This is my first advisory posting. Several people have said to me that I should impart some of the knowledge I have built up over the past 14 years. I have just emailed the following advice, based on personal experience learned the hard way, to an ultrarunning friend who is in training for a major challenge. While I was composing the email I thought it might benefit a wider audience, so here it is.
1. Never wear conventional underwear. It's not up to the job of so much movement for so long in damp conditions. (You will know that dampness comes from sweat even if the weather's dry.)
2. Never wear compression shorts or longs. They squash the cheeks together, increasing friction and guaranteeing chafing betwixt same.
3. If it's at all cold, avoid smooth base layers with high Lycra content (e.g. Skins, 2XU, etc.) because it's too cold on the skin, acts like a heatsink and sucks the heat out of you.
4. Never wear cotton (I bet you already knew that anyway).
5. Never wear a loose-fitting technical top as a first layer. The material acts like a file as it moves over the nipples, rubbing them raw.
6. Never wear double skin socks. The layers easily ruck up against each other, creating ridges, pressure points and blisters.
7. Never wear shoes that allow excessive forefoot movement or ANY heel movement, to reduce blistering.
1. Always wear running shorts with liner as your underwear. If it's warm it's all you need and very comfortable, indefinitely.
2. If it's cold enough for leg covering, wear tracksters (brushed material is warmer) over the shorts.
3. If it's raining but not too cold, lightweight windproof trousers (e.g. Montane, fist-sized when screwed up) are all you need over the shorts.
4. Always wear a tight-fitting base layer up top (I favour NikePro short-sleeved or sleeveless shirt, which is lightweight so doesn't suck too much heat out with its Lycra content). This allows you to wear whatever you want on top without any chafing worries.
5. Wear well-padded socks to help fix your feet in your shoes. (This depends on whether you are lucky enough to have 'shoe-shaped' feet, and how snug and comfortable the fit.) I find Thorlos to be the best.
6. As a final insurance against chafing, use a lubricant, but not petroleum jelly ('Vaseline'). It dissipates too easily when it gets warm and loses its effectiveness. For the feet I use Sportslick, plastered top and bottom. For the undercarriage regions I use 'Brave Soldier Friction Zone Advanced Skin Protectant'. Despite its dodgy name it really does work a treat. I have proven it up to well over 30 hours. Both are American products.