How many times have you talked to someone about running, only for them to tell you that you’ll ruin your knees with all of that running? I think this has to be one of my biggest pet peeves, because recent studies show that this is the furthest from the truth. 

That being said, there are some negative health effects of running. But luckily, the good outweighs the bad — and plus, there are some ways to fix these issues too. 🙂 

Here are some of the negative health effects I’ve experienced or heard from others about running:

The return of the acne

Bad, bad training day | Crazy Running Girl


I don’t know about you, but I had awful acne when I was in middle and early high school. We tried everything and nothing seemed to help, and it was so frustrating (especially at that age!). I’ve been lucky since then and haven’t had many issues, except during summer running… and even more so, ultra training this year. It returned on my face and on my back, and it was more than just annoying. 

How to solve runner’s acne:

  • Try to wash your face/back as soon as you can after a run. Sometimes this just isn’t possible, so I love using face wipes like these or ShowerPill if I need an all-over clean. 
  • Drink that water. Hydrating keeps your body healthy, and also helps to flush out toxins and keep your skin clear and clean. Make sure you are drinking enough water, which is also helpful for your running, too! 
  • To avoid back acne, skip tight-fitting clothing. Loose tops mean that you aren’t creating a layer of sweat between your skin and the fabric (because it needs to go somewhere), and can give it a little air movement, which will help too. I am in love with the Ghost Short Sleeve because it has such a nice loose, comfortable fit (this does get tougher during winter months, but see #1). 


Issues… down there


Yeah, it happens. Running can make it uncomfortable for your nether regions, mostly because of sweat, tight-fitting clothing and chafing. It can cause pimples, cysts, chafing and just general discomfort. And, it’s something that people don’t generally bring up in casual conversation about how their running is going. 

How to solve issues with your lady/man parts

  • Try running/fitness underwear. I am so sad that Brooks cut the running underwear line, because it’s my absolute favorite. This underwear is designed to keep your lady/man parts comfortable and wicks away sweat to prevent any issues from arising. I have a few pairs from Under Armour that I really like, though! (And for the men, SwampButt underwear sounds like it does the trick.)
  • Keep it clean. Try to take a shower as quickly as you can after a run, which I know (as said above) it can be a struggle… and sometimes, when you’re running longer distances, your workout can be just too long to keep things comfortable down there. That being said, avoid clothing that is too tight fitting and may rub. 
  • Use anti-chafing or vaseline. If you are experiencing chafing or irritation after running, try using a little vaseline down there, or anti-chafing cream. 


Bloated belly from running

Fall running in Minneapolis | Crazy Running Girl


This is my least favorite thing in the world! You get done with a run, you feel like you crushed it and are rocking life… and look in the mirror and BAM, you look like you’re five months pregnant! I wrote about it a few years ago, check it out HERE, but it can be caused by a few different things. 

How to solve bloated belly from running

  • Drink more water (before your run). Dehydration can make your belly bloated during a run, so make sure you are drinking enough water before you go for your run (and during your run too!). 
  • Balance your diet. My belly bloat is a lot worse if I’ve been eating junk for the 24 hours leading up to my run. Candy, salty foods and even alcohol are the worst, and I can tell during and after my run by how my stomach looks. 
  • Skip the mirror. It will go away after a bit of time, so I try to skip the mirror altogether so I don’t have to worry about the whole negative side effect of temporary bloat. 


Black toenails (and losing them)

Rocking the Brooks Launch 4 | Crazy Running Girl


I have never actually lost a toenail in all the years that I’ve been running. Good shoes? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just genes. 🙂 I have so many friends who have lost toenails and it sounds like a gross and awful process (plus, people seem to love to post the process of losing a toenail on Facebook… gross). 

How to prevent black toenails

  • Make sure your shoes fit right. Most people recommend going up one size, or even a size and a half, for your running shoes, especially if you run long distances. Your feet tend to swell when you run, and that means if your shoes are too tight or small, it can crush your toenails against the front of the shoe and cause black toenail issues. 
  • Wear good socks. It took me forever to invest in good running socks, mostly because they are expensive! But, they are so worth it and last a long time. They are designed to protect your feet and keep you happy as you run. I am currently loving these from Brooks and also these from CEP Compression
  • Get shoes with a roomy toe box. Along the same vein as having shoes that fit right, making sure the toe box offers you room and space for your toenails can ensure that you don’t get a black or lost toenail. This is one of the reasons why I love running in my Brooks Glycerins — they give my toes all the room they need. 


Destroying your hair


From getting caught in the wind, to dealing with all of the elements, I feel like running makes my hair get split ends more often and makes it harder to care for (this does not stop me from being a first-class passenger on the dry shampoo train, though). 

How to keep your hair healthy while running

  • Give it some extra TLC. I have started using more conditioning and care products to keep my hair healthier than in the past. I love the Hair Warrior product (which is designed for fitness/runners) and also have started using Marc Anthony Grow Long Strengthening spray too. I also think that not washing it every day if you can manage helps a TON, especially with split ends. 
  • Upgrade your hair ties. I always use these ribbon no-crease hair ties because they don’t knot or break my hair when I tighten or take them out. 
  • Prepare for the elements. If it’s windy or rainy, I always braid my hair or I put on a trucker hat for extra protection. This helps so that my hair isn’t whipping around and having to fight the elements (plus it means I also don’t have to spend 37 minutes trying to get all the knots out). 


So there you have it! I think a common theme for all of these is making sure you’re getting sweat off of your body ASAP with a shower or using a wipe or something like that, as well as making sure you are drinking enough water. I think by paying attention to these things, you can prevent these negative effects from happening and enjoy running a little bit more!

Linking up with Rachel, Susie and Debbie for Running Coaches’ Corner —> 



Any other tips to combating the negative effects of running? 

What are some negative effects of running you’ve experienced? How did you get over them? 

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