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Chafing and Gus, two neccesary evils.

So it’s odd, because I had always heard and read of others actually chafing when they ran. I didn’t understand this at all and personally thought, “This will never happen to me.” Before beginning training for my first half marathon, the farthest I think I had ever ran was around 6-8ish miles. I had never fortunately had my legs rub together to chafe my thighs, or had any type of chafing at all. I remember my first 12 miler for the half training plan I was on. I never felt any discomfort or pain at all, but right where my sports bra hit my skin on my chest under my boobs I got a rug burn looking like wound. I still didn’t notice it at all until I got into the shower to clean up after my run.

THE BURN. As soon as water hit me I thought, HOLY COW! What is going on. It was a very weird pain especially because I had no idea what had even happened. I felt like I had a cut and I realized that my cotton sports bra had rubbed my skin raw. It was a really good feeling pain in the butt. After the initial shock of what the heck is wrong with me, I realized that yes, I will chafe like the others I’ve heard about. This is when I realized that my most favorite sports bra that was cotton was also causing this problem.

Thought I loved that bra, and I don’t even know how old it was, it was cotton, thus was absorbing my sweat, getting wet and rubbing on my skin and rubbing my skin completely raw. They say the major contribution to chafing is from sweating and rubbing. Some people automatically think that if you chafe, it’s time to lose weight, however EVERYONE CHAFES, so don’t even think that at all. Chafing generally takes place around the groin, underarms and nipples (on guys especially, I’m sure you’ve seen the bloody nipples….), but it can occur anywhere, like under my sports bra, great.

To prevent chafing you can do a few different things. You can try to stay dry, but let’s be honest, how easy is that when your running and sweating? You can also use a lubricant, and wear the proper clothes. I choose to do both of those. I personally use Body Glide under my sports bra and on my feet just in case any chafing might occur. There are many other types, but all you have to do is make sure the lubricants are petroleum-free and non-staining. They can also be used on your feet and toes, in attempt to avoid blisters.

Now, onto my my favorite things, Clothes! Though loosely fitting clothes and materials might feel good at the start, on longer rungs, snugger fitting clothes are key. You might think that bike shorts aren’t for you, but they seriously help with chafing a lot. I have invested in some new sports bras that are wicking materials and also are a spandex/nylon mix. Try to stay away from cotton because that just absorbs moisture. I am IN LOVE with my Zensah Sports Bra in Small/Medium and though it was pricey, it seriously is the best support and I haven’t chafed at all with it.

Once you’re already chafed though, that’s a different story. You should treat the area like a scab, because it will scab up. Mine looked like scales. Try to allow the area to breathe until the skin underneath is healthy again. Chafing is uncomfortable, but at the same time, can also be prevented. I’ve also since my first chafe experience chafed on my thighs, my ankle and my waist from my hydration belt. Running is a learning experience, and yes, these things do happen to everyone! Even myself!

Now onto Gus. Like chafing, I also, for some strange reason, never though I would EVER have to take a gu on a run, and didn’t really understand why people needed them or what type of thing they were. I never took any gus on any half marathon I ran besides I made a valiant attempt at the Kaiser Half I tried to choke down two Power Gels gummy things and since then have learned that these are not the easiest things to eat on a run and as weird and disgusting as it is, I must say that I prefer gus due to their consistency. I personally love the Gu’s Chocolate Love ones because it tastes just like brownie batter! I just think of it like that as it goes down the hatch.

Now obviously, I had to start taking these to fuel myself for the longer runs. Still I don’t take them until I’m running more than 9-11 miles. You can learn more about the Gu Brand here. If I do run 10 miles, I will take one at mile 5. If I run a 20 miler, I take one every four miles.

At first I wasn’t into them because I thought to myself, dang, I don’t want to eat 200 calories of a GU on a run?! But then I realized, I was burning around 800-2,000 calories, so I NEEDED to have something on the run. There are many other brands of “energy gels and gus” but mostly they are a specially formulated mix of complex carbohydrates and water that are used to energize your body while you are exercising. Though it does seem scary eating 200 calories in a little packet, they are so worth it, and can really keep you going.

These little gus are very potent and are used to help your blood sugar stay high so you don’t crash while on your run, but pretty sure around mile 16 I’m crashing no matter what! There are tons of different flavors, sizes, and potencys out there, just make sure that you find some that work for you. Also make sure you are drinking water when you first try them out, because you might get an upset stomach from their potency and the fact that you are still working out.

I never thought I’d be a runner with a hydration belt, gus overflowing from my pouch, and a water bottle full of who knows what, but I so am! I’ve realized that just because I’m young and have had some running experience, doesn’t mean that running rules don’t apply to me! Gus and good sports bras are your best friend once you start upping your mileage.

I found some information on Gus here, and here, and here is a ton of different kinds/flavors.

As for some sweet runners of the day, Borsch is a biker/runner, and recently got engaged, but his weight loss story is super inspiring to me! Glenn is super cool and from Newport Beach. He always works hard no matter what is going on with him, and I like to read about his runs because he keeps it honest. Run for Wine is a hardcore swimmer and is always so positive and fun to read, annnnd TODAY IS HER BIRTHDAY!!! :) Turtles can run is another great runner who is getting her whole family involved. I love her outlook on life. Kim Possible is a marathon FREAK and runs them almost every weekend it seems like. She is the SWEETEST and seriously gets out there and just enjoys running, not worried about her time or anything, I love her outlook on running and life as well. Maria just finished her first marathon and I have followed her journey and she has given me valuable insight as to what to look forward too! D10 has a great running spirit and I love reading her blog too! :)

Tomorrow I will tackle hydration, well what I have learned and perhaps will find some sweet deals for all you workout fiends!


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  • Reply Tara

    Bring on the Gu and down with chafing! haha seriously I was really sucky at taking Gu when I 1st started and this time around it had helped out a TON and keeps my energy up for longer runs!!

    May 20, 2009 at 10:09 am
  • Reply Shannon

    I love Body Glide. I use it on my inner thighs when I run in shorts. It’s a must.

    Also, I use CarbBoom – they’re just like Gu’s. I’ve gotten hooked on their Strawberry Kiwi Flavor and have stuck with it. Tastes really yummy.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:19 am
  • Reply Marlene

    Another EXCELLENT and informative post!

    It took me a long time to get used rto gels and I still find myself gagging them down simetimes, although not as bad as it used to be.

    Totally weird: I went for a dinky little 10-miler last weekend and a sportsbra that I have worn forEVER chafed the crap out of my back. How freaky is that! it hurts like h*ll!

    May 20, 2009 at 10:20 am
  • Reply Amy

    I usually don’t run more than 8 miles, but thanks for the head’s up that I could possibly start chafing once my mileage picks up. I never thought of that!

    Haven’t tried normal Gu yet, but I have some Gu Chunks that taste pretty good (I tried the cranberry apple, I think? It’s red)

    May 20, 2009 at 10:21 am
  • Reply onelittletrigirl

    I LOVE body glide! And it lasts forever too!

    May 20, 2009 at 10:26 am
  • Reply Sarah

    hanks for more great tips. I really need a new sports bra. The ones I have are just soaked by the time I am done running.. and I have a horrible rash on my chest from it. I think I might go look at adidas tomorrow for anew one

    May 20, 2009 at 10:33 am
  • Reply RoadBunner

    I am a minimalist chafer. I only really have problems with shorts (where it hits the front of your thigh) when it is raining. I bought a body glide for such occasions but haven’t had to use it yet (plus now I’d probably wear a skirt on those days which would take care of it).

    I have had bras which chafed me under my boobs and quickly nixed those from the rotation. The ones I use now never chafe me even on long runs. If it chafes, it isn’t for me!

    I am curious about body glide on the feet. That is something that I could benefit from. It doesn’t make your socks all gucky?

    May 20, 2009 at 10:34 am
  • Reply mak'n Changes

    After my 6 mile run last night I got undressed so I could shower and I found that my sports bra was coated in blood! I put neosporin on both chafings. It was crazy to see so much blood.

    May 20, 2009 at 10:41 am
  • Reply X-Country2

    I get the sports bra chaf too, and once I ditched my 5-10 year old cotton sports bras with wicking ones, I’ve really noticed a difference.

    I’m totally with your on the GU. I have to stick to fruit since the thought of brownie batter and frosting (the vanilla ones) make me hurl on long runs. :o)

    May 20, 2009 at 10:48 am
  • Reply Jess

    Just chafed from my sports bra in a spot I’ve never chafed before. Apparently I need to body glide my whole body lol

    May 20, 2009 at 10:48 am
  • Reply Kim

    Awwww…I HEART you!

    Chafing…I usually just use Vaseline and don’t have too many problems. I know what I wear doesn’t chafe as I’ve worn the tried and true time and time again, marathon after marathon. But for some reason, and it wasn’t the heat, nothing was really different last weekend than any other weekend, my favorite sports bra chafed me to heck! I have no idea why. Weird!

    May 20, 2009 at 10:52 am
  • Reply Mrs. Hibit

    I have always had horrible issues with the sports bra chafe. It got really bad in college when we did a lot of training with a plastic heart rate monitor – oh, the agony!
    I have gladly left the HRM in my past, and wear tank-style bras on any long runs. And even so, if I forget to coat with BodyGlide, I come home with a nice little reminder after the run.
    Good post!

    May 20, 2009 at 10:59 am
  • Reply J

    I have chafing in the same spot sometimes when I run. It really can be painful.

    May 20, 2009 at 11:03 am
  • Reply Alisa

    Expresso Love and Vanilla Bean are my faves. I had to learn to love them though at first they made me want to puke =). Now, I almost consider them a treat on the run =).

    I’m all about the bodyglide. For those of us with thighs that touch it’s a must. Sadly, it’s never worked for me feetsy!

    May 20, 2009 at 11:08 am
  • Reply Kathleen

    I’ve never chafed — yet — but my longest run is only about 12 miles. And I don’t sweat a whole lot, which has to help.

    Of course, I’m expecting to any day now.

    May 20, 2009 at 11:14 am
  • Reply RunToFinish

    Gu and I are just not friends. I have found Clif Shot blocks work for me without upsetting my stomach, but no Gu.. oye.

    I have only had 2 major chaffing issues…and yes one was on the leg I guess a windy run moves the shorts about and another on my bra area OUCH

    May 20, 2009 at 11:14 am
  • Reply RissyKay

    Thanks so much for the tips! The last few posts have been really helpful, can’t wait for tomorrow’s post.

    May 20, 2009 at 11:27 am
  • Reply maria k

    aww thanks for the shout out!! thats exciting to hear you are running the SF half. but maybe after your full you will want to run the full in SF, too!! in which case, let me know, and we can make that crazy decision together.

    May 20, 2009 at 11:28 am
  • Reply Holly

    Oh yeah, Body Glide is a runner’s best friend! I use it most under my sports bra and thighs (though you are right about bike shorts helping against that).

    Good tips on Gu too. I learned on longer runs I need to take them more often. So much of running is learning by trial and error isn’t it? I also like Clif Shot blocks and Sports Beans. Some people swear by Hammer gels being easier to digest .

    Just found your delightful blog! Happy running!!

    May 20, 2009 at 11:32 am
  • Reply

    I would chaf on my inner thighs when I started to run. I just figured it was my body telling me to lose some weight! But if skinny girls like you chaf then I guess I was wrong. Thanks for the tips!


    May 20, 2009 at 11:44 am
  • Reply The Reality of Happily Ever After

    I think for the first, oh, I don’t know… 7 paragraphs, I almost didn’t know what you were talking about – LOL — It’s like a whole nother language, running. I’m j/k, but yet, I’m serious — There’s SO MUCH you have to know to make sure it’s all going to go down OK!

    May 20, 2009 at 11:46 am
  • Reply Amber

    I was EXACTLY like you after my first half. I thought, oh I’ve never chafed, and then went to get in the shower and was like OW it burns!! Haha, my cotton sports bra had chafed right under my boobs! My arms also rub if I wear a sleeveless shirt. I’m definitely going to be getting some body glide before my next half!!

    I still haven’t tried GUS but maybe I’ll have to!

    May 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm
  • Reply Denise

    I have never, not once, chaffed!! I think I might be the only one. And I’ve run a marathon and training for 50 miles right now…so it’s not like I’m not running long and far…something just works and I hope it stays that way!

    May 20, 2009 at 12:06 pm
  • Reply ~Mrs. Guru~

    I will have to try some when I get up to that many miles!

    May 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply Candice

    Oh my gosh! I could have written your story about the sports bra chafing myself. I ran my first 16 miler and had no pain (at least none related to chafing:) until I got home and hit the shower where the burning set in. It was some of the worst pain I’ve ever had! I hate chafing!! And you better believe you will find me in spandex shorts if I’m running more than about 6 miles. I still feel a little self conscious in them, but after a couple rounds of thigh chafing you tend not to care anymore!

    I tried gus several times, and I just could not do it. I ended up using mostly shot blocks and sport beans. They were definitely harder to get down quickly, but they actually tasted great!

    This was a great post!

    May 20, 2009 at 12:20 pm
  • Reply Mel -Tall Mom on the Run

    Thanks for the tips…I for one could NEVER have chocolate on my run. I Gu plain, boring I know, but works for me..

    May 20, 2009 at 12:23 pm
  • Reply Brown Eyed Girl

    I seriously love your posts! They are so informative! If..scratch that, WHEN I get up to running that many miles I will definitely be buying the body glide and Gu :)

    May 20, 2009 at 1:13 pm
  • Reply Chad in the AZ Desert

    Gels and sports drinks really do make a big difference during long runs. Better to run with a little extra weight than to not have them when you need them.

    May 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm
  • Reply P.O.M.

    You’re so cute.
    My first chafing was in a weird spot too – on my waist band – from the stupid string that holds your shorts up. Now I have to rip them out. Weird, huh?

    I can’t do Gu – the consistancy grosses me out. I chew the squares and they have caffeine!! It’s hard to get down sometimes, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

    May 20, 2009 at 4:50 pm
  • Reply D10

    I just started with the gels again and Hammer Gels seem to work for me. I hate jumping in the shower and realizing I forgot to bodyglide a spot.

    Thanks for the shout out! I love your blog, especially your honesty.

    May 20, 2009 at 5:15 pm
  • Reply The Happy Runner

    Ohhhhhhh, owwwwww, I hate that water on fresh chafe feeling! EEK!

    May 20, 2009 at 5:41 pm
  • Reply littlesack

    1. LOVE body glide.
    2. I just tried the chocolate gu the other day and my first thought was that it tastes like brownie batter! It may be my new fav.

    May 20, 2009 at 6:39 pm
  • Reply Susan

    My sports bra doesn’t usually chafe until 18+ miles (if at all), but when it does, it hurts!! I can’t imagine what it would be like to chafe on a regular basis.

    I can’t eat Gus to save my life, but I am a HUGE fan of Honey Stinger Energy Chews. Just like candy.

    May 20, 2009 at 7:14 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    your blog is like my story! My first time running 8 miles I was wearing my favorite sports bra from college. Cotton & sweat don't mix! I used gus for my first time last week, just before my first 1/2 and while i feel a tad guilty for using thiem, I can't get over how much they help. I like the lemon lime flavor best.

    May 20, 2009 at 7:38 pm
  • Reply The Running Knitter

    Body Glide is my choice too. Great post!

    May 20, 2009 at 8:05 pm
  • Reply Middalia Wayman

    Thanks for the shout out! And both Gus and bodyglide or vaseline are essentials on long runs for me. Not wearing my heart rate monitor on long runs has stopped the chafing in the bra area for me.

    May 20, 2009 at 8:13 pm
  • Reply KBroome

    Thank you for writing about gus. I had been so curious! I tried the jelly beans yesterday and wasn’t sure if I liked them or not. I love your blog! It is an added insperation to my running!

    May 21, 2009 at 6:19 am
  • Reply JenZen

    I agree – the chocolate gu is the best! I didn’t chafe either until hitting upper mileage and it was under my arms where my sleeveless shirt rubbed – a shirt a wore ALL the time. And I had to break down and become a hydration belt wearer too. I felt silly the first time wearing it, but it was a lifesaver on those long summer runs. Thanks for the bra info too! I’m always on the hunt for a good sports bra.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:22 am
  • Reply Jenn

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks that gus are yummy! I think they taste like icing. I love icing.

    May 21, 2009 at 6:48 am
  • Reply kristen

    Thaks for the shoutout. Your sweet. I can see why you have soooo many followers.

    I’m right there with ya on the sports bra chaffe. When the water hits it — Yeoooow. I have a permanent mark now even though I use Body Glide. I think I might get that Zansah sports bra. I’m ready to try a new brand. Thanks for the recommendation

    May 21, 2009 at 7:08 am
  • Reply Glenn Jones

    Thanks for the shout Danica! One thing you females don’t have to worry about that us guys do – nipple chafe. Some day I’ll post my pictures from SD RnR last year. It wasn’t pretty.

    I’m with you on Gus! I have enough trouble putting one foot in front of the other. Chewing and running at the same time would be catastrophic. I love Vanilla Bean and Espresso Gu. Pick them up from the Sports Nutrition Store over in Costa Mesa. In fact, I need to recharge my stash! C ya later!

    May 21, 2009 at 8:23 am
  • Reply Tara Gibson

    i love that you give these secrets! I am going to try that stuff

    May 21, 2009 at 8:50 am
  • Reply joyRuN

    Totally hate getting into the shower & being surprised by the chafe burn that I didn't pick up!

    Now that I'll be sweating like a beast in this heat, I definitely CANNOT forget the Bodyglide.

    May 21, 2009 at 11:29 am
  • Reply aron

    love me some body glide and gu :)

    May 21, 2009 at 11:54 am
  • Reply Casey

    ugh. I chafe on my thighs. It’s terrible. Body Glide helps a lot. If I forget it, I slather myself in diaper-rash ointment at night and usually it’s much better in the morning.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:47 am
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