How To Tackle Chaffing

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Chaffing, the runner's nemesis. Painful and prone to rearing its irritating head at the most inopportune moments, it's something that's been plaguing me recently. Or more specifically plaguing my inner thighs recently! 

I'm no stranger to a bit of chaffing, because of a skin condition there are areas on my back and chest where the skin is prone to breaking with even the smallest amount of irritation, but  I don't normally realise until I'm back from my run and feel that familiar sting of hot water on a wound. What's going on between my legs is something quite different. Within a mile or two my thighs will be chaffed raw, sore and stinging, willing me not to carry on lest they become more inflamed. It is beyond frustrating. I've never experienced anything quite like it. 

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Thankfully I don't appear to be on my own with this one! Talking with friends it seems like most people have a chaffing horror story or two...

I once finished a half marathon in shorts and my thighs were bleeding, I just sat on the floor and cried. A mix of self pity and frustration, but it happens to the best of us - Katie, Cake vs. Scales

Took a chunk out of my chest between my boobs with sports bra chafing on my first half marathon. It was both disgusting and painful. I had to use one of those massive foot blister plasters for ages and I really struggled to wear a bra (which, with massive norks, was a world of discomfort all by itself)! Bizarrely never happened again despite not changing bra or anything - Jem, Jemjabella

I once chafed so badly during a soaking 22 mile training run that I bled and couldn't wear a bra to work the next day. I still have scars on my back from a chafing camel bak on a 20 mile run in Portugal 3 years ago - Charlie, The Runner Beans

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Thankfully the hive mind also had a few tried and tested tips for preventing chaffing so that you can get on with your run without feeling like you've taken a cheese grater to your inner thighs! 

1. use some form of lubricant - whether it's cheap and cheerful Vasaline, Body Glide or something with a catchy name (Hoo Ha Ride Glide or Gurney Goo!), the consensus was to find something that works for you and apply it liberally anywhere that you think you might possibly chafe. Key sites include (but are not limited to); bra straps, bra chest band, inner arms, inner thighs, butt, around the waistband of your shorts...the list could go on! 

2. decent undies - quick drying pants that are designed for sport were at the tops of a lot of people's list. After a particularly nasty bout of butt chaffing last year at The Royal Parks Half I invested in some of these pants from Decathlon and I can say they are a game changer. Other options include Runderwear and Primark bikini cut knickers also rated pretty highly!

3. go pant free - at the other end of the spectrum some people swear that going commando is the solution when it comes to preventing chafing! Goes to show it is all about what works for you! 

4. long lycra shorts - whether you wear them alone, or layer some shorts over the top, long lycra shorts are a lifesaver if you have inner thigh chaffing! I recently invested in a pair and they are a game changer, yep my legs look like hams, but I love how comfy they are to run in! 

5. wrap your HR monitor in a plaster - Alison drew my attention to this genius idea from DC Rainmaker's wife and it is a game changer if you find your chest strap is gouging lumps out of you! So cunning, and cheap! 

What are your top tips when it comes to preventing the dreaded chaffing? 

**images by Anna Rachel Photography**