Long-distance runners are particularly prone to the nasty effects of chafing. Here we’ll look at the causes of chafing, why it has a tendency to occur during long-distance runs, and the steps you can take to reduce or prevent chafing altogether.
Chafing is a common complaint among athletes of all levels and disciplines - but none more so than long-distance runners. Chafe can be debilitating and in many competitions, it can be responsible for competitors dropping out mid-race.
What causes chafing during long-distance running?
Chafing can be separated into two categories: fabric-on-skin and skin-on-skin. When a long-distance runner suffers from fabric-on-skin chafing, it involves their clothing rubbing against the skin and aggravating it. Skin-on-skin chafing is when the underarms or thighs rub together, creating friction.
There are several factors that contribute to chafing, including:
- Non-breathable fabrics
- Excess body weight
- Sensitive skin
- Large muscle mass
- Hot/humid weather conditions
- Loose-fitting clothing
As an athlete, chafing can hinder your performance. If you experience particularly bad running chafing, you may even need to take some time out of your exercise schedule to allow the body to heal. Thankfully, there are ways you can prevent chafing during long-distance runs, and enjoy better performance and greater comfort. Here’s how:
Wear anti-chafing thigh bands
Anti chafing thigh bands are a great way to protect your thighs while on long-distance runs. These bands are manufactured from synthetic microfibers and silicone which helps to prevent them from sliding down the legs while running.
However, it is important to choose the right size anti-chafing thigh bands for your body. Your height and weight will determine the optimal size thigh band for long-distance running - and you can find out how to measure up here.
Use lotions or powders
A little lubrication can prevent the skin-on-skin friction that leads to chafing. Petroleum jelly, hypoallergenic balm or a specially-designed lubricant for athletes will do the trick - just remember to cover the usual hotspots such as the groin, armpits, thighs and nipples.
Alternatively, you might want to try using a medicated powder to keep chafing at bay. Just remember to choose either lotion or powder and avoid using the two at once, as they will counteract each other.
Ensure your essential equipment won’t create opportunities for chafing
During long-distance runs, we’re more likely to strap things like hydration packs, heart rate monitors and mobile phone storage armbands onto ourselves. While these are often necessary - particularly if we’re going running alone - you might want to consider how each of these items could potentially cause chafing during your exercise.
To ensure that your equipment won’t cause chafing, or to at least keep the effects of chafing to a minimum, you should ensure that straps are tightened to prevent things from bouncing around and remember to lubricate any areas these items are likely to come into contact with.
Find out more
If you’d like to know more about how to prevent thigh chafing, why not check out our frequently asked questions? Here you’ll find information on which techniques work best, and why anti-chafe thigh guards are a necessity for long-distance running.