“About half of the runners come to get treatment for foot problems” - Frédéric Compagnon, MDS Medical Director
• The heat and physical effort are going to make your feet swell. Buy shoes at least one size bigger than usual, or even two sizes;
• Set off with shoes you’ve already worn in, definitely not brand-new ones;
• Train several times, on quite long distances at a slow pace, with all of your equipment to make sure that your shoes are suitable;
• Do not change shoe type just before the race, because that kind of change takes time;
• Do not choose “complicated” shoes, because gadgets tend to deteriorate in the desert;
• Do not take “watertight” shoes, what you want is the breathable type;
• Adjust your equipment (cushioning, souls, etc.) to correspond to your stride.
Wear thin, water-repellent socks and never put them on when damp. Take at least one spare pair, and wash them every other day.
• Example of suitable socks available at the MDS store.
Designed to stop sand getting into your shoes, gaiters are a must if you don’t want to stop every two minutes (no kidding) to empty your shoes. Different types are available (to stick on, sew on or simply put around the shoe); the most efficient ones are those that join onto your shoes. Don’t buy them at the last minute and then put them on, you might need to make a visit to the shoe repairer for adjustments.
• Example of some ideal gaiters available at the MDS store.
To wrap up, a little reminder that can be useful: blisters are always the consequence of several factors:
• The intrinsic “quality” of your skin.
• How you prepared your feet (or didn’t).
• Personal biological factors (nutrition, metabolism, skin hydration, etc.).
• Your physical preparation (number of kilometres, terrain, etc.).
• The difficulty of the race (terrain, gradient, etc.).
• Your equipment (shoes, gaiters, bag weight, etc.).
• Weather conditions (heat, humidity).
All that remains is to limit the impact of factors that you can influence: they all feed into the success of your MDS.