How to avoid Runners Nipple

How to avoid Runners Nipple

If you have been running for any length of time, and particularly if your panchent is for the longer distance, chances are you will have experienced nipple chafing so painful after a run that your chest feels like it’s been brushed against a cheese grater! Not nice and Not cool. Whilst the spectacle of your blood-streaked shirt is eliciting horror from spectators and underscoring the truly heroic effort you have just delivered "for them"... On balance it's just a right pain. 

So what's to be done?

Any form of chafing is simply the result of friction that occurs when skin rubs against itself or clothing. And whilst highly unlikely to be life threatening, it is certainly painful enough to warrant some attempts at prevention.

Prevention = Protection

You can try using a waterproof adhesive bandage across each nipple, but sweat might make them come loose, and for some of us more "hairy" specimens then removing the bandage might be a further level of suffering. Give some thought to the garments you run in, some of the newer soft technical fabric products work significantly better.

But if you want the gold standard for those monster male nipples that are tough to protect, then the Gold Standard "Nothing Is Rubbing My Nipples" has to be NipGuards. These invaluable little God sends are small, round adhesive pads that cover your nipples. Pack a few extras in case they come off in the middle of your run or race (although that has never happened to me... #JustSaying). They are designed for single use but are good enough to last a triathlon or marathon.

A different option is Leaping Fish Runners Rub, a lubricant made especially for athletes that reduces friction in areas prone to chafing like nipples, thighs, and underarms. They make equally effective products for cyclists and triathletes too... all of whom share our "pain" when it comes to the sore subject of chaffing.

More ways to avoid chafing

1. Ditch cotton: It absorbs sweat and stays wet. Wear synthetic, sweat-wicking fabrics. The layers of clothing closest to the skin should be a moisture-wicking fabric, delivering sweat away from the body and minimizing rubbing or irritation.

2. Go seamless: Seams and tags on a T-shirt or bra can cause irritation.

3. Get a proper fit: A too-snug sports bra can dig in; the excess material of a baggy T-shirt can rub you raw. Make sure you choose underwear, socks and base layers with an ergonomic fit, that's just right. Loose-fitting garments, combined with sweat will increase the chances of rubbing. That said, feet can swell when running, particularly in hot weather, so it’s good to wear apparel with a certain amount of give.

4. Protect your legs: Compression shorts or running tights can protect your inner thighs from abrasions.

5. Cover ‘em up: Nipple protection is critical for men. NipGuards are the Gold Standard and frankly worth more than any amount of money! 

6. Get greasy: Apply lubricant to chafe-prone body parts. Vaseline is a classic salve, and it’s cheap but it contains petroleum jelly, which might stain gear and can’t be used on neoprene wetsuits in a triathlon. Proper sports lubes are designed for the job and are relatively inexpensive.

7. Hydrate: Few people associate hydration with stopping chaffing. If you are dehydrated, your body is unable to flush salts away from your skin as easily. Drink lots of sports hydration drinks (NOT just plain water) before, during and after exercise, allowing you to perspire freely so the perspiration doesn't dry into salt crystals that can enhance the chafing.



Credit: Photo by Leandro Boogalu 

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