One very common ailment that many open water swimmers and triathletes face is chaffing. In fact, I would argue that it is at pandemic proportions. No matter the wetsuit, no matter how much glide you lather on, it seems that by the end of the swim your neck is red and irritated if not raw and bleeding. It is annoying and frustrating especially when you have a bike ride and run to get through. Many products out there claim to prevent chafing but I have found that it washes off within 5 minutes of swimming. Most of these are also petroleum based, which makes more “natural conscious” people hesitant to put it on their skin. If you can relate to the above, read on because I have found a cheap, odorless, natural and easy solution that can be found in almost any store–I have even found it in places like Walmart.
When I raced St. George 70.3 earlier this year, I forgot my Trislide, my go-to fail-safe option, spray can at home. The expo had none and I did not want to borrow someone else’s stick of Body Glide (I really did not know where that had been nor did I want to know), so I cruised on over to the Walmart and got a tub of pure, natural 100% coconut oil. Unlike other oils that are liquid at room temperature, coconut oil is solid. I slathered the white cream on all around my neck and ankles the morning of the race and was perfectly fine. No chaffing. No raw burn. No redness at all.
What is even better is that coconut butter works as chamois cream on the bike as well to prevent saddle sores. I have sometimes even mixed it with tea tree oil for an added antimicrobial boost. Granted, this is purely anecdotal evidence, but I have heard it working for others as well.
Please also note that if things get too hot then it will become a liquid so keep it in a cooler or shaded area.
If you have a practice swim (try this out before a race) then give coconut oil a try and let us know how it goes.
Coach Chris and Kev