Ahhh, that time of year, when you step outside, and your black soles melt to the pavement. That time…when you just feel the sweat build in your armpits and neck area just by putting your shoes on in the morning/afternoon/night/dead of night (just to stay cool). And yes…that time of year when the excess moisture and heat provide such a wonderful side effect of excessive running and body shape…CHAFING!
Growing up, I had no idea that chafing was…well…called chafing! I just thought it was an unbelievably uncomfortable thing that occurred when you worked out too much (probably the reason I never really got into sports heavily until I was older). And I sure as heck didn’t know that there were actual solutions to this wonderful thing that causes hair to never grow in certain areas on my body ever again (silky smooth after so many years of running…I know…I know…TMI…but I am just trying to make a point here).
So what is chafing? If you haven’t experienced it yet…be blessed. If you have…well you know that it’s just the most wonderful thing in the world…(taking from my former 90’s version of myself)…not! Try taking two pieces of wet paper towels, and rubbing them together vigorously…what happens? They fall apart and actually tear apart….right? Now try that, and imagine the paper towels are your underarms, thighs, neck areas, or wherever else this might happen. The only problem is that the tension from the paper towels breaks (or dies) after so long….your skin won’t do that…it just gets more and more irritated with each subsequent “rub!”
Now, you can absolutely do something about this. It’s actually quite simple, and if you do it as a part of your routine, it actually works out. It just took me over 10 years to figure this out. So for the first 10 years of my running career, I dealt with this just horrible feeling on longer runs (usually anything over 6.5 miles…which if you’re training and over training for multiple half marathons over those years…these runs are quite often).
So what is the solution…kids hold your eyes and ears…lube up! No….not with that. Basically you need to make certain areas of your body greasier than a piece of corn on the cob on the 4th of July! The old adage…and the one that seems to still be used quite frequently today…is plain ol Vaseline. This guy works great in gunking your working parts. Since then…there have been hundreds of variations on this basically taking the roll/deodorant stick concept and tweaking the ingredients to make something that works for them. The one that I use is either body glide or the ironman version. Both seem to work great…but one of them had a real weird odor to it that made my shorts smell like gooey moldy something (sorry I forget which one…been a while since I’ve actually had to use it).
“Here comes the sun….do do do do…” and the heat…and the humidity…and the build-up of excess sweat and gunk…and well…the rubbing and chafing. If you control it, you won’t even notice it. But trust me, it really is awful. So the next time you have everything all packed and ready to go for your nice long run…do me a favor and roll on some ol greasy oil…you’ll thank me later…and just for safeties sake…look down…and lace up!