As long runs get longer, runner lube goes from a nice-to-have to a must do! In an ultramarathon. chaffing can quickly turn a fun experience into a death march. Chaffing has always been one of those topics runners keep mum about as it’s not the best water-cooler topic. But thankfully, chaffing is one of the most avoidable mistakes of an ultra and easy to remedy if you plan ahead.
I tried many kinds of runner lubes in training and brought all of them with me on race day. I started with the tried-and-true BodyGlide and NipGuards and these served me well for several hours. But once the NipGuards came off and my heels started cooking up a few blisters, it was time for the next phase.
BodyGlide (slide on), Vaseline (glop on), and Sport Shield (roll-on) were all effective in the mid-race hours for under-arm and groin chaffing. I used them in training and during the 24-hour ultramarthon. All performed well and I had zero irritation in those areas. I also had some success with the packets of BodyGlide liquified powder packets, as these were very convenient to carry in my small waist pack. The downside of the liquid-powder is they stained my running shirt pretty good…similar to Vaseline. But, then again, these stains are ultimately preferred over blood stains!
During the ultramarathon. chaffing and rubbing were only an issue for me on my feet & nips. After several hours of sweating, nothing sticks to the skin. Moleskin worked OK for awhile on my heel, and band-aids lasted mere minutes on my heels and chest. At those later stages of the race, I just used glops of petroleum jelly at each aid station (every 1-2 hours).
In summary, this is one of the few areas of my plan that I wouldn’t change at all. I’d start again with NipGuards and BodyGlide and know that 8-10 hours into the race, I’d be switching over to petroleum jelly and lots of it! In addition to good runner lube, I’d also highly recommend changing socks and shirt a few times during the race. Wet clothing is much more abrasive against the skin. It’s also a nice mental boost to slip on a pair of dry socks…it’s downright refreshing!