I ran my very first half marathon in 2009: the Seattle Half Marathon. It was only my second race ever as an adult. The first 10 miles were awesome, but everything after that was painful. Not because I was sore. Not because I was out of breath. Nope. It was because of blisters.

I could feel them on the bottom of almost every toe. And I knew I had two on each big toe. They seemed to get worse with every step. Afterward, I was afraid to take my shoes off. That was before I knew how important it is to choose good socks and shoes. It was also before I knew about anti-chafing products for runners.

It’s so important to get yourself a quality pair of shoes if you plan to run long distances. However, it’s not just the brand of shoe, it’s also the fit. Long-distance runners need a little extra room in their shoes because the feet swell after so many miles. Try on new running shoes later in the day when you’re feet are at their largest. Many running shoe stores will let you “test-drive” your shoes for a certain amount of time. My store gave me 90 days, for example. Don’t be afraid to take back shoes that are not fitting properly.

When buying socks, make sure they are made with a synthetic moisture-wicking fabric that will keep your feet cool and dry for long periods of time. Click on the link to learn more about socks on 2Toms’ page on “The Best Socks to Prevent Blisters.”

On Sunday, I am running the Seattle Half Marathon again. I’m happy to say that I’m much wiser now. Or am I? On Monday, I bought a brand new pair of socks to match my outfit for the race.

Before everyone starts yelling at me in the comments, this time I have 2Toms BlisterShield to keep my toes blister-free during my half.

By the way, great news if you are in need of some anti-chafing or blister prevention products from 2Toms. They announced last week here on the blog that they will be offering FREE ground shipping on all U.S. domestic orders made through the website from Black Friday (Nov. 23) through Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). In addition, 2Toms will be donating 10 percent of profits from all online orders placed between Nov. 23 and Dec. 14, 2012, to the Bikes Belong Foundation to help improve the future of bicycling. So get your orders in!