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How to Prevent Chafing

Radhika Meganathan finds out the hard way that you need to be prepared ahead to deal with chafed skin resulting from running.

Spring in Central Park is magical. Flowers are in full bloom, the air is mild and fresh, and the winding pathways along pretty fountains and interesting landscaping offer the best running experience for novice and experienced alike. And there I was, happily jogging at my own pace when the climate suddenly changes – the sun shone with all its might and the day turned sultry. Oops!

But no problem, I am in New York and I am not going to allow a hot day – bah! I am a Chennaite and I am no stranger to the heat! – to deter me from my afternoon run. So I proceeded, until I became slowly aware of a burning in the area where my inner thighs made contact. In less than half an hour, I was in agony and unable to even step one foot forward. The pain was worse than a toothache!

I had no other choice but to collapse on the grass, and even after resting for an hour, the pain didn’t alleviate. Finally, I had to wobble like a duck to the nearest exit (each step was like walking on burning embers) and hail a taxi to the nearest pharmacy.  All in all, a very costly lesson in Preventing Chafing 101!

What is Chafing?

Repetitive contact between skin and skin, or skin and clothing, can cause painful chafing, which, if untreated, can become an open wound. It’s common for runners to experience chafing on the armpits, groin area or inner thighs, since those body parts create friction when running. You can be especially prone to chafing on a hot and humid day, but really, chafing can occur any time. If your skin is already chafed, here’s what to do:

  1. If you are outside and in agony because of your chafed skin, leave immediately. Do not keep running or walking.
  2. If you are not able to leave immediately, your best bet is to borrow or buy coconut oil or Vaseline and smear it on the offending areas. The idea is to stop the dry chafing, which is the reason behind all the pain. By introducing a lubricant like an oil or Vaseline, you will be able to experience temporary relief until you get home, or make it to the pharmacy.
  3. At the pharmacy, you can opt for a number of remedies, such as anti-chafing ointments. Remember, you need a cooling salve to soothe the burning skin, so clearly ask for the right product for your chafing.
  4. If your chafed skin is inflamed on the verge of breaking out, choose a salve with antibacterial properties. Even diaper rash cream works wonders.
  5. In case the chafed skin is throbbing or bloody, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Preventing chafing

Prevention is always better than cure, so here are some preventive measures to avoid chafing:

  1. Wear clothing that allows optimum movement, lets your skin breathe and absorbs extra moisture. Lycra, Spandex and polyester material do the trick.
  2. Wear compression shorts under your running outfit. Before putting on your shorts, apply a layer of baby powder on your inner thighs and groin. This will prevent friction when you run.
  3. Hydrate. Drinking a lot of water keeps the salt concentration in your sweat minimum. Why is this good news? Because salt irritates skin, especially chafed skin.
  4. Never do a long walk or run in a skirt, especially in hot weather. Naked skin creates the quickest and most painful chafing.
  5. Always carry a small tub of Vaseline whenever you run. You will be glad you did!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Radhika Meganathan is a published author who is an advocate for healthy living, she practices sugar-free intermittent fasting, all-terrain rambling and weight training

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Summer Foods for Runners

Summer is the time for runners to indulge in food, thus making it the best season for runners, writes Nandini Reddy

Hot and humid weather is always a big deterrent for runners. As the sun bears down, there is one
aspect that runners do love about the summer – the ability to indulge in summer foods. Getting
dehydrated and exhausted in the summer is easy. We get the freshest fruits and vegetables to
indulge in every summer and these help in lowering the core temperature and refuelling our bodies.
Refreshing the body doesn’t need electrolyte drinks, tabs, powders and pricey bottled drinks during
the summers because of the availability of fresh foods in abundance.
Sweat doesn’t just remove water from the body but also essentials nutrients. So, it is important to
eat the right kind of foods in the summer. Generally hot weather tends to kill appetite and its very
important to ensure that you get adequate nutrition. Even if don’t feel like indulging in a heavy meal
of protein and carbs, you should include the below foods.

Fruits
Summer brings a whole host fruits – watermelons, mangoes, strawberries and plums. Watermelon is
the best fruit for ensuring that you hydrate and regain your nutrients. Lycopene content in the fruit
helps in preventing sun damage to the skin cell. Plums help in improving the immune system and
prevents summer diseases. For runners it’s a great fruit for ensuring a healthy gut. While mangoes
need to be consumed in moderation, this fruit is rich in selenium and iron, thus making it a very
important addition to a runner’s diet.

Vegetables
The vegetables with high water content such as cucumber, zucchini and all the gourds, make for
great summer foods. The foods are good for digestion, replenish lost nutrients and helps in purifying
the blood. All the vegetables have a cooling effect on the body and help reduce the core
temperature. Leafy vegetables like Spinach and Amaranth are good to fight off the ill effects of
summer.

Smoothies
The berries in the summer are perfect for summer smoothies. You can combine strawberry with
yogurt or almond milk to create a nutritious smoothie that makes for a great post-run drink. The
popular mango lassi is also a perfect drink to beat the summer heat. Dark chocolate is also a great
addition to your smoothies. This is the best food to quell hunger pangs and it packs a whole lot of
nutrition.

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are the best as they provide the right nutrition that you need to
rehydrate and fuel your body for your running training during the summer.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

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Dawn to Dusk – handling the long haul

Well, you might be prepared for the Dawn part but are you sure about the Dusk part? Let us foresee what is awaiting you in the afternoon, writes Raghul Trekker.

If you have already gone through the event information, you are well aware that you are going to cycle in the afternoon. Though this is relatively the coldest time of the year in Chennai, it is better to take precautionary measures to combat the heat. It would be around 30° C to 25° C which is not something to be ignored.

Gear yourself up with proper hydration plan for the cycling leg. Fill two to three bottles of electrolyte mixed with energy drinks. You might need 500 – 750 ml of fluid every hour of cycling. Considering the temperature drop and the reduction in perceived exertion as the dusk falls, you might need less than the above mentioned quantity.

Research says that, the absorption rate of energy drinks is faster when the system already consists of fluid/water in it. So, before you saddle up, it is good to consume an energy drink or at least sip some water to start off with.

There are lots of hydration drinks from different brands available in the market which fall under different categories.

  1. Electrolyte drink with no or minimal energy supply
  2. Energy drink with minimal electrolyte
  3. Energy drink with electrolytes

Out of the above three options, the most suitable drink for this event where you are put to test under the sun, is the one which has energy mixed with electrolytes.

During endurance activities like cycling, we lose 300-400 mg of sodium, 50-75 mg of potassium, 400 mg-600 mg of chloride, 20-30 mg of magnesium. The above values are approximate and may vary from person to person depending on each person’s sweat rate.

An excess of hydration in terms of electrolytes may lead to nausea, diarrhoea or vomiting.

Dehydration without proper replenishment may lead to cramps, muscular spasms, headache, improper functioning of brain and several other problems.

Considering the above factors, it is good to have a hydration plan in place.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raghul Trekker is the Head Coach at Tri Crash ‘n’ Burn (a unit of Dhaamz Sports & Entertainment Pvt Ltd). A 4-time Ironman coaching more than 100 athletes for the last 3 years. Tri Crash ‘n’ Burn is a team of more than 60 triathletes and runners constantly pushing the limits to better their personal best. You can check out more about them at tricrashnburn.com

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What you need after a Race?

Your recovery can be sped up if you eat and drink the right food after a race, writes Nandini Reddy

Food is fuel and it is extremely important to plan what you eat post run as much as the pre-run meal. The first most important thing to remember after a race is to re-hydrate. Running long distances can put a strain on your kidneys so it is important to re-hydrate to prevent any injury. Another great way to re-hydrate is with milk or soy milk, not smoothies which are thicker.

Replenish your energy stores

Tough workouts like long distance running tend to deplete the glycogen stores in your body. Glycogen is what gives you energy. So to ensure that these energy stores are replenished ensure that you eat a good amount of protein and carbohydrates after your race.

Quick Snack

For days after the run you might feel a bit fatigued. You can get over this with a small snack that you can pack and have in-between your meals. Pack a snack of fresh fruits and cheese, they will both instantly refresh and energize you.

Eggs

Eggs are rich in Omega 3 and it can help in reducing heart rate and aid recovery after an endurance activity. Mountain climbers, trekkers, triathletes and elite runners consume eggs as part of their regular diets. During recovery, eggs can play a great role in helping you recover faster.

Whey Protein

Bring back the whey protein from day 3 after your run. This will help you in building back the weakened muscles and you will also be able to get back to your training programme again. But ensure that you watch the sugars in these drinks. If you haven’t used whey protein before then don’t try it now.

Pizza

Yes you can have a pizza! Opt for a pizza with a lot of vegetables and low processed meat (as it has too much salt). A thin crust pizza will give you the right nutrition and energy that you need to recover.

So if you just finished a marathon and you are training for the next one, then remember that recovery is crucial and important if you want to keep running injury free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

 

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