Running Inconveniences Part 1

By , SparkPeople Blogger
In recent years running has seen a huge resurgence for those of looking to reclaim their health and meet new goals. But what happens when you are forced to forgo your running due to an inconvenience caused in your training. It can leave many runners sidelined and frustrated; however by taking a few precautions early on hopefully you can prevent these so-called minor inconveniences from turning into bigger ones down the road.


Blisters are one of the most common running inconveniences especially as a runner increases his/her mileage. They are primarily seen on the soles of the feet and the toes, but they can actually occur anywhere on the foot. And while they may be a minor inconvenience for some, for others they can literally be so painful they can keep you from running.

In order to prevent blisters, you need to know what causes them. Friction, moisture and heat are the primary sources for causing blisters. But what cause the buildup of heat, friction and moisture?

  • Moisture from sweating feet
  • Wet feet from running in the rain or through water
  • Shoes that are too tight
  • Shoes that are too small
  • Friction from socks
  • Friction from wearing orthotics
So what can be done to prevent these annoying inconveniences?

Preventive Measures
  • Make sure your shoes are at least a half size or larger than your street shoes—the reason, as you run your foot begins to swell which can cause friction within the shoe leading to blisters.
  • Wear wicking socks especially if your feet sweat.
  • Avoid cotton socks. Cotton retains moisture, therefore it increases friction.
  • Apply moleskin to blister prone areas on your feet before running.
  • Apply anti-friction cream such as Mission’s High Performance Anti-Friction Cream
  • If you have calluses on your feet, do not remove or soften them, especially when you receive a pedicure. Calluses are a protective measure for your feet to help keep blisters from recurring.


Chafing can occur anywhere there is friction on the body. The primary areas include: under the arms, in between the thighs, along the bra line for women and the nipple area for men. For many runners, chafing is just a minor inconvenience causing a slight burning sensation of the skin that quickly heals. While for others, it can be a quite painful and irritated, even to the point of bleeding.>


Just like blisters, chafing is caused from friction from clothing rubbing against the skin, heat, and moisture from sweating.

Preventive Measures
  • Invest in wicking shirts and shorts-Because chafing is caused from excessive moisture and repeated rubbing of clothing against the skin, wicking fabrics will help pull that moisture away from the skin which has been shown to reduce the risk of chafing.
  • Avoid wearing cotton-Just like cotton socks are not recommended for runners, same is true for their running attire. When cotton gets wet it takes time to dry which is difficult if one is a heavy sweater. The rough, wet fabric then becomes a major contributor to chafing.
  • Wear snug fitting shirts and shorts, preferably made of Spandex or Lycra-Loose fitting clothing can allow excess fabric to rub against the skin leading to a greater incident of friction. Bike shorts worn under running shorts can help reduce the friction, especially between the thighs.
  • Apply an anti-friction cream before your runs-Apply Mission’s High Performance Anti-Friction Cream or Body Glide to those areas prone to chafing before you head out for your run. These products provide a protective barrier between the fabric and your skin.
  • Wear a seamless wicking running bra-Wearing a seamless wicking running bra will help pull moisture away from the skin and because there are no seams to create the friction, your risk for chafing is greatly reduced.
  • Stay well hydrated- Hydration allows a continuous flow of sweat so that salt crystals do not have the opportunity to build up on the skin which can lead to chafing.
By taking a few preventative measures, you may be able to avoid the small inconveniences that may not keep you from running, but they most definitely can keep you from fully enjoying the running experience.

Next blog in this series will cover gastrointestinal disturbances, side stitches and shin splints.

Have you ever experienced issues with blisters or chafing, if so, what measures have you taken to prevent recurrence? What inconveniences have you experienced that you would like to see covered?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
See more: gear up running injury


DIGIT00 9/6/2020
Thanks for the info Report
SPINECCO 8/13/2020
Great information. I really learned something new. Thanks! Report
KHALIA2 2/22/2020
I don't run but I do love to walk! Report
Going to look into some of these items, thanx. Report
For those of us ladies with tummies - wear a snug-fitting bathing suit over your sports bra and under your other running gear - basically a bra for the belly! Report
A little disappointed that an article titled "Running Inconveniences" only touched on blisters and chafing. There are so many more inconveniences. What about scheduling and making time, what about inclement weather, what about unsupportive friends/family, what about other injuries? This article could have been titled "how to prevent blisters and chafing" Report
Absolutely great Report
Injini toe socks eliminated blisters for me. Any toe socks work, also against blisters when hiking
Thanks to Galloway Spark team runners for telling me about them Report
I'm a BIG fan of body glide. My thighs are not made for shorts but in 80+ degree weather, I don't care what I look like, I wear the shorts. Some body glide applied correctly and it's all good. One day this year, I was in a hurry and didn't apply it as carefully as I normally do and let me tell you, I paid for that for a few days! All excellent advice!

Oh and I finally bought Smart Wool socks and found them to be great for both cold and hot weather running! Report
I used to blister on my big toe..until I stopped wearing cotton socks and bought synthetic material running socks. I always did that for backpacking and then it dawned on me..... Report
For blisters, another suggestion is to try double socks. I learned this from some of the women who did the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Day with me a few years back. If you have areas that are prone to blistering, paper tape (from the drug store) adds a protective layer, and it stays where you put it, much better than Bandaids.

For chafing, Chamois Butter, sold at bike stores, also works well. If you already have pain from chafing, wash the area well and apply triple antibiotic ointment, because some of the pain is from bacteria that have worked their way into raw skin. Report
great article Report
I'll second (third?) the recommendation to try good old Vaseline as an anti-friction unguent. Works great, and softens my skin at the same time!

Maya Report
Blisters can be prevented with chapstick. Burt's Bees and Chapstick work great. This is especially helpful for dusty hikes/runs where you can't keep your feet clean. Also for chafing, I really like Monkey Butt powder. Report
good stuff - sometimes all of those measures don't keep the blisters away, but it helps greatly! ready for more info ... Report
Remember: Cotton is Rotten! Report
Thanks for this information! Blisters were a big problem for me when I started training for my first 8-mile run in years. I used bandages and lots of first-aid tape to try to protect areas in my feet, but those were usually a hit-or-miss solution. Now, unfortunately, I have other problems that prevent me from running in a race again, but I will definitely keep these tips in mind if blisters come up again. Report
I love running. And racing!!! Report
All good information to know, most of this applies to those hikers too. Report
I have just started trying to run and have chaffed on my inner thighs, I will also be investing in spandex. I would like to see an article on running with shin splints, I have them and jogged/walked for a mile and they hurt really bad when I was done. Report
I have problems walking not just jogging with chafting. My shorts ride up between my thighs. You can bet I am going to find some spandex! Report
Ditto Suzimobile. I run off and on due to arthritic knee so i am always playing a balancing act. this is annoying becaue i think running provides the best exercise for the time invested for me. i am going to try to concentrate on more knee strengthening (squats - etc) in between runns to keep the knee strong. Report
I love the moleskin. I use it in the area on top of my toes, under my big toe nails. It just takes a small piece and makes so much difference in how I feel when I'm out walkng or running. I also use glide on my inner upper sports bra seems to chafe my arms there when I wear certain tops...I liked the suggestion for seamless sleeves, I guess a runners store would be the best place to look for one. Report
I haven't had any blisters since I started, but chafing has been a problem in between my thighs. I'm going to have to invest in some tighter shorts to wear beneath my current ones. Report
I didn't usually have a problem in training but by the time I got to about mile 9 or 10 on race day I've had chafing on my arms from the seams on my top. So I switched to a seamless style for future races. Report
Great article! I'm just beginning to start jogging and I found an article that says if you tend to get bllisters on your feet, cover the area with duct tape while you run. Duct tape can also be used over the mesh areas of your shoes if running in the rain...if the rain stops, just pull the duct tape off and keep going! Looking forward to the rest of this series.....thanks Nancy!!! Report
All I can say is that these are some great tips. Report
I pulled a tendon around my achilles heel this winter, four months ago, and I still wake up with a limp. This has definitely been a "bump" in my running habit. Where I used to run 3 times a week, it is now about once a week. Any suggestions? Anyone heard of comfrey poultices? I am trying different things. Report
Great article....I'm disabled and can't run, but my daughter, her hubby and their 3 girls do. I read this article with the intentions of sharing the information with them. I was surprised to find that it contained a lot of information that is helpful to me. Thank you! Report
Looking forward to the article on gastrointestinal issue. Report
Liquid Bandage!! Great suggestion and I never would have thought of it....and I thought I had tried everything. Nothing worse than getting halfway or so through a run and having the nipple pain - it feels like they are on fire. I've had mine bleed so badly on a 10 miler I looked like I had been stabbed twice in the chest. Report
Guys - If you ever have a problem with nipples chafing or bleeding, New-Skin liquid bandage is the best. Apply a dab to each nip and you will never have a problem. Report
I've had bad bra-line chafing but not from running yet, rather from other workouts like kick boxing. Thanks for the tips! Also-I would like to wear the snug-fitting tops & shorts as mentioned, but any suggestions for plus-sized women's styles? I would like to be more comfortable working out but not look like a 10 lb. sausage stuffed in a 5 lb. casing! Report
Body Glide totally does the trick for me - my bra line area used to end up bleeding, the chafing was so bad. Never happens if I remember the Body Glide.
Hydration is a problem for me because I HATE carrying water in any form (water bottles or Camelbak). I have actually gone to the trouble of stashing water bottles along my route when I'm running more than 10 miles.
Looking forward to the GI discussion. I am terribly gassy - unable to control the, um, exit of the gas with the impact of running, and I'm worried about being embarrassed during the race I have coming up. Hope there's a solution to that! Report
Tech fabrics, body glide, not overdressing. (should feel coolish at the start) Also clothes that fit correctly. Removing soggy clothes and showering ASAP.
That's what works for me and I'm a heavy sweater.
In the heat of summer on long runs, I usually still experience some chafing, but this helps to minimize it. Report
Great article Report
When I first started on the treadmill I was running through bandaids like nobody's business. But then I invested in a package of silicone toe caps which seem to have solved the problem for me. Report
This also applies to walkers.
charlie horses while walking/running is what I experience way to much Report
I'd like to see more about how to stay hydrated on a run. Carrying a water bottle with me while running is inconvenient (and it makes the water warm) because they just don't sit comfortably in my hands, but I'm used to drinking up to 24oz. of water during a longer cardio session. What's a runner to do?

I'm also very curious about the GI issues to come.... I can't be the only person who feels gassy whenever she works out...... Report
The moment i start to jog or jump may be because og my heavy weight my shin bone starts paining...what to do.. some one please tell me the solution for this. Report
One of the best things I did when I got serious about running was to go to the local running specialty store here in town where they fitted me for the proper shoes and they did that for free. I needed a full size larger than my street shoe size and a pair that was wider in the toe area because my front part of the foot really flattens out when I come down. The only thing I have experienced was a blister on my foot in the inner arch area, most likely due to cotton socks instead of wicking ones and that is calloused over now so no more problems. Plus I did buy some good wicking socks. In these cases, the extra $ spent on good running equipment is, in my opinion, worth it. So far I haven't experienced any chafing but that may come as I begin to run in warmer summer weather here in N. IL. Report
Forget the Bodyglide and moleskin... simple Vaseline and bandaids work great! A lot of guys put bandaids over their nipples then they run long distances (like marathons), and I used to put Vaseline on my inner thighs to prevent chafing. Sounds kind of gross but it definitely works. I'd also put bandaids on my feet in spots where I thought I might develop blisters as a preventative measure. Report
If the shoes are too tight, for me, can get cramps easier, feel as if blood can't move in my feet. But I usually avoid running, don't have good gears - running shoes, very supportive sport bra Report
I used to have trouble with chafing while walking in the summer as I got heavier. Since starting running, I have not. My biggest problem is having to go to the bathroom! anywhere from .1 to 2 miles into a run. So I end up running on an indoor track more of the time. Since the last race I tried to run May 8, 2010 Mother's Day weekend.Pain in the out side of my legs starting about .3 to .7 into my run. a fellow runner/Dr said try step stretches I did that the second time and they help me finish the 4 miles I did that day. Report
I run barefoot on in minimalist shoes and that has helped a lot with my foot/knee problems. Because I have lost so much weight my biggest issue is the apron of extra skin that hangs down. Anti-chafing lotion & compression garments are a must when I run. If I skip them I end up with quite a rash from chafing beneath my extra skin areas. Report
Great suggestions. These don't mean that you need to buy expensive clothing. Remember, even during the cold months you sweat. Clothes that wick are pretty essential. Report
Im a newbie when it comes to running...@ 230lbs and 40 years this information was vital. Ive not had any of the issues mention so far. I do have a hip that seems to ache more after a run. I normally take aleve and run every other day. This seems to help. For the first time in my life I can honestly say I enjoy running and I dont wont to stop now! Report
Body Glide is the most FABULOUS invention EVER. I am a woman. I have thighs. And like many others, they rub together...they just DO. They won't ever NOT do it either. But that Body Glide stuff is wonderful...I like to run in running skirts, and it helps SOOOO much with the chafing (which is incredibly uncomfortable...) there! Report
I used the clear desitin to help with chaffing. it worked really well. Report
Great article. My issue is more about sciatic nerve pain. Report