What causes chafing? 5 easy ways to prevent it!

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Chafing is caused when skin rubs against sweaty skin over and over again. Normally this occurs during the warmer summer months but can easily occur in the colder months as well. There are several different areas that are susceptible to chafing. These are:

  • Groin area (mainly men)
  • Inner thighs
  • Armpits – due to sweat glands
  • Under-breast area
  • nipples
  • feet

Race day Chafing

It’s time to fly my humiliation flag. Guess which one I’m the most susceptible to on race day? That’s right, nipples? “Huh,” you might ask. My chafing was only occurring on race day when the race was a half marathon plus. The culprit for me was my race bib. The extra weight of my race bib plus the compounding of sweat build up on the front of my shirt tugging down which was causing more friction with each stride. What’s worse is that most of the time you don’t even know chafing has occurred until after the race or even the next day.

To eliminate my nipple chafing I simply moved my bib down to my upper thigh on my shorts to help prevent the reoccurrence.

Chafing is sneaky

You might not even know that your thighs have been a victim of the chafe until days later. Your legs might appear red, however the pain doesn’t set it until 24-48 hours after the chafing has occurred. To prevent further chafing you need to apply some type of anti-chafe lubricant on your skin.

Loose Clothing = more chafing

Contrary to popular belief loose clothing especially shorts can be a contributor to chafing during longer runs. When you wear loose shorts with no spandex or compression tights underneath you’re exposing your body to skin versus skin rubbing which ultimately can lead to chafing. The key is to minimize any type of possible skin rubbing.


Salt Crystals

When you sweat and you’ve not hydrated adequately the sweat quickly starts forming sweat crystals due to evaporation. The salt crystals form an almost gritty like sandpaper further causing more chafing and more pain. Keep your areas dry and keep hydrated to prevent salt crystal formation on your skin.

Anti-Chafing Lubricants

Body Glide (Amazon affiliate link)

Chamois Butt’r Original Anti-chafe Cream (Amazon affiliate link)


For more items that you should have on your half marathon race day, check out this post: Essential gear you’ll need on your half marathon race day.

Coach Scott is a published author and RRCA certified running coach (Level 2). He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 14th half marathon race. 

 To sign up for a FREE half marathon training schedule, log sheet, and pace predictor CLICK HERE.

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