Girlfriend's Guide to Running Happy - And Not Chafing, Leaking or Losing Toenails

October 11th, 2017

by Brandi Marcene

Health & Nutrition

For some women, running is more than just a hobby. It's a way of life and sometimes even a profession in which their whole lives revolve around their next workout, jaunt around the neighborhood or run up the trail. While these women may look flawless and natural, as though running is exactly what their bodies were designed to do, there are several things that can happen while running that are not so appealing or pleasant.   

 Broken, ugly toenails, severe chafing, and urine complications are some of the many examples. The good news is that you don’t have to live with these issues because there are solutions, or at least ways to minimize the problems.  As a runner, you don’t want anything holding you back, so it is time you took care of those things. Listed below are five ways to ensure a happy running session, free of discomfort, embarrassment, and hassle.




Chafing is the result of constant friction between the clothing and skin, although skin rubbing against skin can cause the same problem. If you aren't careful, all that running or jogging can leave your skin raw in different areas of your body. As a result of the various types of clothing we wear, women have a couple of areas that typically chafe:

1. Inner Thighs. The real problem may be your shorts. If you notice that one pair of shorts always gives you chafing issues, you might want to switch to another, more comfortable pair.

2. Torso/Bra area. Sports bras can often cause chafing in various spots on a woman's body where the seams of the bra rub against the skin, especially in humid weather: under the bottom seam along the rib cage, in the back, near the arm pits.




1. Proper clothing. The types of fabric you wear often contributes to chafing. Make sure you wear comfortable clothing ideally made of breathable, moisture/sweat-wicking material. Many women who experience chafing between their legs find that wearing tight, compression type shorts can help.

2. Balms, gels, and lubricants. The best way to prevent chafing is to apply a gel-like lubricant on all potential problem areas to alleviate the friction that causes chafing. Petroleum jelly is an affordable option, but you can also use specialized products like Run-Goo and BodyGlide.  RaceThread.com

3. Powder. Powder products are also quite effective in minimizing friction. Examples include Anti-Monkey Butt powder and Lush’s Silky Underwear.

4. Bandelettes. Made from a light synthetic microfiber, Bandelettes are specifically designed to prevent irritation caused by friction.

5. Proper after-care. If you do experience chafing despite all your efforts to avoid it, taking care of your skin after a run will help minimize the discomfort. Begin by taking a shower as soon as possible in lukewarm water as hot water will only make the sensitive area burn more. Next, moisturize the skin with some quality lotion or coconut oil. If you have really irritated, raw skin, skip the moisturizer and apply diaper rash cream. It sounds odd, but it works.



Ugly, Broken Toenails and Blisters

Losing a toenail or two is common during running - and painful too. This is often caused by developing a blister under the toenail or at the tips of your toes as a result of all the rubbing against the front or top of the shoe. Although it doesn't happen often, your toes could also get infected.


1. Ensure right size of shoe. Make sure your running shoes fit you properly. You want a thumb’s distance between the front of your shoe and the tip of your toe. In general, your running shoes should be a half size larger than your normal shoes to account for movement and swelling of your foot as you run.

2. Moisturize your toenails. Before slipping on your running shoes, coat your nails with a urea lotion. You can also use coconut oil, tea tree oil or even Vaseline.

3. Watch that pedicure. Make sure your toenails are trimmed properly.  When they get too long, they can rub against your other toes and cause problems. It's also a good idea to cut your toe nails in a square shape instead of a rounded one. This is because pedicurists tend to dig deep into the edges when trying to give the nail a round shape.



Urinary Incontinence

Several women suffer from urinary incontinence, particularly after they’ve had children. This extremely embarrassing problem can impact their running sessions as well as their daily lives. Even if you don’t have this condition, it’s pretty common for runners to leak every now and then while running. Here are some ways to help:  

1. Minimize what you drink before you run. This is obvious, but if you don’t fill up your bladder before starting a run, you won’t have to stop and pee in the middle of it. Unfortunately, during the summer when it's hot, it's not safe or realistic to avoid drinking water. Some women try to run first thing in the morning before they drink anything to minimize the amount of liquid in their bladder.

2. Watch what you eat. Your eating habits can affect your bladder while you run. Caffeine has a diuretic effect that increases the amount of urine produced. It is also a bladder irritant. Citrus fruits, alcohol, spicy foods, milk, chocolate, and sodas may have a similar impact.

3. Invest in good absorbent underwear. Viita and Fannypants are good examples of absorbent underwear that will keep you covered. Keep in mind that underwear or panty liners designed for menstrual periods are not meant for incontinence, so make sure you choose a product that is specifically designed for absorbing urine.

4. Seek medical intervention. If your problem is severe enough or causes undue discomfort or embarrassment, you may want to pursue physical therapy and/or surgery to fix your incontinence.   

Keywords: Women Running, Chafing, Leaking, Losing Toenails, Blisters, Bodyglide

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