There are some things in life which you never expect would happen to you. There are few things which you are extremely passionate about and suddenly it springs a surprise. It could be a good surprise as well as a bad one. But whichever it is, it teaches you something. If its painful then you have found a way to make sure it doesnt recur and if its a pleasant one then you know the ways to how to get that surprise again and again.
I had somewhere heard about this problem or read about this situation. I had a faint idea about it. It seems someone had mentioned it in a casual conversation, or I had read it on some website. Yesterday when I finished my run and came back home, my nipples started itching. I ignored them citing the fact that they could be because of sweating and would be better once i take a shower. I went and took a nice warm shower and still they were itching. The itching was now making way to slight pain on the tip of the nipples. And then it occurred me that my shirt would have caused abrasion to them and that could be the reason they are itching and aching. I had been using the T shirt for quite a long time, but never every this problem occurred to me. I had ran much more than what I am currently running and still there was no problem. I went back a few days and it occurred to me that I had run in the rain this Sunday. My other T shirt was wet, not with sweat but with water. Now when you are sweating the sweat does not make your T Shirt stick to your skin. There is a slight air cushion between your T shirt and skin. This is what keeps the abrasion on your nipple away. The rains had caused the T Shirt stick to the Skin and that is what had caused the abrasion leading to pain.
Having found out the reason and the cause of it, I went on to the net and did some research on it. It was horrifying to find the extent to which people have had this problem in their runs. People had blood oozing out of their nipples which had turned their T’s to blood red. People gave horrifying examples and some even had to give up running for a few days. Runners had posted pics of this problems, which really left me terrified. This was something which I had totally unexpected. It came as a big surprise to me that running could cause me discomfort at this level. As a runner I decided to face the situation rather than “running” from it.
One important thing I realized was that there was no need to be embarrassed about it. There was no need to feel bad about it because all these are side effects of a good running pair of feet. Women do not face this problem as they wear sports bra which save them from this problem.
Use Vaseline: One of the best ways to avoid nipple bleeding is to apply Vaseline on the nipples. Make sure you apply generous amount of vaseline on them. This would make sure there is very less friction between your skin and cloth. If you are going on long runs of more than 15 kms make sure you carry Vaseline with you and apply them on your nipples in your walk breaks or water breaks.
Do not wear cotton Shirts: When you are running longer distance, make sure the Shirt which you are wearing is not cotton. Cotton acts as a catalyst to chaffing. Always use light, synthetic, dri fit material for running. Cotton Shirts also tend to get heavier if you sweat a lot. It is very unlikely that sweat will escape from cotton shirts.
DOC DOC: Do show it to the Doctor if you feel it is not going away and after each run the problem is increasing. Please do not feel embarrassed about it. It is a very silly thing to jeopardize your training and runs. Doctor will mostly prescribe you an ointment or in serious case some tablets.
Use Tape: You can also use tape if you are not too hairy. There are various types of tapes available, but most comfortable are the medical tapes. If you are hairy, then avoid the tape as they would cause more pain than nipple chaffing when you taken them out.
This is a problem which every male runner will face in their lifetime. It is avoidable and completely controllable. You will never even realize that you may face this problem until you come across it. Take it in your own stride the way you take all problems like a true runner and you will triumph over it.