Sunday, October 30

Caution: chafing ahead

The best thing about training runs is that they give us an opportunity to figure out what works and what doesn't work before race day. With any luck, we'll learn from trial and error about what food, hydration, pacing, clothing, and other strategies work best for us for the distance we're racing.

This weekend I learned one lesson well. (Perhaps a little too well.)

Lesson learned: I will make sure (very, very sure) that I apply Bodyglide or other goo to chafe-prone parts.

In my mad dash to get out of the house on Saturday morning, I forgot this key element of my typical pre-run routine. Now my thighs, toes, and ribcage are very angry at me. They reminded me of my forgetfulness about an hour into my two-hour run. They screamed in anger during my post-run shower. I won't be able to wear a bathing suit in public for at least a week.*

So, to see if there was anything I could do (short of buttering myself like a biscuit in Paula Deen's restaurant), I looked up chafing on MedlinePlus.

I laughed out loud at their advice:
I have to assume this anti-chafing advice was not written by a runner.
  • First of all, cotton fabric is the WORST for running-induced chafing. Ok. Maybe wool is worse. But cotton is pretty horrible. I speak from experience.
  • Second: The "appropriate clothing for the activity" advice directly contradicts bullet point number 1. There is no such thing as 100% cotton cycling shorts.
  • Third: Sure "avoid the activity" sounds great. Oh, wait "unless it is... exercise." What kind of chafing is this person talking about? Ohhhhh.... nevermind.
  • Fourth: Clothing stays neither clean, nor dry, on a two-hour run. This is my proof that the author is a non-runner.
  • Fifth... Ok. Now we're talking. Which brings me back to my original point: BODYGLIDE.
I suppose it's best that I was reminded of this lesson before race weekend. I made this mistake one time several years ago and wound up with wetsuit chafing around my neck after an Olympic-distance tri. (Sand, salt water, and a mis-measured mile swim made for some raw skin... Try explaining that one to the coworkers. "Really! It was from a race!") You'd think that after a stunt like that, I'd never make the mistake again... but at least this time I goofed up in training and not on race day!

Do you have any anti-chafing suggestions?
Have you ever goofed up royally on a training run?

*For those of you who survived Snowtober and can't imagine going to the beach this week: It is still mid-70s and sunny in Florida... But before you get jealous, just remember: summer here is 3-digit temperatures, mosquitoes the size of your cat, and fog-on-the mirrors humid. We get two, maybe three, weeks of truly pleasant weather all year. Don't be jealous.


  1. OUCH! I hate chafing! I use vaseline instead of bodyglide, because its like 50x cheaper.

    Also, if I'm going for a long run, I wear running capris over shorts because chafing is MUCH less likely (they also go well under pretty much any costume).

  2. I hate chafing and tend to chafe like a mother-you-know-what. It's bad. I used to use bodyglide but now I just use vasaline...cheaper and works better for me.

  3. I use vaseline on my toes, but have always used bodyglide everywhere else. (A $2.99 stick has lasted me 3 or 4 years now...)

    I never tried vaseline on other parts because I was always concerned it would get "stuck" on wicking-material clothing and not wash off... But if you're both using it, I presume it washes off just fine?


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