How do I prevent chafing during marathon training? (Post 2: Essential running gear)

chafing_preventionWatch a few runners cross the finish line with bloody shirts, and you’ll never run without these two items again. Ouch.  Listen up!  This post continues our series on the running gear every marathoner needs.  Today we will discuss two of my favorite running inventions to prevent chafing from running…You might recall a previous post about chafing.  Chafed skin goes hand in hand with marathoning and it is majorly uncomfortable.  In fact, if it gets bad enough, it can cause you to bleed or not be able to finish your run.  Fear not, there are two key items in your arsenal against chafe.  Anti-chafing balm and nipple chafing guards.  Here’s what you need to know:


  • Prevent nipple chafing
  • Prevent blisters
  • Prevent chafed skin everywhere else (thighs, arm pits, chest, back, shoulders)


  • Balms
  • Gels
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Band-aids (liquid or adhesive)
  • Duct tape
  • Nipple guards (circular cover that adheres to the nipple)

chafing_prevention_toolsWhat to look for: 

What works!  The biggest problem I’ve found is that most of these aren’t long-lasting.  Excepting nipple guards, none of these has proven 100% effective for me in preventing chafing.  Anti-chafing balm is the longest lasting in my experience.  Whatever you use, really layer it on, and do so everywhere that skin rubs against skin or clothing.  The best protection comes from using a combination of anti-chafing balm, nipple guards and clothes that prevent rubbing in the areas that chafe the most (thighs, armpits, etc.).


Other considerations:

  • Availability (some options are easier to find than others)
  • Larger quantities (I use a LOT of balm, so I buying the largest size is most economical/efficient)
  • Easy to apply (I prefer the deodorant like applicators)
  • Travel-sized packaging (I carry a travel-sized balm with me while I run/race)


  • Anti-chafing balms and other treatments help prevent blisters, too!  Put these all over your feet, and say goodbye to blisters!
  • For the guys, shaved chests allow anti-chafe products to last longer and hurt less when removed.
  • Apply your anti-chafing balm, and then put on your running clothes.  Reapply more balm to any areas where the clothes touch a sensitive part of the skin or itch/rub.
  • Balm, gel and jelly can stain light colored chairs and sofas.  Once you’ve applied them, don’t sit on your nice furniture!

Want to know more about chafing from running?  Check out my post previous about it hereStay tuned for part three of this series when we’ll discuss the inner workings of the running bra!

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