You're maintaining a solid pace and might actually PR, and then you start to feel discomfort. You fight through the pain, cross the finish line, slip off your shoe, and see the blisters. Sound familiar?
Blisters—they're so easy to prevent and so easy to get. Not to mention, they're a nuisance to deal with. Athletes are primarily the victims of blisters, especially runners. Blisters are caused from pinching of the skin or repetitive friction. Because of the constant rubbing, the outer layer of the skin separates from the inner layer which fills the empty space with lymph fluid.
But it's easy to treat blisters and prevent them. You just need to put a little extra thought into your footwear and preparation before a run/workout.
Make sure your shoe fits properly. Some shoes are made for wider feet and others are made for more narrow feet. Understand your foot's width by consulting with a shoe specialist. With the right fit you can avoid painful rubbing and heel slippage.
Also, make sure you have plenty of room in the front or toe box of your shoe. Measure with your thumb from the top of the shoe to the tip of your big toe—you should have a thumb-width distance. This allows your foot to have a bit of wiggle room. You need that slight space because your foot does swell a bit when warm.
Give your foot love by checking your arch. Everyone's foot lies differently. Some people have a high arch while others are flat-footed. Make sure your shoe has the proper arch support for you. Another option is to buy sole inserts. You can get custom support from eSoles (www.esoles.com).
In order to find out what shoe you should get, go to a running shoe store and get fitted. You'll be able to learn how your feet move when you run and what support you need. You usually hop on treadmill that takes pictures of your feet to get the proper diagnoses.