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A Marathon Veteran’s Guide to Preventing Nipple Chafing

Until I started running long distances, I never thought it was possible to chafe in so many places!

I was used to riding my bike for 100 miles in one day without any such chafing issues, but when I started running 10 miles in a day, that’s when the problems started! I was chafing between my thighs, under my armpits, and right on my nipples! Not to mention all the sore spots and blisters I was getting on my feet and ankles.

As if it wasn’t bad enough on the ten milers, running for 26.2 miles only compounded the problem!

Now, I’ve had blisters on my feet before. And the chafing on my skin wasn’t that hard to deal with (Vaseline and BodyGlide take care of that.) But you know what is just awful? Nipple chafing!

Since you’re on a running website, I’m going to assume you’re familiar with nipple chafing, so I’ll spare you the details. Let’s get into the solutions!

1. Band-aids

Convenient and easy to find, Band-aids can save your nipples from painful chafing. Just apply one band-aid over each nipple before your run.

You’ll need to use the full-size band-aids. Those little circle ones look like they fit perfectly, but they won’t stick very long. Chest shaving is optional, but highly recommended!

2. Medical tape

Look for a surgical tape or maybe paper tape. You can buy it by the roll without spending too much.

You put a piece of this tape on your nipples before running – one square over each nipple. Like band-aids, the medical tape prevents your shirt from rubbing your nipples raw.

My favorite tape is Transpore, made by 3M. It’s way better than band-aids and will actually stay on for days if you want.

3. NipGuards

NipGuards are kind of like band-aids made specifically for your nipples. I’ve heard they work great to prevent chafing, but they’re certainly expensive ($1 per pair,) so you might want to try the cheaper methods first.

4. Compression undershirts

If you’re wearing a compression undershirt, that might solve the nipple chafing. Compression shirts are less likely to shift around and chafe your nipples. It’s kind of like a woman wearing a sports bra and not experiencing nipple chafing. (I’d recommend a compression undershirt rather than a “bro” in case any of you Seinfeld fans got that idea!)

5. Pasties

Sometimes referred to as “breast petals,” these are little stickers that go over your nipples. (I’ve never worn them so I can’t be any more descriptive!)

These are what a lot of actresses wear when doing topless scenes and photo shoots. The pasties give a little bit of coverage without ruining the “topless” look. They can also be worn with bra-less outfits to prevent “high beaming,” but in this case, we’re just looking to prevent nipple chafing.

And they seem to be about double the price of NipGuards, so I can’t see a reason to use them unless you really desire to!

About the Author:
Levi Bloom, an elite mountain bike racer and Boston Marathon finisher, writes about cycling, running, and triathlon at CoachLevi.com. Check out his site for all your training and nutrition needs.

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