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.
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!