Top 6 Long Distance Racing Nuisances

Posted on 29 July 2011

There are many muscle pains and fatigue that occur with long multi-day distance endurance races; however be aware and prepare yourself for the various minor nuisances that can be a nagging pain throughout the event.   These issues will not stop your from finishing the event compared to a major injury but as I have experienced they seem to pop up all the time in long races (especially events lasting over 24 hours).   I have experienced many of these in ultra-distance triathlons (Double Ironman to DECA Ironman distances).

Here are my top 6 Nuisances:

Sore Wrists while cycling – For many long events that require 200+ miles on the bike it’s difficult to stay in the aero position the entire time so resting the hands on the top of the aero bars can make the wrists very sore.   Make sure you wear high quality, well-padded cycling gloves and continuously move your hands into different positions.

Numbness on the tips of the fingers – This occurs with long rides when the blood flow is restricted because of the downward flow of blood with the hands on the bars.  This is a very strange feeling and common among all athletes in the DECA Ironman race.  It took several months for this strange feeling to go away.

Saddle Sores – Can be frustrating and painful.   It’s very important to make sure your cycling shorts are fitting properly.  There should not be any bunching or seam issues which can occur with poorly constructed cycling shorts.  Don’t buy cheap shorts and consider using cycling bibs for more comfort.  Also, apply standard anti-friction ointments for the very long rides.

Numbness on the mid-foot area caused by running – This is a tough one and can take months for recovery.  The continuous pounding on pavement for multiple days cause a lack of feeling if your a mid-foot striker.   Make sure you select a well cushioned shoe and don’t worry too much about having the lightest weight running shoes.

Sunburn - Common sense, apply sunscreen.  A few years ago I noticed many athletes in Europe completely coating (white paste) all exposed arms, face with sunscreen in a hot race.    Yes, it’ looks a bit funny but it’s highly effective.

Hot spots on feet while cycling – This can occur with using a small pedal (Speedplay) on the ball of the foot.   Continuously, move toes and feet to eliminate the hot spots and consider adding a cushioned insert into the cycling shoe.  Also, a larger flat plate pedal might be more comfortable.

Prepare ahead of time on how to deal with the common nuisances of racing!

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