MacGyver Would Have Made a Great Distance Runner

Courtesy of Celebremix

Courtesy of Celebremix


For all you young’uns out there, MacGyver was a 1980’s action-adventure TV character who was known for his ability to craft anything out of anything to solve his problems. As Wikipedia says, “Resourceful and possessed of an encyclopedic knowledge of the physical sciences, he solves complex problems with everyday materials he finds at hand, along with his ever-present duct tape and Swiss Army knife.” The Urban Dictionary defines a macgyver as “someone who can jump start a truck with a cactus.”

You get the picture.

I love tapping into my inner MacGyver and remember one vacation where we realized that our 8 month old needed his mobile (left at home, of course) to fall asleep, so I Macgyver’ed one out of a ceiling fan, a belt, a coat hanger and some stuffed animals.

Of course, that was my first kid. If it were my 3rd, I would have tossed “Go the F*ck to Sleep” at him and left the room. But I digress.

Distance runners channel their inner MacGyvers a lot. In fact, the first sports bra was actually 2 jock straps sewn together by Lisa Lindahl, Polly Smith, and Hinda Schreiber in 1977. Thus was born the “JogBra.” True Fact. Store it away in case you’re ever on Jeopardy.

If you look around any race, you’ll see all sorts of creative ways runners try to keep hair back, keep injuries at bay, avoid chafing, prevent blisters, stay hydrated…you name a runner’s ailment and someone, somewhere has figured out a creative way to address it.

When I complained about my painful callouses on my toes, my triathlete friend Laurie showed me this super-special way she laces her sneaks so that her feet stay firmly in place but her toes have plenty of room to move around. She competed in the Ironman World Championships, so she knows blisters and callouses. And when she hands out advice, I take copious notes. And pictures.

Laced up sneaks - Laurie Style

Laced up sneaks – Laurie Style

I haven’t tried it yet and my change in running shoes is doing the trick so far, but I have a feeling I’ll be lacing up “Laurie Style” by the time the real heat of the summer sets in.

My big find last week were the Band Aid Blister bandages. No, not for blisters. MacGyver wouldn’t use them for blisters. Too obvious. Last week I discovered that they work beautifully for those adorable love bites that sports bras leave in hot & sticky weather.

After the Heartbreak Hill half, the band on my sports bra attacked the skin on my back to the point where it was bleeding. Thanks to the heat & humidity, I think the Glide I applied melted off before we even started the race. So I finished a killer half and my quads, hamstrings, calves and even feet felt fine. Great, even. But I needed to take recovery days because there was no way I could get a sports bra on without popping a Vicodin first. Ridiculous.

By Wednesday, I was itchy to run again, so covered the wound with a non-stick steri pad with a bandaid over it. No good. It was rainy and the water soaked through the bandaid and steri pad, leaving me YELPING by the end of my run.

Thursday I was a little gun shy about running again, but then noticed my box of Bandaid Blister pads left over from a battle I lost with a pair of borrowed boots in our March Snowshoe Race. Threw one over the wound and headed out for another rainy run. Worked like a charm! The sticky part of those bandaids forms a seal, so no moisture gets in to the wound. Plus, they are padded and filled with a gel that protects against pressure discomfort. Finally, you can leave them on for days, to let the wound heal underneath while you keep it dry and protected. Love them and am buying more boxes. Can’t wait to see what else they are good for.

What are your MacGyver running tips?

And for the love of God, does anyone have a sports bra that doesn’t bite in humid weather?


39 thoughts on “MacGyver Would Have Made a Great Distance Runner

  1. I was hoping you could help me in the Sports Bras That Don’t Bite Department. {Sigh.}. All I know is that there isn’t enough glide on the planet to slather ourselves in for Sunday’s Half Marathon. Good grief. We are doomed. Nice use of the Blister Bandaid!!!!

  2. I use 3M first aid tape to avoid blister and black toe nails. I wrap about 2″ around my problem toe, instaed of using a band-aid. The tape stays in place and peels off easily after a race.
    Maybe some sports tape on the spots where the sports bra dig into your skin. You can find it in the 1st aid isle of your local drug store.

  3. I LOVE the target seemless C9 bras. They are cheap, don’t chafe, and are super comfy. Go for the wide strap ones. I still put some body glide on in general when I am running longer distances in the summer, but they are definitely my go toes.

  4. I love this post! And it’s so true about runners being creative! I’ll use deodorant in place of body glide sometimes, and I’ll tie my keys into my shoes if I don’t have a pocket…. I’m not very creative!

    • Don’t sell yourself short – tying up the keys is creative. When I don’t have pockets, I put them on a binder clip and clip to my waistband or my shoelaces. I lvoe binder clips and believe I can fix anything with a binder clip and some duct tape.

  5. We were 7 miles into a 12 mile run when the chaffing on my back caused by my hydration pack became too much to handle (I stupidly wore a shirt with a fancy back cut-out). Luckily, my husband had his snot bandanna (THANKFULLY unused, but I may have been desperate enough to use it regardless), and we were able to make a make-shift cover-up for the cut-out. To shower later, I had to cover it up with seran wrap and medical tape, so double points! Good luck with the sports bra issue! I’m lucky that I don’t have to deal with humidity very often.

    • I would have used the snot rag without a second thought. Oh, how the mighty fall when chafing is involved. I like the saran idea and will probably be using it after the Fairfield Half on Sunday. That searing burn when the water hits a chafed area – I’m cringing just thinking of it.

  6. I so thought it was just me when I complained to my husband about my sports bra leaving me marks! Even with glide I’d still get a nasty burn from them. So far the Target C9s have been the easiest on my chest 🙂

    • I am obviously heading to Target before Sunday, since it now has 3 recommendations. And no, you are not alone. Glide can only do so much. I think that a big problem with sports bras is that the bands don’t have as much in the way of “wicking” properties, maybe because they have so much elastic. The moisture just seems to collect in the bands and the straps and destroy your skin.

  7. So sorry to hear your 8 month old lost his/her mobile phone…glad you were able to McGyver a solution!
    My tip I learned was that when I cut my RockTape or KT Tape to put on my toes/heels/balls (of my feet – what were you thinking sicko?) to prevent blisters, I take the extra clippings and apply them to my nips to prevent the inevitable long run bleeding. Band aids do NOT stay sticked to sweaty nips. I don’t want to look like I was breastfeeding baby vampires, now do I?

    • I plead the fifth on what I was thinking. 😉 And you menfolk out there have my deepest sympathy – that is probably the worst chafing spot in the world, based on my unofficial review of marathon photos.
      So funny you mention the mobile phone – I feel so dated – I didn’t have one then (or at least one worth playing with) – my 12 year old was deprived of what is now a basic childhood need! At least he’ll have something to talk about in therapy when he is older.

  8. My hair tie broke once on a run, which is seriously unacceptable. I McGyvered one out of string I saw on the road and prayed to god I didn’t get lice. (I didn’t.)

    • Oh, no! I have a mane that a lion would envy, so I need 2 to keep a ponytail back. Now I can rest easy knowing I have a spare. There is no way I could run Baywatch-like with my hair flowing behind me. I totally would have used the string (good find!) without hesitation and rolled the dice on the lice.

  9. Sports bras. I found the PERFECT one (and I have been searching and searching and searching for YEARS!). Don’t laugh. I found it at Wal-Mart of all places: “Danskin Now – High-Impact Seamless Sport Bra.” Your search is over.

  10. Oddly enough, I have fallen in love with Victoria’s Secret “VSX” activewear bras. The one I love is all knit, no elastic at the bottom hem to twist and turn, has adjustable hook & eye at the back, and it has kept it’s shape for YEARS. I wish I had bought ten of these when they came out… the most updated version is probably this one:

    But be careful… many of their bras provide “maximum support” with wires… I cannot imagine running 5 miles in something with metal content…!

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