Chafing: A Runner's Worst Nightmare!

Chafing: A Runner's Worst Nightmare!

Posted by Jack Miller on 28th Oct 2020

As summer approaches, we all know what comes with it – especially for runners. As much as we enjoy heading out for a run while the sun is shining, the rising humidity brings that terrible burn of chafing. No matter the cause, whether this is the rubbing together of your thighs, the friction between your chest and shirt, or the cutting into your shoulder by your sports bra, chafing is every runner’s worst nightmare. To ensure that running remains enjoyable, we’re going to discuss what causes chafing, and how this can be prevented by runners.

Why are runners prone to chafing?

Any form of cardio can increase your risk of chafing, as it can simply be created by parts of your body rubbing together, causing friction. This friction will consequently wear away or breakdown the skin, which causes the painful sensation that we understand to be chafing. As mentioned above, this can be due to either skin on skin contact, or skin on fabric contact.

Chafing can be increased by a number of factors, including:

• Extra bodyweight – so, if you start running with the intention of losing some bodyweight, you may be more prone to chafing at first.
• Loose-fitting clothing.
• Non-breathable fabrics.
• Humid or hot weather – if you enjoy running throughout the Australian summer, don’t be surprised if you suffer from the effects of chafing!
• Excessive moisture (eg. sweat) on the skin while you’re running.

How runners can prevent chafing

Luckily, there are ways that runners can stop chafing before it gets too bad. You should take all measures to avoid chafing where possible, as the discomfort can easily take the enjoyment out of running.

Make your skin more pliable

This is particularly relevant if you’re looking to embark on a long-distance run, for example, a marathon. You’ll find this much easier if you are able to create a layer between your workout clothes and your skin, as this will prevent chafing. To do this, you can try adding a lotion or moisturiser to your skin before you go out running. You could also try applying Vaseline or Talcum Powder on spots such as thighs and armpits.  It should be mentioned though, that these are temporary measures, that will last for minutes not hours.

Choose the correct clothing

Prepping your skin is one thing, but your chances of avoiding chafing will be increased by wearing breathable workout clothes. Avoid wearing loose, cotton clothing as this will trap the moisture and increase your risk of chafing. If you wear shorts or shirts that will cling to your body, preferably those made from synthetic materials, you’ll be further protected. If you’re prone to developing rashes through friction, the best thing for chafing which you can easily wear on your body, is anti chafing thigh bands.

Pay attention to equipment

We know that serious runners may choose to make use of chest straps for heart rate monitors, or phone armbands for running convenience. However, you should be aware that such equipment can increase your risk of chafing by rubbing against your skin or clothing. You can minimise this risk by making sure your equipment is fastened tightly to encourage less movement or make sure to apply a cream or lotion to any areas that may come into contact with the equipment.

For more chafing advice for runners, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!