Jim Damico, 126 TCCS
As your runs are getting longer, especially your long run on the weekend, you might experience a painful episode of chafing, where your skin is rubbed raw from the repetitive motion of running. Oftentimes, a chafing mishap happens to us once (and only once) before we learn our lesson and make sure our checklist covers that issue going forward.
Chafing is typically the result of consistent friction between skin and clothing, though it can also happen skin-to-skin. The result is skin rubbed raw, and in some cases, well beyond that. Due to the different apparel we wear, it seems men and women have different problem areas with a few common trouble spots.
Here’s a look at where chafing surfaces, how to treat it and how to prevent future occurrences from happening.
A lubricant applied to your thighs before the run (you might be able to find BodyGlide in Bangkok or even vaseline) will help, but the problem could be in the shorts you’re wearing. If you’re noticing that a certain pair of shorts is always near the scene of the crime, try a different pair. If your upper thighs rub together, consider a pair of longer, tighter shorts.”
Without safeguards in place, miles and miles of running can cause unprotected nipples (on men) to react horribly with a sweat-drenched top, rubbing them raw and in the worst cases, making them bleed.
Try different tops but if it continues, the easiest solution is to cover the nipples with bandaids to act as a barrier between the friction. You could also use a lubricant on your nipples. Some men even use just normal deodorant as a lube.
One more tip: Avoid cotton shirts. They get wet and stay wet, and soaked shirts are one of the main issues.
The armpits are an area with plenty of constant friction during the course of a long run, so it makes sense that chafing issues can pop up there. Skin rubbing against a shirt, or on recently shaved armpit stubble, can cause quite a bit of pain.
Like other areas, a lubricant applied before your run is the best answer. Some even apply the lubricant to the shirt to keep both offenders at bay. Avoid stubble, even if it means shaving right before your race.
The sports bra is also a common cause of chafing for women, and it typically happens on the shoulder straps, or on the band along the bottom of the bra. Others recommend spreading some lube across all potential problem areas to prevent chafing.
Another tip? “Some women find relief wearing their bras inside out, so exposed seams are on the outside. A lot of manufacturers are now designing them this way,” one coach says.
“Nothing below the belt is safe” if clothing has exposed seams or moisture-collecting material. For women, that includes about anything your imagination can think of, front to back.
BodyGlide, or other lubricants, should be applied liberally on all areas you experience chafing. Take a sample of the product with you on longer runs to reapply along the way.
One coach knows an ultra runner who carries a tube of Chapstick specifically to apply to areas that begin to chafe. “We always joked not to borrow her Chapstick, because you never know where it’s been!” the coach said.
Is the Damage Already Done?
OK, so you found this article a little too late. If you’re currently in pain somewhere, gently clean the area with water. Then, depending on the severity, you can use an antibiotic cream like Neosporin. A day later you should have scabbing, so be careful to protect that area from re-chafing.
Read more at: The Running Competitor
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