I’ve always felt unstoppable when I’m running until I started preparing for a marathon. All of the great benefits I generally get from running were sustained during the early phases of my training: the joyful sensation of a runner, the endorphins I get after hammering a hard hill, and yes, an excuse to eat. I have an extra pair of tights.
But once my running distances increased to more than 13 miles at a time, I began to discover red scuff marks in my post-race shower (uncovering may be a good way of stating bloody murder screams for the water that hits my burned flesh ). They were exposed in my armpits and my lower back where my leggings have a pocket. My inner thighs took a beating and at some point, I decided to wear shorts.
With race day fast approaching, I knew I had to put an end to my irritations and fast. So I decided to ask a couple of long-distance runners what they wear themselves. Their recommendations helped me figure out my own plan – I ended up using a combination of Vaseline on my toes and Tri Slide spray basically everywhere else. I had periods of rain and sun on race day and managed to be scuff-free when I crossed the finish line. (My toes had a couple of blisters from the wetness, but hey, after 26 miles, that’s a tough battle to win.)
Here’s the entire list of balms, sprays, and creams they recommended to me if you’re looking for a true anti-chafing solution.
Run Guard, $12
Buy it: $12, Amazon.com
My option to stop irritating me is Run Guard. I explode it on my inner thighs and lower back (just below the waistband of my shorts), as well as my lower arms where they could rub against my shirt or sports bra. I really like that it’s easy to use, it doesn’t get messy or greasy, and it doesn’t stain my clothes.
Lush Ultrabalm, $17
Buy it: $17, Lushusa.com
I usually use Body Glide balm and have not bothered to say goodbye. But a lover recently gave me Ultrabalm from Lush as a gift, so I also use it here and there. It’s a bit more expensive because it’s handcrafted from natural ingredients like rose wax, but it works great too.
Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick, $14
Buy it: $14, Target.com
Aside from the attractive packaging, what I appreciate best about the Megababe Thigh Rescue Anti-Chafe Stick is the light consistency. I use it before all of my long runs, whether I’m wearing shorts or tights, and I’m confident I’ll have no difficulties. The citrus aroma is also quite pleasant.
Chamois Butt’r Original Anti-Chafe Cream, $10
Buy it: $10, Amazon.com
I’m a half-marathoner and triathlete preparing for my first full marathon (New York, what’s up!). Butt’s had previously been my go-to for bicycling and running; I like it since it’s non-greasy but yet protects the flesh on my thighs and bra line. I know it will help me go over 26.2 because it holds up after being in the water during a triathlon.
Toms Sport Shield for Her, $14
Buy it: $14, Amazon.com
When I run longer distances or play hockey, I wear 2Toms for Her largely around my bra line and on my thighs. The consistency is similar to that of a roll-on deodorant, which makes it ideal for quick application.
Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly Skin Protectant, $6 for 2
Buy it: $6 For Two, Amazon.com
The weather forecast for the 2015 Boston Marathon predicted severe rain. I Googled “anti-chafing for running in the rain” the night before the race, and the first result was Vaseline; I haven’t used anything else since. I use it whenever a clothes seam comes into contact with my skin, my toes, and my butt (how glam is that?).
Body Glide, $10
I like Body Glide because it is clean and easy to use. I wear it in my sports bra and therefore my lower back, a strange place, but I train with a hydration pack and if I’m running in a sports bra, it will irritate me where the lower part of the body hits. back.
Trail Toes, $13
Buy it: $13, Amazon.com
I even have a combination: I use KT tape under my bra band, back and front (this can be a serious lifesaver!), Trail Toes on my toes and the sides of my feet, and Body Glide on all the others.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment, $5
Buy it: $5, Amazon.com
I frequently use 2Toms, but I also use Aquaphor for lengthy marathons and training runs. It’s extremely important around my armpits and around the seams of my sports bra, especially where it rubs the most.
Squirrel’s Nut Butter, $5-14
Buy it: $5–14, Amazon.com
I love the Squirrel Spread Balm. It’s smooth and easy to appear evenly on my skin, compared to some harder sticks I’ve tried. I take advantage of it as an anti-chafing, totally on the fresh stains under the side seams of my sports bra and therefore on the lower part of my arms, where the skin could rub during the swing of my arm. It is also excellent as a moisturizer for dry skin.
Bag Balm, $7
Buy it: $7, Amazon.com
Bag Balm keeps my clothes fresh on dry and dusty runs as a trail runner in Colorado. My arm scrapes against the inside of my sports bra or shirt, so it’s mostly worn under my armpits. A few summers back, I ran the Leadville Trail 100 and found it to be really useful.
Tri Slide Anti-Chafe Spray, $15
Buy it: $15, Amazon.com
Tri Slide is my favorite spray because it allows me to succeed in those hard-to-reach places like the top of my neck (for my wetsuit) and therefore the back of my arms (for my sports bra). It helped me get through a Half Ironman and a marathon last fall with no chafing.
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