I am training for my first marathon. I am experiencing a problem with bleeding and discomfort caused by abrasion from my shirt against my nipples. Is there a good way to prevent this other than running shirtless?
This problem is more common than you might think...and you will see a number of people at many distance races with bloody shirts - not a pretty sight!
First, it's good to know that different materials will exacerbate the problem - cotton t-shirts tend to be the worst, although you may experience this problem with other materials as well.
Fortunately, there are a number of solutions that work in all situations, depending on the level of your problem.
For many, just putting Vaseline on your nipples before the long run solves the problem. It provides a good protective coating. Of course, throughout the race, the Vaseline wears away and so this may or may not provide enough relief at all distances on all days.
Another option is to use the smallest band-aids and put those over your nipples. These can solve the problem as well, but in especially humid and sweaty conditions, the band-aids tend to fall off.
The industrial solution and one that works in all situations is a product that was designed just for this problem: NipGuards (yes, this is a real product!). You can find this at some running stores and you can also find more information about this product at the manufacturers website: http://www.NipGuards.com.
Good luck with the marathon - and stay healthy!
- John Elliott
The founder of MarathonGuide.com, John has run thousands of miles and on occasion has suffered from bloody nipples - but not very often. His favorite solution for the problem is to run with his shirt off.