Running can seem a lonely pursuit at even the best of times, but a bad case of body odor will leave a sweaty sprinter or soggy jogger feeling truly isolated–and downright offensive. While a certain amount of stink should be expected in running circles, a punishing workout can whip up an equally abusive odor that’s more akin to an ammonia-factory fire than an overactive armpit. Fretting over severe exercise-induced BO can rattle our confidence in meeting up with a pack of other runners on the road or in the coffee shop.
If worries about your scent are scaring you away from the social side of running, consider these tips for shaving some height off your stink lines.
Start with a clean slate
Your running clothes may be a big part of the problem. That tried-and-tested technical shirt you scored at a 10K race in 2016 may be perfectly worn-in and guaranteed not to chafe, but it might be haunted by the ghosts of hundreds of skunky runs. There’s a good chance your everyday laundry detergent just can’t cut it for your running clothes, and the stubborn smell has become part of the fabric.
A simple way to ensure you’re starting off each run with a clean slate is to run your workout gear through a separate hot-water load with one cup of white vinegar. This natural solution is not only effective at cutting through lingering odors, but it also claims anti-static properties as a secret superpower – you can skip the fabric softener without making your shorts a magnet for dog fur or tiny electric shocks.
Also, as cozy and nostalgia-packed as your favorite running shirts may be, it might be time to update your apparel with fresh running gear designed specifically to wick away sweat and resist body odor. Such features can cost a little more, but depending on the depth of your BO woes, there’s a case to be made for prioritizing scents over cents.
Pack a cheat sheet
Even though there are times vinegar can save the day when fabric softener comes up short, a fabric softener sheet can be a powerful but stealthy ally when you’re hitting the road or trail. A few strategically placed sheets of fabric softener can do wonders to mask the onset of running-induced BO From the storage netting of your running vest to the pockets of your shorts, there’s no shortage of options for stashing these cheat sheets. It’s not a subtle solution, but it may just do the job.
make the cut
Body hair can act as a lifeline to offensive odors, which for the more hirsute runners among us might warrant a few choice cuts. Shaving armpits and other overgrown thickets will reduce the options odors have for hiding. Beware, though, that smooth services are fertile ground for fresh sores and irritation, so when you buy your razors and shaving cream, don’t forget to top up on anti-chafing supplies.