written by Allison Land - Run Camp Coordinator, Gazelle Sports Holland.
This one is for the ladies.
Have you ever had an ill-fitted sports bra? One that rubs in all the wrong places and leaves marks on your body long after you’re done running? (Chafing… OUCH!) Have you ever felt like your ladies just have too much bounce? Or that your bra band is too loose? Or that you can’t breathe when you’re running because the band of your bra is too tight?
If you’ve ever run into any of these issues, then you need to be properly fitted for a bra! A well-fitted sports bra should keep you just as comfortable, and is just as important, as a good pair of running shoes. In fact, a sports bra is the second most important piece of equipment for an active woman (second only to shoes)!
Why does it matter?
There is a ligament in our bodies called the Cooper’s ligament. This is a supportive tissue that helps to keep breast tissue in place. Cooper’s ligaments are thin bands interwoven into the breast. Running in an unsupportive bra can lead to premature drooping, as well as back and neck issues. Running in an old bra (a bra should never celebrate a birthday!) can cause the same issues.
What should you look for in a properly fitting bra?
You should be able to fit no more than two fingers sideways under the band. If you can’t fit two, the band is too tight, if you can fit more than two, it’s too loose. If your bra has a back closure, then it should be on the outermost set of hooks. This way, as the elastic of the band stretches, you should be able to move in on the hooks - prolonging the life of your bra. You should not have any gapping at the sides or top of your bra cups - but also should not be bulging out of the sides.
Ideally, you’ll be fitted by an expert at your local running store who will be able to help you choose the right style and fit for you.
Additionally, having multiple bras, just like having multiple pairs of shoes, can prolong the lives of your bras by letting the elastic refresh between wearings. Having multiple bras helps keep your skin healthier. Sweaty clothing, especially that which is worn directly against your body, can be a breeding ground for bacteria, even if you let your bra dry between wearings. Multiple bras also cut down on the number of days you have to do laundry - and who doesn’t like that?
How often should I replace my old bra?
This one is easy to remember. We like to say your bra should never celebrate a birthday. That means if you've had it for more than a year, it's time for a new one!
Buying a new running bra doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are many options out there, but just like the perfect shoe, finding a comfortable bra that’s right for you is imperative for a happy, healthy running experience.