Keeping your assets in gear: cutting (to the) chafe

In my previous Getting in Gear post, I discussed shoes, watches music and headphones. Today we’ll tackle some other “must-have” and “nice-to-have” items, particularly those that help prevent that foe to those with fast feet: chafing. And just to be clear, this blog is not sponsored at this time. I do not receive any compensation from brands mentioned here. I just like this stuff based on my own purchases and experimentation.

  • Running Shoes
  • GPS watch
  • Music
  • Headphones
  • Anti-chafing cream
  • Socks
  • Sports bra
  • Anti-chafing shorts or leggings
  • Hydration belt or vest
  • Fuel for long runs
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses

First, a few words about chafing. It’s kind of awful and happens to runners of all sizes. While it’s a bigger issue for runners in bodies with larger dimensions, it can leave anyone smarting for days, and it’s avoidable. As a newbie runner, nobody warned me about this. I didn’t even realize it was a thing until after my first half-marathon when I climbed into the shower and suddenly felt a ring of fire around my waist, where my leggings had chafed a ring around my entire middle. Ouch. Many mistakes later I’ve learned when and where I need to use chafing cream. (Hint: a lot of not very glamorous places.)

Anti-chafing cream: You can buy lubricant / anti-chafing products at any running or sporting goods store. One of the biggest brands is Glide, but I have to say I’m not a fan. It comes in a tube that looks like deodorant. It’s kind of waxy and hard to apply, and I don’t care for the smell. I found a cream that I really like when I attended the expo at my local marathon a few years ago. Chafex is a small brand that sells just one powerful product. Their cream retails for $24.95. It’s easy to apply, survives harsh conditions (like rain and sweat), and very effective! You can get it on Amazon, but I recommend going straight to the Chafex website. It’s the same price there, and the last time I ordered from them, they sent me an extra tube as a bonus, plus I got a personal note from their president along with my order.

Chafex anti-chafing cream

Socks: Good running socks fit snugly and are your first line of defense against blisters. Stay away from mostly-cotton socks by all means and stick to purpose-designed running socks. I like the Hidden Comfort socks by Balega because they are: A. really cute, and B. have lots of cushioning. My daughter recently borrowed a pair and said “Oooh, they’re like walking on a cloud!”

Wall of Socks!

Sports Bra: (Guys, feel free to skip to the end of this section where I mention nipple covers. Ladies, strap in.) A good sports bra is a necessity, and sadly they are not cheap. This is one of those times when more “endowed” runners will need to invest in high impact bras. Lots of bouncing is uncomfortable, distracting, and for sure can bring on that nemesis, chafing. I have some high impact bras from Fabletics. They’re cute, but to be honest I don’t love love them. There is no way to adjust them, and they end up having gaps in funny places. I do hear women raving about Shefit bras, although I don’t own one. This is another company that focuses on just one product, so they are very motivated to get it right. Shefit bras are fully adjustable and have an extra layer with a zipper in the front for more stability. Just be prepared for some sticker shock though, because they do start around $65.

Nipple covers. OK… I didn’t know these were a thing until I started running. For men with prominent nipples, it’s not uncommon to get chafing caused by all the friction of a running shirt bouncing up and down over the course of a long run. I once saw a man at the end of a race with streams of blood running down his shirt. It looked incredibly painful. So… you can buy inexpensive nipple covers at your local running store, but I bet some strategically placed Band-aids would do the job just as well.

Shorts or Leggings: Again I will stick with our anti-chafing theme here. Unless you’re a naturally wiry person with a non-photoshopped thigh gap (I’ll try not to hate on you), this is for you. I generally look for tight-fitting shorts or leggings that won’t slide down during my run. The worst thing that could happen to you is allowing your thighs to rub together. It always ends badly. Look for shorts with lots and lots of spandex. I also like high-waisted shorts that keep my belly in place. Maybe it’s just personal preference but I look for every opportunity to reduce the jiggle.

We still have a few more categories to cover on the running gear rundown, but since the announcement of Springtime Surprise races is imminent, you might have to hold your breath for a minute before we get to hydration, fueling and sun protection!

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