There comes a time in every runner’s life that they’re faced with the dreaded ‘C’ word. That’s right, I’m going there. Today we’re talking about CHAFE.
If you’ve yet to experience chafing, consider yourself lucky. It’s not a pretty sight. I’ve fallen victim to chafing time and again and it doesn’t feel awesome. So how can you stay chafe-free and running happy? Let’s find out.
FYI: This is not a sponsored post. But this post contains affiliate links for products I use and swear by.
Got Chafe? Must Lube! How to Avoid Chafing
A brief introduction for those of you that haven’t been afflicted with The Chafe. Chafing occurs when the skin is rubbed raw during athletic activity.
Chafing can happen due to clothing being too tight or restrictive, a piece of fabric touching skin in just the “right” way to cause excessive rubbing, or by simply being too wet and sweaty. Friction, restriction, and wet skin are all contributors to chafing. If you don’t want to chafe, you must address those factors.
How do you avoid chafing in the first place?
There are some super easy precautions you can take to avoid chafing.
1. Start out clean.
First, start your run clean. It might sound gross, but we’re all runners here, right? We do and talk about gross things all the time. Instead of starting off your run sweaty and salty, start off with clean skin. Not having excess oils or residues on your skin will help to keep it chafe-free.
2. Lube up — a lot!
Second, lube up. A lot. More than you think. Slather it on nice and thick. And try to lube up as close to your run time as possible. Sometimes if you lube up too early you don’t get quite as much protection.
Some good ones to try include:
If you find one brand of lube doesn’t work, try another one. Keep trying until you find one that works for you. And don’t be afraid to try another one later down the line if your tried-and-true stops working!
3. Run far, pack lube!
If you’re planning on running far, do yourself a favor and pack some extra lube. You may recall my chafe-fest a couple weeks ago. I was lucky I had a stash of lube in my pack. Otherwise I would have been toast. Pro tip: you can buy small packs of Trail Toes for this exact reason!
4. Wear appropriately fitting clothing.
Word to the wise: if your clothes are too tight, you have a high probability of chafing. And it won’t be pretty. Thighs, groin, underarms, bra line — make sure whatever it is fits how it’s supposed to or you’ll be sorry!
5. Refresh your fabrics with a vinegar wash.
I have a theory. I haven’t tested it and it’s not scientific. But I have one nonetheless. My theory goes like this: after a certain number of wears (or years?) of a fabric, the fabric begins to break down. Be it from sweat, lube, or even laundry detergent, I’m convinced fabric changes over time. What does this mean? It means a pair of shorts that were perfectly comfortable and amazing for the first two years of wear could suddenly become the cause of your uncomfortable chafe!
How to remedy this situation? Wash your garment in a hot water/vinegar bath. Soak it for several minutes to neutralize leftover residue from sweat or lube. Rinse and lay flat to dry. After this wash, use a gentle sports detergent to launder your athletic apparel going forward.
6. Get out of wet clothes — stat!
After a long, hard run — the kind of run where you’re wet from head to toe — it’s best to get the heck out of your wet running clothes. The longer you sit in hot, wet, salty, runner stink, the higher your chances are of catching The Chafe. If you’re going out to breakfast with friends after a run, pack some sports wipes and a fresh change of clothes.
Repeat after me: I will not sit around in wet clothes.
Hopefully by doing a little preventative work, and possibly some maintenance if you’ve already chafed, you’ll be in the clear of running pain-free for a long, long time!
Have you chafed?
Do you have a trick you swear by to avoid The Chafe?
Also linking up with Wild Workout Wednesdays.