Runners’ chafing and how to prevent and manage it
Let’s get real here for a second: there are many amazing advantages of running (the feel good endorphins, the bonding with kindred spirits, the weight loss, the general sense of wellbeing etc) that we all wax lyrical about but there is also a hits-you-on-your-tender-spots flipside to it. The very real, always burning non-delight of chafing.
You know what I’m talking about – that red hot sting that jolts you mid post-run hot shower or bath and makes you want to die a thousand deaths.
If, like me, you’d rather not be soaking blood stained t-shirts or leggings for days, here are a few ways of preventing and managing the chafing dilemma:
- Know your sore spots and suit up: Yes, you are the superhero of the road and I know you can’t wait to get out there but one can never be too prepared. You’ll know which of your body parts fall prey easily to irritation (for me, it’s my shins, my flabby thighs and middle toes) so protect those areas with a lubricant like Vaseline or bandages. Trust me on this, prevention is better than cure.
- Cover your (ass) ets: I once ran a 5km without a tights or shorts underneath my running leggings…to paraphrase the popular Follow the Leader song: “my thighs, my thighs were on fire!” The lesson learnt here is to always, always double up on protective clothing...
- Get wet: The unavoidable happened and you’ve worked up such a sweat that your body parts have been rubbed raw. Get home as soon as you can and gently clean your burning areas with cool water and fragrance free soap. Do NOT scrub these sensitive parts and remember to pat, not rub, them down with a soft towel after your shower or bath.
- Go on the bacteria offensive: Nasty bugs live for the warm, moisty points of your chafing torture. Now’s the time to stop them from breeding with a gentle antibacterial gel. Top it off with an aloe vera cream or spray to soothe the accompanying burning sensation.
- Keep it dry: If you do not fancy lying down in a horizontal position with your thighs separated or not wearing a shirt for the foreseeable future, I suggest a sprinkle of baby powder (I know, it sounds like an old wives tale but let me tell you, when a family friend suggested this once, I tried it and it felt like heaven!). Ditch any tight clothing and swap them for cotton, free flowing items instead.
Good luck with the chafing treatment and I’ll see you on the road!