The low level groan of discomfort quickly turned into a yowl of pain, pure and simple.
All I could do to dissociate from the pain was try and remember the technical term used by triathlon coaches Roch Frey and Paul Huddle, but to no avail. At least, not until this morning
I remembered it was something along the lines of "Extended Low Frequency Moaning." It's a disorder caused by extended contact and friction between the skin of one's more-tender nether regions and seams of fabric covering those same nether regions. There are cases of this being also caused by skin-on-skin friction, too, but we'll stay with the former for this moment in time.
Some pairs of running shorts are more likely to cause this discomfort than others. Cotton and cotton-blend fabrics are definitely high on the list, at least as far as I'm concerned.
Some other reasons that have been bandied about as causes of chafing include a lack of hydration - which supposedly leads to a lack of sweating. Any person who knows me well enough can attest that I don't have any problems with a lack of sweat.
How about clothing that is too tight or too loose? Well, I'm not quite certain one would classify a pair of high-cut running shorts as "tight" or "loose." From difficult experience I can say I have a pair of "more" loose running shorts which invariably lead to uncomfortable days; and I did walk about in them during the previous day; the seams in about three locations are particularly painful after a few hours.
Another source suggested that a sudden increase in my workout duration might be the root cause.
Very well, I'll buy that one for a dollar; I've been doing anywhere from 30-to-60 minute runs or hikes.
The half marathon I completed the other weekend didn't cause me this much pain, in spite of the fact I took in less fluid than during a "normal" Sunday eight-miler.
Is it possible that I would be better off wearing a pair of compression (or triathlon) shorts during longer run workouts?
There are some benefits to using tri-shorts: Most materials are breathable so there's not as much sweat against the skin. The really good quality shorts have tightly-knit material which may decrease the degree of muscle vibration; when it comes to shorter distance running sprints, where explosive efforts are a plus, compression shorts have been found to increase power. And the shorts are sewn with flat-lock seams which aren't in areas which are going to rub the more tender skin. So depending on the short length (I've pairs which range in inseam lengths from two-inch to eight-inch) the chances of skin-on-skin and skin-on-seam contact are greatly minimized.
While the jury is out on the performance benefits of compression clothing they are a sure guarantee when it comes to post-workout recovery. A pair of compression tights or calf sleeves can make a long plane flight a little less uncomfortable; and a pair of triathlon shorts can make that post-workout shower...something to not scream about.