For those of you who have recently taken up running or are considering doing so in the future, one of the most important items on your shopping list will be an effective and supportive sports bra.
When you first take up running, you’re no doubt wondering when it’s going to get easier, when your breathing will improve and when you might run your first 5K. These are all fair questions, but the answer to all of them is this: these things will take care of themselves in time. Run regularly and the results will come. Your breathing will be fine in the end and your mileage will gradually increase. A more burning issue for new runners is choosing the right sports bra. Get it right and you won’t even notice you’re wearing it when you’re actually running – get it wrong and you’ll know all about it. Chafing and rubbing will hamper your runs and guarantee you miles of discomfort as well as some dangerous bouncing that won’t do you any favours in the long run.
Running without proper support will damage the ligaments in the bust and once they’ve been stretched, they won’t ever return to their pre-stretched state. Yes, this means premature sagging. “When we run, our breasts move in a figure of eight motion, causing stretching of the supporting structures, known as the Coopers Ligaments,” says Lisa Cunningham, Sales & Marketing Representative from Moving Comfort (www.movingcomfort.com). “This can be very painful, leading to chafing and permanent damage. Without the correct support, damage over time will result in the Coopers Ligaments losing their elasticity, resulting in pendulum-shaped breasts.”
There are two main types of sports bras – compression and encapsulation. Compression bras do what it says on the tin, literally compressing the breast against the chest wall to reduce movement. Encapsulation bras encapsulate the breasts individually and provide support from underneath. If you can, go to a running store that offers a sports bra-fitting service. Staff in running stores have special training and know the products well. Rather than just relying on how the bra looks and feels in a running store, make sure you actually run wearing it on the treadmill. “It’s a perfect way to give the sports bra the bounce test, ” adds Lisa. “If you can’t do that, then jog on the spot. This will determine if the bra is giving you enough support for running, as movement of the breasts should be minimal.”
How often you replace your sports bra depends on how often you run and wash it. If it starts to look worn, begins to feel less secure or if the elasticity starts to give, then be sure to replace it. A sports bra should never live to celebrate its first birthday!