WARNING! This post contains language that may offend. It's necessary language considering the topic but it is a little off color and describes personal body bits.
The standard long distance running site gag is of a panting dude, white running singlet saturated with sweat and stained with rivulets of blood originating from the poor guy's nipples. The pain on his face is real.
Here's the thing, this isn't a joke. Not when it's happening to you.
If you're just starting in on the long distance journey, you have NO idea how many freaky places can chafe. I'm telling you, the options for chafe are ENDLESS.
I have scarring above my breastbone that is so severe, someone once asked if I'd participated in a Lakota Sun Dance chest piercing ceremony. Imagine the surprise and confusion when I revealed I was sporting permanent chaffing injuries from the Honolulu Marathon.
My particular chafe region is irritated by the constant rubbing of my "seam free" singlet against my skin. And while the manufacturer promised that their moisture slicking, $100 flat-seamed miracle running tank was engineered to prevent any and all chafing, I have scars that prove otherwise.
Other common areas afflicted by the ugly rub are the inner thighs, between the toes, the nipples (we've discussed this already), underarms, the upper back where errant tags rub, rub, rub their way to painful irritation. If there's friction, there's an opportunity for chafe and when there's chafe, there's pain. For women, a well-made sports bra eliminates nipple irritation, hence the predominance of men with the injury. Few men wear running bras.
And there is another injury particular to men that's due to the "dork dangle." If men don't secure their junk on a long run with a cup or tightey whiteys, I needn't elaborate on the potential pain awaiting you.
A few precautions will save you from unneeded chafing, pain and scarring: (1) wear moisture whisking clothing built for runners. I know the idea of wearing natural materials probably appeals to you immensely but nothing is worse than running in a cotton t-shirt that retains the moisture, becomes weighted down and then proceeds to rub against you in a criminal manner. (2) Secure your valuables. Spend good money on a well constructed running bra built for your specific frame. Throw out bras that are losing their elasticity. And men, no boxers and no commando. Put away your tackle. (3) Lube up. Smother your vulnerable bits with Vaseline or BodyGlide. For long runs, I store travel Bodyglide in my running fanny pack for reapplications.
Take away this one little irritant and you'll be able to concentrate not on the pain of chafing but the screaming in your hammys and achilles instead.