"It's only mile 13," she commented. "He's going to have a tough race!" Indeed.
I thought about this. So many jokes have been made about bloody nipples that I didn't think it was a thing anymore. Apparently, that guy didn't get the memo about prevention.
Of course, if you are a long distance runner, you've experienced some sort of chafing. Sweat +friction=chafing. Hopefully, for most of us, it's not bloody nipples (ladies, am I right?). But it's the rare runner who hasn't experienced some sort of skin irritation in areas unknown.
Unknown, that is, until the post-race shower....
Ahhh....the post-race shower. There's no better feeling than stripping off your stinky, sweaty running clothes and rinsing away all the blood sweat and tears. Am I right?
Do you know this feeling? The hot water hits a spot in places unknown, searing pain bringing shock and awe to the unsuspecting runner.
Chafing. We've all been there, and if you haven't, you're not doing it right. Chafing is using the result of frictional forces at work. Moisture, salty sweat, and skin rubbing together is the perfect recipe for irritation.
What's a runner to do? As with most things, prevention is the key. Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing for a long run/race to avoid the dreaded chafing:
No new clothes on race day. Actually nothing new.
Make sure you road test everything you plan to wear at your race. Again and again. You want to make sure there are no seams or edges that irritate your skin. And even if you're wearing something that's tried and true, you might still chafe. That happened to me this past summer--a running skirt I've worn a million times gave me trouble on my thighs. It wasn't horrible, but it was a good reminder that chafing happens, even when you least expect it.
If you are a new runner, let me share a not so secret secret. Never ever wear cotton anywhere on your body. This includes socks and underwear. Running clothes should be synthetic and wicking. Too expensive for you? Not where I shop. Go to Target, WalMart (if you must), TJMaxx, Marshalls, and Ross. You can find name brands super cheap. You have no excuse for wearing cotton.
Wear your bra inside out. Or invest in some new bras.
I have never heard of wearing my sports bra inside out until I was writing this post. My OCD started to twitch at the thought of it, but it really makes sense. The most common area of chafing for me is along the bra line, where the elastic rubs my skin. Prior to a long run, I usually slather Body Glide under there but sometimes that isn't enough. I recently bought some new bras and clearly the manufacturers are listening to the customers--I've experienced minimal chafing in these! These new bras are so different from anything I've run in before. I'll share more in a future post.
Prepare your skin prior to the race.
There are a few good chafing products on the market--I love Body Glide for my arms, legs, and bra line. I know some runners use it for the nether regions as well. I've used cycling chamois products for my lady bits--a couple favorites are Hoo Ha Ride Glide (it's warming too) and Chamois But'r. The problems with these products is that they don't always go the distance. Let me be a bit more blunt. The area between the butt cheeks, the gluteal crease, can rub and yep, chafe. Vaseline, Aquaphor, and other petroleum-based gels just melt away with the sweat. By mile 8-9, you can kiss your smooth baby bottom goodbye. I actually prefer to use a thick cream like Butt Paste or Triple Paste for that area. If it's good enough for diaper rash, it's good enough for me. And when things get desperate, I've used ChapStick.
Protect your nipples.
Not just for men--I know some ladies let the girls fly free. I don't but as a public service, I wanted to make sure everyone has the information they need to run chafe-free. You can use bandaids, but why do that when you can use NipGuards? Pretty ingenious, they fit around the nipple, not on it. And if you are super hairy, you don't have to worry about that either. Of course, you could just use BodyGlide. Or you could wear a bro.
Even though it is painful, showering and cleaning the area is important to prevent infection. Gently pat the area dry and apply hydrocortisone ointment to help calm the inflammation and lubricate the area.
Have you experienced chafing? What is your favorite tip to prevent chafing? Any horror stories to share?
I'm linking up with DebRuns for Wednesday Word, which is irritable. I could have written a whole post on how irritable I've been lately but who wants to read that? I'm also linking up with Debbie, Susie, Rachel, and Lora for Coaches' Corner!