the GARMIN specialist

Well, I managed to learn my lesson pretty quick about how sore this issue can be, when running the Boulder Bay Classic, it was a rather warm afternoon so I decided to remove my compression top and just run with my running shirt on, which at that point in time seemed a wonderful idea….

Once I was on the home stretch, (remembering this is only about 10km this running race and I had removed my compression top approx. 4km in) I was hurting – and hurting big time.

My nipples had chaffed from my top, and I was sweating as well which for most of us included expelling salt – yeah ok – just thinking about it hurts…

After some research online I located this product called NipGuards which are made in America – I ordered some to try and proceeded to go for a run with them. Putting them on is simple, remove from the strip, move your hair out of the way, and place on.

You don’t even notice them when running, but the overall benefits from these is huge. I now no longer need to worry about wearing a compression top, which a) helps keep me cooler and b) is slightly less weight to carry on a run as well.

There are several factors that can cause nipple rub and so it’s worth trying to address the root of the problem before you look for a solution. First consider these factors before simply reaching for nipple protection:

  • Do you have a proper technical running top? – If you run with a cotton t-shirt then you are asking for nipple rub, look for a new specific technical running top, proper running tops have the fibers chosen for friction reduction. Also if your top is too loose or too tight, this can cause friction.
  • Do you have sensitive skin? – If you have sensitive skin then think carefully about your choice of washing powder (non-bio or eco-friendly may help), also experiment with and without fabric softener (whilst it reduces friction, it can actually cause irritation in some people).
  • Are you a salty sweater? – Some runners will sweat out more salt than others and while it’s no consolation, if you’re a salty sweater, then you’ll be more prone to nipple rub. You can tell how salty your sweat is based on: the taste of your sweat, if it stings your eyes and if it leaves prominent white residue on dried sweaty clothes.

Why nipple taping by itself is not so good is that many runners forget that the tape sticks to the skin around the nipple, which when you sweat can cause the tape to simply release (as there are more sweat glands in the skin around the outside of your nipple) plus your nipple will still be in contact with the tape going over it as well – lastly, just think about how nice it will feel removing the tape from all the hair on your skin afterwards (that is if the plaster actually remained on) – just think of it like waxing…

NipGuards are specifically designed for this purpose and this one alone – they are not made to be used to fix cuts, they are made to protect your nipple – simple.

They have a unique patented design, that allows for the nipple to be encapsulated and therefore doesn’t make contact with your running top (even indirectly). They also have a medical grade adhesive that only sticks to the nipple areola, which won’t fall off and is much less likely to stick to those sensitive hairs! Yes they are a tad more expensive than plasters or tape, but when your marathon attempt is on the line are you going to let a couple of quid get in the way of a successful marathon?

Personal thoughts – there is no way I would run without some protection for my nipples now, and as a result I decided that Fitness New Zealand (aka this site) would bring them into New Zealand for other runners as well. We will be sending samples out to people who would like to try them, and look at some retailers as well to stock them.

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