The Grand Teton Relay is an intense relay with many crazy ups and down”and we're not just talking about running in the shadows of the Tetons, or trying to sleep in a van full of other sweaty runners.

We're talking about the ups and downs of that annoying tag in the back of your shirt, or the front of your shirt...rubbing your nipples raw (yes, we just said nipples). It could also be your shirt, sports bra or worse, your own thighs.

That's right, this blog is about chafing, and it's no laughing matter (even though it's ok to giggle a little).

Chafing happens when an area of your skin is rubbed over and over again, either by another piece of skin or by a piece of clothing. The irritation is increased when you get sweat in the area. This common problem affects some runners more than others and can affect men and women in different areas of the body.

So how can you protect your skin from chafing so you can enjoy this race of a lifetime? Our Idaho Falls hospital has got some tips.

  • Appropriate clothing
    • Do: Wear snug fitting (not too tight or too loose) clothing that wicks moisture from the body. Cover areas of the body that do rub so that there isn't contact with spandex or the like.
    • Don't: Wear bras with seams, clothing with tags or wear cotton.
    • Bonus tip: Bring an extra set of clothing in the van so you don't have to run that last leg in damp shorts, which will increase your risk of chafing.
  • Use Topical Barrier Products
    • Bodyglide® products, or Petroleum Jelly — These provide a barrier so your skin doesn't rub, but you may need to reapply frequently. Places to apply: thighs, nipples (men), bra line (women), and between the butt cheeks (so we've heard).
    • NipGuards® or Band-Aids over nipples for men.
  • Stay Hydrated
    • At EIRMC we know that staying hydrated before, during and after running long distances is a good idea in general. However, if you get dehydrated your sweat will dry into small, gritty crystals that increase skin irritation and chafing.

While chafing isn't a serious condition it certainly can be painful. If you do get chaffed (or have another medical problem during the GT Relay) visit one of the first aide stations for help!