I have been running and training more than usual lately in anticipation of my first half marathon of the season tomorrow. As a result, I’m creating more laundry than usual. So, when last Saturday’s long run rolled around, I dug around in my drawer for a sports bra only to find one left. The one I rarely wear. Not because it’s uncomfortable, but because I know it chafes me. Right along my bra line in the centre of my chest. But it was the only one left so I put it on, making a mental note to use some Body Glide before I left.
Naturally I forgot. Oh well, I thought. Maybe it will be OK.
It was not OK.
18K later, I arrived home happy and sweaty with a decent time of 1:50 for a long, slow run. I hopped in the shower and that’s when I remembered. The offending bra had done exactly as I predicted and as soon as the water hit my chest, it felt like hot knives stabbing me. I squealed in pain. This silly bra has this dotted pattern along the bra-line and as usual, I had three perfect circles chafed into my chest. The level of pain and the size of the injury do not equate, and consequently, it’s very hard to get any sympathy. Especially when I knew it would happen in the first place.
My husband asked why I don’t just throw the stupid bra away. Good point. But, it’s fine for shorter runs or workouts, I said! My argument was clearly weak. But despite the tremendous amount of pain I was in, the bra landed in the laundry basket rather than the garbage.
Chafing from running is actually the worst thing ever. Anyone that has ever experienced it will know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky.
Now, I realize my three dots of chafed skin pale in comparison to the chafed inner thighs or bloody nipples some distance runners experience, but it’s a horrible war wound among the running community and with a little preparation, it is totally avoidable.
Here are a few tips for avoiding chafing:
- Lube it up! No, really. Do it. Get yourself some Body Glide or a similar product and use it anywhere your skin rubs or where you’ve chafed in the past.
- Avoid cotton. It absorbs sweat and stays wet. Also, cut off tags that could rub and cause irritation
- For the guys, cover up the nips. I know guys don’t give their nipples a lot of attention on a day-to-day basis, but here’s one time you should. Plasters / Band-Aids can help. Less a problem for the ladies.
- Hydrate and moisturize. Hydrated skin chafes less.
- Test your gear. Ladies, get fitted for a proper sports bra. If you get something that chafes, retire it. (I know, I know… I’m working on it)
For tomorrow’s half marathon, I’ll need to think about the right attire. At the very least, I know what sports bra I WON’T be wearing!
PS – this is my 200th blog post!