It can happen to anyone who runs a lot. And it may only happen once or every time you run. What we are talking about is that painful chafing.

Before we get into some ways to prevent it, let’s first discuss what it is. Chafing is that painful skin irritation caused by friction. Mix in a little sweat and you have a recipe for disaster from the comfortability standpoint. Typically, the cause is an article of clothing rubbing against the skin over a long time, such as in distance running, however, the cause can also be skin rubbing on skin.

Some materials that runner’s clothes are made from are more prone to chafing than others. Veteran runners will tell you to avoid at all costs clothes made from cotton. Once it gets wet, it stays wet exacerbating the chafing. Instead choose running clothes made from one of the many synthetic moisture-wicking fabrics.

And while those kinds of fabrics do a great job of getting moisture away from the skin, the way some running clothes are manufactured can cause chafing problems – the seams. If the article of clothing has exposed seams, they can increase the risk of chafing. Instead look for clothes that either have flat or covered seams.

Female runners who wear sports bras minimized the seam problem by wearing their sports bras inside out. The trend was so successful that sports bra manufacturers started making them with the seams on the outside. For men, Band-Aids® or Dr, Scholl’s Corn Cushions made from moleskin applied across the nipples works to prevent chafing.

A body part prone to chafing are the thighs. If yours rub, try wearing a longer pair of tight fitting moisture-wicking shorts to keep the skin separated.

Lube to the Rescue!
Another way to conquer the dreaded chafing problem is to provide a slippery surface between your skin and clothes. Many runners use a product called Bodyglide. It is specially formulated to prevent chafing, is hypo-allergenic, petroleum-free, vegan-approved and inexpensive (about $10.00 for a 1.5-ounce twist-up applicator similar to a men’s deodorant applicator). Lube all the typical places prone to chafing – thighs, neck, arms, basically where you can have skin-to-skin or skin-to-clothes contact.

For reapplication of a lubricant while on route, many recommend carrying a smaller size tube of Bodyglide or even Chapstick®. Both are convenient to carry, work at friction reduction and can be applied to the body in most places while on the go!

Long distance running can be an enjoyable sport if the right precautions and preparations are made. Be sure to lube up and have the correct type of running clothes to make it as enjoyable as possible.