You’ve made a big decision that will impact the rest of your entire life. You’ve decided to start going on a run each morning before work to keep yourself in shape. Your first session went pretty well, except for the after-effects. You’ve got an awful rash between your thighs that burns. This is what we call chafing. If you don’t wear the right clothing or allow moisture to collect on your body, it rears its ugly head. Want to know how to prevent chafing when running, so you can actually feel good about your fitness decision? Keep reading for a list of measures you should take.
Where Do Runners Experience Chafing?
Before we get into how to prevent chafing, let’s talk a little more about what causes it in the first place. The main vulnerable area is the heel and toes. If you run through a puddle, don’t wear the right shoes, or suffer from sweaty feet, chafing is likely to occur.
Since your shoulder joints move a lot when you’re running, your armpits become vulnerable to rash as well. This is especially true if you tend to shave them.
If you have large legs, your inner thighs will rub together as you run. The result is a horrible chafe that will stick around for a few days.
Your crotch area is the most sensitive spot on your body. If you allow it to chafe while you’re running, it’s going to hurt. If you wear accessories while you’re running or have a shirt with a high collar, it may cause your neck to chafe.
Sports bras protect women from nipple chafing, but unfortunately for men, you have no line of protection to prevent this.
Now that you’re familiar with what can cause chafing, we can talk about how to stop it from happening. Try out one of the following prevention measures.
Pick the Right Clothing
Wearing the right clothing is the most basic of running tips. Don’t wear anything with an uncomfortable seam. It will rub against your skin and cause irritation.
If your skin is more on the sensitive side, put on clothes made with high-quality fabrics. Otherwise, you may experience some irritation. To keep nipple chafing at bay, wear a soft sports bra with broad straps.
Men can wear nipple coverings such as bandages and nipple guards to get the same effect. Opt for compression shorts and other tight-fitting clothing. If your clothes are too loose, they will rub against your body and cause chafing.
Lastly, cotton may feel good, but it’s not the best thing to wear to stop irritation. You need sweat-wicking fabrics. Cotton absorbs moisture and holds it against your body.
Choose the Right Size Shoes
You don’t want your shoes to rub against your feet. So, going with a pair that has a snug fit is a good idea, right? You would think so, but no.
Tight-fitting shoes work well for short-distance running. If you’re going to be jogging for a while though, your feet will begin to swell. As they do, your shoes will become tighter and rub against your feet.
You need shoes that allow for a little bit of room to account for the swelling. This is only one of many running for beginners tricks that you should keep in mind.
Keep Your Skin in Good Shape
The more you run, the more you’re going to sweat. The perspiration turns into salt crystals, which results in irritation and chafing. Drinking water before and during your run can stop this from happening.
If your skin is already dry and irritated, that will make you even more vulnerable to chafing when you run. Take care of your skin by applying moisturizers and staying clean.
Lubricate at-Risk Areas
During the summer, the last thing you want to do is cover yourself from head to toe in clothing. This is all well and good, but the exposed areas could chafe unless you apply lubrication.
Vaseline, coconut oil, and other oil-based lubricants stop friction from happening when your skin rubs together. Use it on all areas that are vulnerable to chafing.
Powders Are Your Friend
Since moisture is the main culprit of chafing, talcum powder is your best friend. Applying it before you run will absorb sweat and keep your body dry.
The only problem is that talcum powder is associated with cancer and other dangers. If you would rather not take the risk, you can use cornstarch instead.
Practice Proper Aftercare
As soon as you get done running, take a shower if you can. Use lukewarm water if your skin is already chafed. Hot water will only cause further irritation.
Once you hop out of the shower, follow up by applying moisturizer unless you have any blisters. If that’s the case, use rash cream instead.
If you don’t have any kind of powder or lubrication on hand, kinesiology tape is the next best thing. Your skin will rub against the tape instead of itself.
Make sure that you don’t follow the tape up with lubricant. If you do, the tape won’t hold, which sort of defeats the purpose.
Shaving Can Make Things Worse
Shaving can leave your skin irritated for days. This being said, you don’t want to shave right before you go out on a run. It will make the area more vulnerable to chafing.
Shave several days before you plan to go out running. If dealing with the hair is a little annoying, you can trim it with scissors for the time being.
How to Prevent Chafing When Running and Stay on Top Of Your Game
One of the many running tricks you should acquaint yourself with as a beginner should revolve around stopping chafing. If you fail to wear the right clothing or lubricate your skin, you’ll experience nothing but pain and irritation.
We hope that you’re able to use this guide on how to prevent chafing when running to stay on top of your game and enjoy your exercise.
Are you looking for more ways to stay comfortable when running? Check out the Health & Fitness section of our blog to get started.