How to Get that Stinky Smell Out of Shoes and Sports Gear

How to Get that Stinky Smell Out of Shoes and Sports Gear

Well, it’s fall and back-to-school time! And, if you are a parent (or if you are reading this and are in school, yourself), then you know it’s also back-to-sports time.

You also know that means it is back to washing some seriously stinky socks and uniforms, and dealing with smelly shoes and sports gear.  Ugh!

You don’t have to have a child in sports, though. My kindergartner comes home with some pretty stinky feet after wearing his shoes all day, playing on the playground and riding on the hot bus.

You don’t want your house smelling like a locker room. And you don’t want to send your child to his or her game with stinky gear. Washing uniforms and socks is easier, of course, since you can throw them in the wash.

(Click here to learn more about Stink Free Sports Detergent.)

But what to do about the stuff you can’t throw in the washing machine? Getting the odor out of running shoes, or off of soccer shin guards or hockey pads seems more difficult.

That’s exactly why 2Toms created Stink Free Spray.

Stink Free is a shoe deodorizer that also works on sports gear and even in gym bags and lockers. You can spray it on anything that is hard to wash.

It’s safe to use on leather, canvas, satin and denim shoes, in work or riding boots, on hockey and football pads, in helmets, and on motorcycle gear—anything that smells, really.

Stink Free Spray uses a formula that doesn’t just mask the odors caused by sweat, it completely eliminates it.  And Stink Free does not use perfume in its formula. Once the spray dries, there is no smell at all.

If you’ve ever thrown something out, or thought about throwing something out, because it smelled and you didn’t know how to wash it, then you definitely need to try this.

For example, let’s say your husband wore his expensive fur-lined Crocs on a hot day in the summer…with no socks on. Just a hypothetical. But you’ll be glad you have some of 2Toms’s Stink Free Spray.

Go here to learn more and read more about Stink Free Spray.


Do Compression Socks Work?

“How’s Shalane doing?” I asked my husband from the kitchen. He was watching the women’s 10,000 meters at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow with me.

“I think she’s in the front still.”

I came over closer to the TV and instantly knew he was wrong. “No she’s not,” I said. “None of those women are wearing compressions socks. Shalane always wears compression socks.” (She finished 8th in the race.)

Some runners, like elite distance runners Shalane Flanagan and Meb Keflezighi, wear compression socks during races. Some athletes wear them after races for recovery reasons.

What is it about these socks? Should all runners be wearing compression on their legs? Do compression socks work?

Compression socks were originally created to help diabetics improve circulation. Now, many compression sock manufacturers—such as CEP, Zensah, PRO Compression, The Recovery Sock and others–say that their product(s) can help runners, cyclists, triathletes and other athletes race and recover better with benefits like increased oxygen delivery to muscles, decreased muscle fatigue and lactic acid, and cramp prevention.

Unfortunately, there is not any solid research to back up these claims even though many runners and cyclists swear by these socks. In fact, you can find compression gear for almost any part of the body these days—tights, shorts, sleeves, shirts.

“Very little evidence exists (ie. two to three studies out of 15-plus) from a sport and exercise perspective that compression garments improve performance when worn during exercise,” said Rob Duffield, a professor at the School of Movement Studies at Charles Sturt University, in a Competitor Running article last year.

In the article, the author points out that studies have not been able to find any difference in “running times, VO2 max, oxygen consumption or heart rates” between athletes wearing compression socks and those not wearing them.

Sports physiology professor Elmarie Terblanche, from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, said that most studies are done in a lab. So how reliable can those studies be? She decided to test compression socks in the real world and she found that athletes who wore compression socks “had significantly less muscle damage and were able to recover more quickly.”

Oh yeah, and they also ran 12 minutes faster on average.

Of course, Terblanche’s findings were, technically inconclusive. But, like Flanagan, some athletes swear by these tight-fitting socks. Boston Globe writer Shira Springer says that Flanagan “started wearing the knee-high tight-fitting socks to keep her calves warm as she dealt with an Achilles’ problem.”

Now, compression socks are practically the 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist’s trademark.  “It’s very natural for me,” said Flanagan in the Boston Globe article. “I feel like I’m preventing injuries by wearing them and staying warm.”

Don’t mistake compression socks with knee-high socks. Compression-specific gear is very tight—the socks can even be difficult to get on! A pair of compression socks can cost anywhere from about $20 to $80 (or more).

I’m not a world-class athlete, obviously, but I did wear a pair of CEP compression socks during long training runs and during my first marathon. I won’t say I felt energized afterward, but my calves and shins felt pretty decent post-race. In fact, I had to sprint across a stadium parking lot to catch my friend before she left with my keys.

 

I wore The Recovery Sock during a tough, muddy 7-mile trail race earlier this year. Even if I don’t always wear them during a long run, I definitely wear them after. Maybe they don’t really work, but they feel like they do…and that’s all that matters to me.

So, if you’re on the fence about compression socks, it definitely can’t hurt to try them out…and they may just help you run and recover faster.

We’d love to hear from you.  Do compression socks work for you? Let us know in the comments!


What is a Recovery Run?

Have you ever heard a runner say they went for a recovery run? What does that mean? How can you “recover” on a run? Should you incorporate recovery runs in your training?

Trail Runner445x270Many everyday runners think recovery runs are used to aid muscle recovery in the legs, and that these runs will increase blood flow and clear away lactic acid. But experts say that there is no evidence to support any of this.

“In short, recovery runs do not enhance recovery,” writes running author and expert Matt Fitzgerald in the Active.com article “A Fresh Perspective on Recovery Runs.”

“The real benefit of recovery runs is that they allow you to find the optimal balance between the two factors that have the greatest effect on your fitness and performance: training stress and running volume.”

Recovery workouts, he says, are performed in a fatigued state, which boosts runners’ fitness. The benefit of pre-fatigued, or recovery, runs occurs when your brain is forced out of its “normal recruitment patterns,” it has to find “neuromuscular ‘shortcuts’” in order to run more efficiently.

“Pre-fatigued running is sort of like a flash flood that forces you to alter your normal morning commute route,” writes Fitzgerald. “The detour seems a setback at first, but in searching for an alternative way to reach the office, you might find a faster way–or at least a way that’s faster under conditions that negatively affect your normal route.”

Basically, a recovery run is one where you are running on tired legs in order to “train” your brain and body to become a more efficient runner. Many elite coaches use recovery runs. In fact, if you read the “Hansons Marathon Method” book, you’ll see that their training plans are built on a very similar concept. Click the link to read more about the Hansons’ way of training in Runner’s World.

Fitzgerald’s tips for using recovery runs in training:

• You only need to do recovery runs if you run four times per week or more. (Runners who run three times a week should follow every key workout with a rest day.)

• If you run five times per week, one run should be a recovery run, and if you run six times every week, two of those runs should be recovery runs.

• Recovery runs are usually not needed during base training/moderate workouts.

• “A recovery run can be as long and fast as you want,” says Fitzgerald, “provided it does not affect your performance in your next scheduled key workout.”

• Experiment to find the best recovery run formula for you, he advises. And, he says, “Don’t be too proud to run very slowly in your recovery runs, as Kenya’s runners are famous for doing.”

• Click the link to read all of his tips in the full Recovery Run article at Active.com.


Tips to Care For Your Feet

Whether you are a runner, walker, hiker or even a triathlete, your feet probably need some love! They do a lot for us, including absorbing most of the impact created when they hit the ground. What are some ways you can care for your poor runner (walker/hiker) feet?

Hal Higdon, championship runner and a writer for Runner’s World, offers some ideas in “Care for Your Feet” on RunnersWorld.com:

Make sure you have shoes that fit well: “Bad shoe fit can cause a multitude of problems for your feet, everything from numbness and burning to blisters and painful calluses,” says Rick Braver, D.P.M., a podiatrist in Englewood, N.J., in the article.

Wear quality socks: Bad, wet or cotton socks can cause blisters. (Click here to read more about how to find the best socks for running and to prevent blisters in the 2Toms Knowledge section.) Dave Zimmer, owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago, says in the Runner’s World article that he always points his running customers toward socks made with acrylic materials. “Fit is as important in socks as it is in shoes,” says Zimmer. Get socks with moisture-wicking technology.

Moisturize your feet: Lots of runners, walkers and hikers get dry, cracked feet. “The solution,” Higdon writes, is to “use a moisturizer such as Neutrogena foot cream every day. Rub it into the skin until your feet feel soft and smooth.” Stephanie Marlatt Droege, D.P.M., a podiatrist from La Porte, Ind., says in the article that the best time to apply moisturizer to your feet is immediately after a bath or shower: “Applying moisturizer at that time will help retain some of the water from your shower,” she says.

Keep feet dry: Some athletes suffer from feet that are too sweaty, resulting in athlete’s foot or fungal problems. This is when good, quality moisture-wicking socks becomes extra important. If you run through the water a lot, invest in a good pair of waterproof trail-running shoes.  Or use 2Toms BlisterShield to help keep your feet dry when running/walking/hiking!  It creates that waterproof barrier for you!

Massage: Love your feet! Higdon writes, “A weekly massage will do wonders for your feet (not to mention your outlook), and it will be most effective if you guide the therapist to the problem spots.” But you can also massage your feet yourself. Or you can use a wooden foot roller. Higdon says, “Rolling two or three golf balls or even a rolling pin under your feet also works well.” Reflexology is also a good option. Find a reflexologist near you at www.reflexology.org/.

Strength train your feet: “Many injuries are directly related to weak feet,” says John Pagliano, D.P.M., in the article. The Long Beach, California-based podiatrist and author of several books on running injuries says, “If the muscles are weak, they will not move the foot into its proper running position. The foot flops around instead of pointing straight ahead. Also, the stronger your foot and leg muscles are, the faster they can propel you forward.” Higdon lists these foot exercises: toe rises, heel drops, towel pulls, toe grabs and alphabet practice. Click here to go to the article and see how to do each exercise. Try to do them 2-3 times per week.


Side Cramps when Running: How to Avoid and Get Rid of Them

Side cramps. Side stitch. Side ache. No matter what you call it, getting a cramp in your side while running is just plain annoying. It hurts, too, and can affect how you run.

What Causes Side Cramps when Running?

In an article on WebMD, Olympic runner and running expert Jeff Galloway says that side cramps when running happen due to shallow breathing, “not breathing deeply from the lower lung.” This would explain why I got a side ache during the first three miles of the Seattle Rock ‘N’ Roll half marathon the last two years in a row. There is so much excitement. I’m high-fiving spectators, cheering for bands and not paying attention to my running or breathing. Galloway says the side pain is a “little alarm” letting you know that you aren’t breathing right.

Exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise Pete McCall says in the WebMD article that a side stitch can also be from “an imbalance of blood electrolytes (such as calcium, potassium and sodium) in your body.”

How to Get Rid of a Side Stitch

Here are a few ways to get rid of and avoid side cramps when running from Galloway:Galloway Training Program

Practice breathing deep: “Put your hand on your stomach and breathe deeply. If you’re breathing from your lower lungs, your stomach should rise and fall.”

Don’t start too fast: This is a good rule to follow anyway. Running too fast out of the gates is a good way to get a side stitch. “It’s always better during the first 10 minutes to be more gentle,” Galloway says in the article. He also says that nervousness can cause runners to breathe faster and “revert to shallow breathing.”

Slow down, breathe deep: If you get cramping in your side during your run or race, slow down to a walk, says Galloway. “Do the lower lung breathing while walking, maybe [for 2-4] minutes.”

Eat or drink: If your side ache is from an imbalance of electrolytes, taking an energy gel and some electrolyte-infused fluids, such as Nuun. That worked for me both times.

Do you have any tips that have worked for you? Please share in the comments!


Stop Toe Blisters Before Your Run

Stop Toe Blisters Before Your Run

Stop Toe Blisters Before Your Run

I’m not sure what I was thinking, but last weekend I went for my long run without applying any blister prevention product between my toes.

I have squished toes. They all overlap slightly, which means I get blisters in between my toes (and sometimes on the bottom of them, too!) during long runs unless I remember to treat them pre-work out. If you also get toe blisters, 2Toms has blister-prevention products you can use to stop them.

BlisterShield

BlisterShield 8oz Shaker BottleBlisterShield is a powder that, when applied to the foot, repels moisture. Shake BlisterShield into your sock before your run and it will help keep your skin dry and prevent those blisters that occur because of that sweaty friction in your sock. (For tips on how to apply BlisterShield, click the link.) BlisterShield doesn’t “soak up” the moisture and lose its effectiveness. It repels moisture so it can continue to work for long periods of time!

BlisterShield will especially help prevent those blisters on the bottom of your feet and toes, the ones that are caused by excess friction and heat buildup in your shoe. You can even use BlisterShield in addition to another 2Toms product, SportShield, for twice the blister prevention–extra important if you are an ultra runner or a long-distance hiker!

Learn more about BlisterShield by clicking the link. For a video and more information on how BlisterShield works, click this link.

SportShield

SportShield Roll-on Reflection242x485SportShield is a full-body silicone-based anti-chafe product, and one of my favorites because it doesn’t rub off. (You can wash it off with a baby wipe or soap and water, though, after your workout.) It comes in a roll-on applicator or you can get the single-use towelettes, which would be great in an emergency pack for long-distance runners and hikers. I usually use the roll-on applicator to apply SportShield between my toes before long runs.

SportShield’s non-toxic, non-greasy formula creates a waterproof barrier between my toes. The silkiness of it allows my toes to rub against each other without friction so that I don’t get those darn toe blisters!

You can watch a video on how SportShield works or learn more about SportShield by clicking on the links.

Preventing toe blisters is really as simple as taking a minute to apply either one or both of these products, and it can save you from so much pain later. I definitely will not forget to use my BlisterShield and SportShield on my next long run!