Access exclusive podcasts, interviews and analysis with a monthly or annual membership

Become A Member
Dublin: 9°C Friday 7 May 2021

This ain't for the faint-hearted! A runners' guide to preventing the dreaded chafing

If you’re even contemplating a long run, this is an essential read.

Source: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

THERE ARE 100 things that can stop you doing a personal best – or simply finishing – the Dublin marathon next Monday.

Some are utterly out of your control, like strong headwinds and injury but mostly, how you perform is a product of how prepared you are.

That’s not to say preparing for a marathon is easy, it’s anything but, but there’s one thing – rarely mentioned – that we want you all to be aware of this Monday. For if you’re not, it could ruin your day. It’s called nipple and/or thigh chafe.

It’s painful at the best of times and agony at worst but read our quick guide here and be one step ahead.

What is it?

Nipple chafing occurs when your t-shirt constantly rubs off your nipples when you run.

Usually, on short runs, there is no problem because there’s not enough time for your shirt to do real damage.

But when you run for longer distances, like marathon distance, the constant friction can result in your nipples starting to bleed.

It’s worst in warmer temperatures and if we’re to believe the forecast, it’ll be 15 degrees Celsius in the capital on Monday, enough to give rise to chafing.

Obviously it’s more common in males because females usually wear sports bras, but they’re not averse to it either.

Thigh chafing can be equally as painful and instead of fabric on skin, this is caused by skin rubbing off skin.

Again, when shorts are sweaty the salt appears to act almost like sandpaper, grinding away at you.

Other areas that have been known to chafe are the armpits, toes and waistline.

How to prevent chafing?

Prevention is better than cure, they say, and it’s certainly the case here. Thankfully, the methods to avoid it are easy and really cheap. Some of those include:

  • Use bandages. Waterproof ones are best because they’ll stick better when you start to sweat.
  • Those circular pads used to protect callouses on your feet are also great.
  • Another popular remedy is an anti-chafe cream called ‘Bodyglide’. Vaseline does pretty much the same thing.
  • There’s even a thing called ‘Nip Guards’ which do exactly what they say on the tin. You’ll look hard to find a shop that sells these though. Online is your best bet.
  • Do NOT wear a cotton t-shirt on Monday. It will cling to you like shrink-wrap when you’re cloaked in sweat after four miles. That’s 22 miles more running with a wet blanket over you, weighing you down and tearing at you. Splash out and buy a quality running t-shirt or long sleeve made with synthetic fibres.
  • Specifically for the thigh – Vaseline or Bodyglide anti-chafe cream is the best option.
  • Also for the thigh, consider wearing a pair of bicycle shorts under your normal shorts if the latter have an underwear sewn unto them. That tends to cut away into your inner thighs. (Told you we’d spare no detail.)
  • For armpits, thighs and toes the aforementioned anti-chafe creams are the best option.

Excitement and sleep will dominate your final week of marathon preparation

Hit this number of miles and you need to buy yourself a new pair of runners

About the author:

TheScore Team

Read next: