ruben                                              Ruben on a recent hiking trip to Lees Valley


*Blog entry* by Ruben Witteman



I am not the best runner, and until early this year I wasn’t really a runner at all. Over the years I would try to get “into” running, only to give it up again a month or so later when I got busy.

But with my colleges and I at the CDHB committing to a 100-day exercise challenge I decided this was my chance to give it a proper crack.

Like anything I started small. Making use of an app I discovered called Couch to 5k. It starts out by walking a bit, running some more and over roughly 8 weeks it gets you to running 5kms.

Already I’m running 7kms, and if I stay on task I’d be running about 13kms by March 19, just in time for the City2Surf. So when my boss heard this he suggested I might like to challenge myself and make the 14km City2 Surf a goal.

So for the next 6 weeks I’m going to have to kick my training up a little each week to be able to complete it. My training aim is to run 3-4 times a week. And to be running an extra kilometre by the end of each week. Which should mean I hit my target.

I have no idea if this is an achievable goal, however I figure its only about an extra 250-300 meters per run. If you have any tips, please send them my way!

I may have to make a few adjustments to where I run too, right now I’m running through a forest which is nice on my ankles and knees. However, I recently ran a 5km fun run on paved ground through Hagley Park and I definitely noticed the difference by the end of it. I hope suddenly switching from soft footing to paved ground won’t affect my training goal too much…. See you at the start line.


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Sick of losing your toenails on those long runs?


The heel lock lacing system has been around for a while. It is one of the best ways to prevent the toes getting beaten up and colliding with the front of the shoe. What the heel lock system does is to restrict forward movement of the foot as well as acting to support the rear-foot more. Its also a good remedy for those runners with blisters on the back of their heels as it prevents heel slippage.

Its very simple to do and once mastered its yet another tool in the runners injury prevention toolbox. You will need to experiment with the tension that is applied as it is often applied too tight to begin with and believe me – this lacing method doesn’t loosen off.

Check out the images below or look at the video clip on how the heel lock lacing system is applied.




Still have questions around injury prevention? visit the team at Sportsmed 



Hard to believe that something so small and innocuous can bring a runner to a complete standstill.

Blisters are still one of the most debilitating condition’s that a runner can develop and have been identified as the most common complaint of marathon runners. They are formed as a result of friction causing increased shear forces which in turn causes delaminating of the epidermal (skin) layers.  These separated “pockets” of skin can then fill with tissue fluid or blood making them extremely painful.

There are several common sites for blistering being on the back of the heels, ends of the toes and and under the balls of the feet. Sometimes low arched runners can develop blisters in their arches where they rub on the insole of the shoe.

These regions are usually the areas that will have the most potential for shear movement.  Footwear and hosiery therefore will have a significant role in both the development and the prevention of blisters.

Other factors however that will contribute to the formation of blisters include excessive heat and moisture with damp skin being far more susceptible to blistering.

So how do you prevent blisters from developing?

Start with your shoes! Make sure they are a good fit for your foot. When purchasing new athletic footwear make sure they are an adequate length. The thumbs width space at the end of your shoe is a reasonably accurate recommendation. Your first downhill run will tell you if your shoes are too small!

Many shoes are now offered in multiple widths so you can have a far more precise fitting option.  A shoe with a stiff mid-sole sole wont flex easily and there may be the potential for heel slippage until the shoe is broken in. Thankfully there are few running shoes that are stiff like this. There are some simple lacing options to reduce heel slippage with the “heel lock” lacing being the best to reduce heel slippage and it will also reduce forward movement of the foot in the shoe.

Suggestions for preventing blisters also include wearing moisture wicking socks, applying drying powder or other topical antiperspirants to condition the skin more. Socks are very high tech now so there are some excellent options in terms of double layer synthetic fabrics with moisture wicking properties. Cotton socks are generally a no go for longer runs as they absorb sweat and can easily wrinkle.

Going barefoot, salt water soaks, or applying surgical spirits to promoting the hardening of the skin can also be worth doing.

A hot spot is the first sign of a blister so using “Vaseline”, “Footglide” or “Hikers wool” can be a simple preventative strategy. Hikers wool is placed inside the sock over the painful area and reduces shear forces.  If the damage is done and a small blister has started then cushioning gel layers such as “Compeed”, “Spenco Second Skin” or “Band Aid Blister Cushions” can be applied before your next run.

Painful blisters can be drained quite simply with a sterile needle. When performing this stay near the blister edge and maintain the skin on top of the blister. This loose skin will keep it protected. Usually several needle holes are required to drain properly. Remember to use antiseptic and a sterile dressing to promote rapid healing.

Sportsmed Podiatry


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