Any season is definitely a sweating season when it comes to running. However, we are getting ready to enter into the sweatiest season of all, summer. Summer is summer anywhere, but summer in the heat and humidity in Nashville gets a little out of hand. It is not uncommon for even my shoes and socks to be drenched with sweat after a run, regardless of how early I run. Even without the excessive sweating, the constant rubbing can cause one of the most annoying problems for runners…..CHAFING. The thing about chafing is that there isn’t an exact science to preventing it, but there are ways we can attempt to avoid it. Even after 20 years of running, I still have come home from races with painful chaffing, and even after 20 years, I still make REALLY stupid mistakes. For example, how did I wake up, get ready, and head out to load the bus for the Boston marathon without even thinking to grab my Body Glide? It didn’t even cross my mind until mile 13 when I felt the stinging under my arm! So, let’s talk about smart ways to prevent hopping in the shower after a run and finding out you chafed in places you didn’t even know that you could. That shower will immediately alert you to any affected areas!
A few of the best products to have on hand would be Body Glide, Vaseline, and Aquaphor. (and any other petroleum jelly products) One thing I learned the hard way when using Body Glide is to be sure it isn’t an old stick. I thought I was prepared for the Nashville Full Marathon a few years ago. I lubed up on my way out the door. However, I didn’t realize that the body glide was old and the oils had dried up. Needless to say I was in a lot of discomfort after that race! So be sure you keep lids on, and that you use a product that has not dried up. Applying these to the at risk areas is so important. Areas where your clothes have seams are always potential chaffing areas. One trick women can use is to wear their sports bras inside out so the seams aren’t against our skin. You may also be able to find more of a seamless sports bra. Here is a list of preventative measures you can take.
1. Avoid both seams and tags.
2. Stay hydrated. This will minimize the salt on your skin. Salt will be rough and have the potential to rub.
3. Keep skin continuously moisturized, well hydrated skin will have less potential to cause these types of problems.
4. Have properly fitting clothing. Don’t wear sports bras too tight of they will dig and rub. Yet at the same time you don’t want your clothes to be too big and baggy because that will also have the potential to rub. (not to mention it would be heavy and annoying)
Even the most experienced runners make mistakes (yep I’m referring to me). Then there are also times that you just cannot completely avoid chaffing, even if you do everything right. The good thing is that you can fix the pain and discomfort within a few days when you treat it correctly.
1. Keep it clean. Shower right away to avoid bacteria from getting into your open war wounds.
2. Don’t rub it, pat it dry to avoid further irritation.
3. Keep a cream or ointment with zinc oxide on it. Even a diaper rash cream will work for all of you moms! Neosporin will help as well.
Do you have a secret weapon against chafing? Let us know in the comments.