ‘dainty’ and well groomed, being a runner can take a toll on the pampering process.
Some of us love to get spa pedicures and paint our toenails – especially when it’s hot out or we have a special occasion to attend where we’ll be sporting sexy strappy heels or sandals.
How does running impact the condition of your beautiful feet? Many of you who have demolished marathons, 100 mile races, cross-trained, ran tumultuous trails and killed hard core mountain treks, may know the damage that moisture, prolonged friction and extensive foot pounding can wreak on your feet. You can mitigate at least some of these damaging effects by wearing the proper gear–like our socks for example, which you can check out below.
Every runner can get blisters, bunions, ingrown toenails, inflammation and discoloration. But when you’re a female runner who pines to have cute feet with manicured nails for that special party coming up – and you just ran a race that resulted in losing one of your toenails – it’s not the sexiest thing in the world!
Plan Those Runs With ‘Special Occasions’ In Mind:
It’s hard to tell a female runner not to go on that long distance trek a day or two before a wedding in case a foot ailment prevents her from wearing stilettos, pumps or open toe shoes that expose her running injuries!
But, if you can, keep your toes in mind when you’re going on a long run that might coincide with the weekend you plan to show off your feet in a sleek pair of pumps. Depending on your foot nightmares and the type of shoes you’re going to wear to that party/celebration, making sure you wear the right type of shoes and socks when you run will help prevent problems along the way!
If you’re getting a pedicure from a professional technician at a salon, you might want to advise them that your running feet have been through a lot! Harsh pumice stones, metal foot buffers and callus stones may exacerbate whatever your feet have been through while you were running. Be extra careful if you’re a long distance runner who already has damaged feet and nails – nail technicians tend to use cuticle clippers and and nail files that can impact the comfort of your toes, causing your next run to be painful or awkward! Make sure that when you get that pedicure, the salon specialists doesn’t traumatize your feet with instruments that can do more harm than good!
Of course, there are always ballet flat women can wear that compliment our style, but preventing foot problems can be as easy as having a simple pedicure, wearing the right sneakers and moisture wicking socks. You may even change your socks in the middle of a long/wet/cold run so that your feet aren’t suffering in the same damp conditions for too many hours, rendering them painful on the day you need to show them off.
The Vicious Cycle of Mother Nature vs. Running
Let’s get real – men never have to worry that a “monthly menstrual cycle” will get in the way of planning a long run, race or training. As a woman, it’s inconvenient when the day of a competition arrives – and so does your period! Total bummer!
There are two main populations of women when it comes to running and menstruating. One side is comprised of women who actually benefit from running as their cycles approaches due to increased blood circulation and muscle movements.
Some women believe the myth that they should stop training or not train as intensely while they’re on their periods. Experts say that regular/routine running and exercise actually reduce PMS and period symptoms such as bloating, cramping and back pain. Sometimes being called a “natural pain killer”, running can help ease symptoms over time with a healthy diet.
Then there’s the other half of the female population who can’t even envision themselves going on a power walk without abdominal cramps and other pains getting in the way of them being active. It could be annoying and even more painful to trek a couple of miles when you’re in pain and some days are heavier than others. Listening to your body is key to knowing when it’s okay to run and when to give it a rest. And it’s okay to do either one!
Prepare Your Body For The Road:
For women who are able to – or want to try – running while they’re on their period, make sure you know that wherever you’re running, you’ll have access to a restroom. Once you establish how many miles you plan on running and how your cycle affects the mileage your body can cover, running can be a breeze!
It might go without say to bring enough hygiene products with you, as longer runs may require more supplies. For overall sanitary purposes, you don’t want to be killing that half marathon and later on find that you should have brought more hygiene supplies with you for after the race. With sweat and friction being unavoidable during a race, some unsavory results can await you if you don’t keep things clean!
It’s also highly advised to drink more water when you run while you’re on your period, staying hydrated and flushing out toxins is super important for runners and non-runners.
No matter which side you take when it comes to running when Mother Nature is taking her course, stay clean, stay hydrated and you’ll be able to face those miles with no problems!
More Bras And Underwear For Running Than We Can Count!
Men have a slight advantage when it comes to finding running gear. T-shirt, check…underwear/boxers or briefs check..running shorts/pants, check…socks and sneakers – double check!
Female runners often find themselves testing out – and getting rid of – possibly hundreds of sports bras and supportive tops to make each type of run easier. While it’s fun to pair our sports bras with whatever else we’re wearing when we go for a run, we have to contend with finding the right support for the right distance, as some sports bras don’t absorb as much sweat as others and some provide better support for gym workouts as opposed to running.
We might discover that our favorite years-old sports bra has become worn out or the padding has bunched up from numerous washings and twists and turns we’ve put them through on hundreds of runs. So what’s the solution?
Finding Running Friendly Support:
This will take some time – and a lot of trial and error!
When shopping for a sports bra and actually trying it out on your runs, make sure the support, material and design meet your running needs! If you’re only covering a 5K or less, you may get by with a thin or lightly padded sports bra, also depending on the size you need to get you through the run.
Longer runs may require a heavier sports bra with more sweat absorbing materials that have different closures, straps and wiring – or maybe no wiring! When you visit your preferred sports shop for a running bra, purchasing one that’s too skin-tight can cause awful chafing and rashes. It may seem obvious that not all sports bras are created equal! Cheaper sports bras may deteriorate in the wash, subsequently impacting the support it provides.
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on sports bras, but choosing ones that accommodate long runs, short runs and gym sessions will help you get through each work out.
It’s What’s ‘Under There’ That Counts!:
Women have underwear for everything! There’s no doubt that women have their go-to underwear for running. Why do we need certain “runderwear”? It may seem too selective, but no woman wants to be in the middle of a run and feel material bunching all of a sudden – and we certainly don’t want our dedicates to get twisted with our running pants!
Yes, underwear does count when it comes to running! That’s why we want to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.
Finding a breathable pair of underwear to coordinate with the right running pants will make it more enjoyable and easier to run because you’re not stopping to adjust your wardrobe and nothing is infringing on your mileage.
What’s a foolproof way to pick out running underwear?
Purchase one pair of each kind that you think will withstand a long run. No matter what style or material they are, make sure you feel comfortable and that you can move fluidly in them – and that there’s no tangling or twisting as you run. Some runs may call for different underwear, so test each style before committing to wearing it for that upcoming marathon or trail race. You’ll be surprised what a difference quality underwear makes when it comes to your running stride and comfortability!
Regardless of all of the things female runners have to face, we can still give running everything we’ve got and put in just as many miles on the road as men! So go on ladies – get your gear ready and hit the pavement!
- Women’s Health Mag, 5 Hair Mistakes Fit Women are More Likely to Make
- NY Daily News, Women’s Fears of Sexual Attacks While Running Are Real
- Time, Majority of Female Joggers Experience Harassment While Running
- Runners World, The Grossest Runners’ Feet You’ve Ever Seen
- Women’s Running, 5 Expert Tips