Running (or my version of it) is part of my fitness regime and I highly, HIGHLY, recommend it (see my post HIIT and Run) but there is some essential preparation involved or you could risk doing more harm than good; I’m talking about protecting our greatest asset here. Yep, those boobs.
It’s no good burning fat and getting a nice pert runner’s butt if you’re going to neglect your top set and do some serious damage. Saggy boobs are not part of the plan, especially self-inflicted ones. My one piece of advice on running, above ALL else, is to invest in a good running bra.
I think I’ve found the best one on the market: the Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra. At £35 or so a pop it’s not cheap but this bra transformed my running from the first time I wore it. I don’t think there can be a better one out there.
Unfortunately I didn’t start with one of these bras so my running got off to a bit of a false start… As a 36C I don’t think I’m particularly big-boobed but the pain I was getting in my chest when I started running – wearing either my normal bra, or, worse, a supermarket bought ‘sports’ bra – was almost debilitating, and eventually my GP sent me for a mammogram to get my breasts checked out. The hospital identified running with a completely useless bra (my words, theirs were a bit more technical) as the cause. I should have put two and two together long before getting to this point, because I cut short many sessions on the treadmill because my boobs were hurting from bouncing!
The Shock Absorber Run Bra has a figure-of-eight shape which reduces breast movement in all directions, protecting the ligaments which support our boobs (called Cooper’s ligaments). The shape was devised after doing proper tests and research into how boobs move during running, so it isn’t just based on producing something that looks good. The bras have chunky adjustable straps and do look a bit industrial, but they’re available in loads of bright colours now, rather than just the black and white versions they launched with. And they go up to an F cup.
As soon as you put this bra on you really do get the sense of being completely strapped in, and movement while you’re running is minimal so you can focus entirely on your workout. I’ve had no pain since I’ve been wearing these bras – they are a revelation.
My only minor criticism is that the shoulder strap length is adjusted by a metal hook which you slide into one of the pre-formed fabric slots. If you repeatedly use the same slot (which I have to as I need the tightest one) the fabric starts to give a bit and eventually the metal hook works its way out and your bra comes apart while you’re wearing it!
Fortunately this has never happened in public, only at home during Jillian Michaels sessions (and it is designed for running movement rather than burpees after all), but it does mean the bra’s pretty useless once this starts to happen and needs binning. I’ve shared this feedback with Shock Absorber, but not had a response from them (disappointingly), even after several months. If you are interested, more info on the science behind this bra can be read on the Shock Absorber website.
So, daft as it may sound, getting the right bra has hugely improved both my performance and enjoyment of running. I can now focus on my running technique and completely forget about breast movement and the pain it used to bring.
But, most importantly, I’m hoping it will also help to keep my boobs in the right place and I’ll be able to justify blogging as fabfitand50something in years to come!
You can buy the Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra in sports shops, on sites like boobydoo and asos and you can pick them up new in www.ebay.co.uk shops quite frequently, generally a bit cheaper too. Whatever you pay, trust me, it’s worth it!