The Casual Runner

Getting Started: Stop the Chafe

Casual runners have a lot of, um, interesting terms. We also tend to overshare (which is a good thing, as it helps other runners be prepared for what may come to them). When you combine the two, you tend to get some confused looks from non-runners and helpful advice. Take these common running terms for instance:

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Avoid race day disaster, be prepared.

– The Turkey is done.
– The timers popped.
– Glass cutter.
– Wearing jersey number 11.

The thing about all of these terms is that they pretty much mean the same thing, and this is exactly the time of year that runners should be aware of them, especially the men.  So, boys, this article is for you.

What happens when you combine cool or cold running temperatures, long distance runs, and warm weather running attire? Yup, chafing. And not just any chafing, nipple chafing. Ok, get the giggling out of your system, its ok, we will wait. Better now?

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Casual Runners must adjust to cooler temps with the changing seasons.

We had some conversations with some newer female Casual Runners earlier this year, and they did not realize that this was a thing, let alone a big deal. But it is, and it can be easily prevented, if you are paying attention. So we wanted to make sure our readers are aware of the chafing problem, all of the chafing problems (not just bloody socks).

Let start with simple anatomy, men have nipples too. We know, they aren’t super interesting, but they are there nonetheless. During Fall race season (and parts of Spring race season too), the temperatures are warm enough that a singlet or short sleeve tech shirt is all that most Casual Runners need to wear during long runs and races, BUT the temperatures are also cool enough that men’s nipples start popping up (yes, we are being all scientific with our terms here, we know).

The result? Over the course of a long run, the rubbing of the shirt on guys’ nipples causes irritation, discomfort, and, when it gets bad enough, bleeding.  This is painful and even embarrassing as the blood, although usually relatively minimal, can be visible as it soaks through the shirt, making for some awkward race day photos (we will spare you from these, but if you really want to see them, you know how to do a Google image search).  Even Team Casual Runner falls victim to this, remember what happened to Mike during the Marine Corps Marathon?

The best thing to do is to take preventative steps to keep this from happening to you. Here are some simple ones:

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The sun will not be the only thing popping up this race season…oh yes, we went there.

– Use a body lubricant such as Body Glide or Rocket Pure.  Apply these generously to the nipples and surrounding areas. Bear in mind that as you sweat your shirt will rub more and more against your skin, so you want to make sure that you are sufficiently covered that you do not leave any bare areas.

– Wear band aids, which seems to be the method of choice for many Casual Runners as it affords the most, longest-lasting protection. Any size or shape will do, provided that each band aid fully covers each nipple.  One tip, if you are using the long, rectangular ones (as opposed to circle or square shapes), you may want to apply them vertically.  If you apply them horizontally, the rubbing of your shirt up and down may cause the edges of the strip to catch on the shirt.

– Wear a base layer.  A base layer may eliminate the chaffing altogether, however, the reason that this is such a big problem in the Fall and Spring race seasons is that, while the temps are cool enough to cause this problem, they may be too warm to warrant wearing a base, which can cause you to overheat during your run.

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If you cannot see that male runners took steps to protect their nipples in cooler weather, that means they did it right.

Now, we guys do not always remember this as we head out the door on race morning. So, ladies and male running buddies, this is where you come in. Please, if you can, remind your male running buddies to take precautions before they head out the door.  If you are dating or married to your running buddy, you will both be glad that you provided a helpful reminder. If neither of your remembers before you head out the door, you still have some options.

First, many runners have race day go bags with all everything they need, make sure to always keep extra band aids or body glide in this bag.

Second, if all else fails, when you get to the race, look for the first-aid tent, they will gladly share some band aids with you.

Good luck this race season, and, please do remember to avoid wearing jersey number 11 when the timers are popping up (cue the groans).

If you need some help getting started or keeping yourself going, Casual Runner is here for you. Here are some of the features we have shared in our Getting Started series:

– Help in finding ways to motivate yourself, even when you are lacking motivation.

– Our checklist of the top 10 things you need to know to get up and get on your way to becoming a Casual Runner.

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– Ask yourself: where is your own personal starting line?

– You need to buy the right pair (or pairs) of running shoes, because a good pair of running shoes are, after all, a Casual Runner’s best friend.

– Recommendations for picking your first race, the Top 10 Things to Know In Selecting a RunDisney Event, and my Top 10 Reasons Why I Run to runDisney.

– A look back on the Team’s New Year’s Resolutions and a reminder of the need to stay positive.

– The importance of keeping your Casual Running adventure in perspective and finding your stride.

The Casual Runner Team wants to hear from you. If you have any questions about anything we cover here on Casual Runner, if you have any questions regarding running gear or training for your own Casual Running needs, or if there is anything that you would like us to cover on Casual Runner, please leave a comment or email us using the links below.  To ensure that you do not miss all of the great content from Casual Runner, please be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and add us to your circle on Google+.  See you out on the running trails!  

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2 thoughts on “Getting Started: Stop the Chafe

  1. Pingback: The Casual Runner | TriSlide Anti-Friction Skin Lubricant - The Casual Runner

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