5 Tips to Help You Train and Race Chafe Free

by Brittany Vocke

The dreaded chafe...Everyone gets it, but not everyone knows how to prevent it.  If you have ever been on a long run you most likely have experienced that painful rash from too much rubbing and friction.  So let’s dive in and take a quick look at 5 tips to prevent chafing.


Tip #1: Wear Proper Fitting Clothes


One of the most common reasons for chafing comes from ill-fitting clothes. I am talking about clothes that are either too loose or garments like sports bras that can be too tight.  I recommend making sure your shorts and shirts are not too loose, which can cause extra fabric and liners to rub and cause friction on your skin. Ladies, I also suggest making sure your sports bras are not too tight. That can cause the bra to dig into your skin, which can create irritation and rubbing. It is a good idea to cut off any long tags, as they can be a source of rubbing too.


Tip #2: Wear the Right Material


Continuing with clothing, you want to make sure you have the proper material. Consider ditching the cottons because they can trap in moisture, which leads to rubbing and friction. You want to get breathable, moisture wicking material that will keep your skin dry as you begin to sweat.  I prefer the MALO Edge Performance and Cool It lines for myself.  


Tip #3: Apply Anti-Chafe Cream


After you have chosen the proper apparel, your next step should be putting some kind of skin lubricant on chafe prone areas (thighs, underarms, neck).  Make sure to get a cream or lotion specifically designed to minimize skin friction. Some double as anti-inflammatory making it both preventive and healing at the same time. Your best bet is to test a few brands to see what works best with your skin. Specifically for triathlon races - consider putting anti-chafe cream at the edges of your tri suit or tri top and tri shorts. This means putting it just under where your sleeve ends on your arms, and just under where the leg portion ends. These areas can sometimes get irritated after a long day of triathlon-ing.


Tip #4: Plan Runs Accordingly with the Weather


Since moisture is a huge factor in chafing, you should check the weather before heading out on a run. If you are training during the summer in a very hot and humid area, I recommend getting your runs in early morning or late evening when heat/humidity is not at its peak. If the weather forecast calls for rain, you might want to run on a treadmill, or plan to go out before the rain starts or after it ends.


Tip #5: Wear Bandages


If you find yourself still chafing badly and nothing works, you can always try to use a bandage in those hot spot areas as a protective layer. Just like creams, apply some kind of bandage or tape to your chafe prone areas. If you use this method, you need to make sure the bandage is on securely and will not slip around, and that it doesn’t increase friction to another area of your skin.


What to do when you chafe:


Let’s hope the tips above keep you chafe free. If you do end up chafing somewhere, these steps can help alleviate the pain and speed up the healing time.  

  1. Take a lukewarm shower to make sure the rash is clean and bacteria free.  
  2. Next you should pat the skin dry (no rubbing) with a clean towel.  
  3. Apply an antibacterial ointment to keep the rash clean and start the healing process.  

Have any additional tips? Leave them below!



By Brittany Vocke:  Brittany is a Fulfillment Specialist for WYN and MALO.  She is also a former Division I Collegiate swimmer. She graduated with a B.S. in Exercise Science and is a former USA Swimming coach.  She now coaches triathletes of all levels for Keep It Simple Coaching and can be reached at bvocke76@gmail.com.