Smooth Strides: Dealing with Chafing During Long Runs


For runners, few things can derail the euphoria of a long run like the sting of chafed skin. Chafing, caused by friction between your clothes and skin, can turn a blissful run into an uncomfortable experience. But fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes of chafing and share effective strategies to prevent and deal with it during your long runs. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a beginner, these tips will keep your skin smooth and your runs enjoyable. So, let’s dive in and make every stride chafe-free!

Understanding Chafing: Causes and Prevention

1. Moisture-Wicking Apparel

The key to preventing chafing is keeping your skin dry. Invest in moisture-wicking apparel made from synthetic materials that draw sweat away from your skin. Avoid cotton, which retains moisture, and opt for breathable, quick-drying fabrics to reduce friction.

2. Proper Fit and Fabric

Wearing loose or tight clothing can contribute to chafing. Choose well-fitted, seamless garments that reduce rubbing against your skin. Look for flat seams or garments with bonded seams that minimize friction. Additionally, consider compression shorts or tights that provide support and reduce movement during your runs.

3. Lubrication Is Your Friend

One of the most effective ways to prevent chafing is to use lubricants. Apply anti-chafing balms, creams, or petroleum jelly to areas prone to friction, such as thighs, underarms, nipples, and sports bra lines. These products create a protective barrier, reducing the risk of chafed skin.

4. Choose the Right Undergarments

Invest in moisture-wicking, seamless underwear designed for sports activities. Opt for styles that provide coverage and support without causing irritation. For women, a well-fitted, supportive sports bra is essential to prevent chafing around the chest area.

5. Stay Hydrated and Dry

Sweating is inevitable during long runs, but staying hydrated can help reduce excessive sweating. Carry a water bottle or hydrate at regular intervals. Additionally, bring a small towel to pat yourself dry if you start to feel overly sweaty. Keeping your skin as dry as possible is key to preventing chafing.

6. Test Your Gear

Before embarking on a long run, test your gear during shorter training sessions. This allows you to identify any potential friction points and make necessary adjustments. Pay attention to areas where your clothing rubs against your skin and take preventive measures before your long runs.

7. Adjust Your Running Form

Sometimes, chafing occurs due to specific movements or posture during running. Experiment with your running form, stride length, and arm positioning. Small adjustments can reduce friction and alleviate chafing in problematic areas.

8. Carry Spare Clothing

If you’re planning an exceptionally long run, consider carrying spare clothing. Changing into fresh, dry gear during a mid-run break can provide instant relief and prevent further chafing. Pack lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing in your running backpack or hydration belt.


Chafing might be a common nuisance for runners, but with the right strategies, it’s entirely preventable. By investing in proper gear, lubricating vulnerable areas, and staying dry, you can make chafing a thing of the past. Remember, each run is an opportunity to learn more about your body and refine your approach. With these tips, you can confidently lace up your running shoes, hit the pavement, and enjoy your long runs without the discomfort of chafed skin. Smooth strides and happy running!

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