You know the famous saying “The grass is always greener on the other side?” That is going to apply to today’s post in a big way. (Note: To our few loyal male readers… you might want to stop reading now. This will likely be the most “girly” post we have ever had on the blog!) I often hear women “complaining” about losing their chest once they begin running and working out. While this may be a very real “problem” for some, there is definitely a flip side to this. I am sure many women can relate to my slight jealousy of all the woman that can wear cute tops with built in bras and have all the support they need. Right?
I recently had someone tell me that they were struggling to start running because they couldn’t find a sports bra that fit them well and had enough support for a larger chest. This is definitely not something that was a unique concern to this woman — I have heard this reason before from several women when they explain why they either don’t run or why they hate running. As a larger-chested runner (34DD), this got me to really dive into this “issue” and address it on the blog because I want everyone to be able to enjoy running. (In fact, I want to make my point so strongly that this will likely be the one and only time you will ever see me posting internet photos without a shirt covering my bra!)
Many women I talk to say they “double up” on sports bras. I have never been able to bring myself to do this because it just sounds hot (and definitely not in a “good” sense of being hot!) to me. If I sweat through one sports bra, how awful will two be? When I first started running, I was naïve when it came to sports bras and thought bounce (and a uniboob) was just something I had to deal with. Add to that the fact that when you start running distance in a poor sports bra choice, the bounce causes rub which causes some really painful chafing. As time went on, I knew there had to be better options out there.
So without further
stalling ado, I have decided to model my four favorite running and workout bras. (And yes, my photos have been cropped so as not to display my stomach that does not have Missy’s awesome abs!) I wanted this post to be real though, and show you how they fit in real life — not on the ad model when you go to order online. My current favorite sports bras to run and workout in (in no particular order) are the following:
Moving Comfort Rebound Racer – I like the racerback style of this one and the fact that it actually comes in some cute colors. While performance and comfort are the most important to me in a sports bra, it is nice to have some “cute” options once in awhile. I will say that this isn’t as supportive as some of my other bras so I often use this for shorter (3-6 miles) runs or boot camp days that involve running and jumping. I do feel like this one doesn’t shape as well as some (i.e. a little bit of the uniboob look), but it does the trick.
Moving Comfort Vixen – This one only runs up to a D, but actually fits me well. It gives a little bit more shape that the Rebound Racer and also seems to lift. I am not a “cleavage at the gym” kind of girl, but this bra could definitely get you that look if that’s your thing! This is probably the most comfortable of my sports bras, but also the hardest to squirm out of after a sweaty workout. (When my arms and shoulders have been trashed at boot camp it’s even more fun to try to get this one off to shower!) I have this in three colors currently (nice color options on this one also) and would have to say this is my “go to” daily bra. Good for most runs, jumping, lifting… It is one of those bras that fits in a way you forget about it.
Lululemon TaTa Tamer – This used to be my “go to” before I discovered the amazing Moving Comfort options. It comes in a lot of fun Lulu colors and patterns. A major plus to this one is the optional thin padding/liner in it. It is easily removable, but gives you that option. It has reasonable support — probably along the same lines as the Rebound Racer.
Last, but not least, moving back to Moving Comfort for the Maia. This is my “long run” bra. This one holds everything firmly in place. In fact, it is a little more restrictive than I would like for everyday gym workouts. For long runs where there is potential chafing involved though, this is the one I reach for. It has molded cups (no rub) and gel padded straps. Not a pretty one for sure, but she gets the job done!
I have tested and worn at least 15-20 different sports bra styles over the last few years. Some of it has been trial and error, but a few lessons I have learned in picking a good bra are as follows:
Body Glide (or Aquaphor, Vaseline, etc) is your friend on long runs. What is a “long run” may vary to you, but for me if I am headed out for more than 10-12 miles I will use some sort of anti-chafing product. I suggest putting it along the bottom as well as under the straps. If you skip this, you will be taught a painful lesson upon stepping into your post run shower. Ow.
Make sure your bra fits well. This may seem like a no-brainer, but about a year ago I was wearing bras I thought fit. I was chafing badly. I went to be fitted and found out the band was not tight enough and that was the source of the rubbing. Fitting well means a snug enough fit that you have to do the sweaty wiggle out of it post workout. If you happen to live near a Road Runner Sports, they do free bra fittings. They offer a ton of styles and their staff makes you feel very comfortable. They were the ones who helped me solve my sizing issue awhile back.
If at first you don’t succeed, try more styles!! The ones I am mentioning offer high support, but not the highest. If you want to sport a coat of armor, there is a bra out there for you! A bra that I have heard a lot of women rave about is the Panache bra. I have tried this one and it was not for me, but my point is that one size does not fit all. For that reason, I didn’t want this piece to just be about me. We all are such unique shapes and sizes that I wanted to share the knowledge of several women with you in hopes that one of them might have the right “answer” for you and get you out there running (in comfort)! I wanted to feature women who are all different shapes and sizes with only two things in common – they run and have large chests (a combination of “God given” and by choice).
I put the word out to “recruit” some girls that were willing to share and the response was huge. (It was such great response that I am going to turn them into a “part 2″ of this piece.) This is a very real problem! It actually amazes me that with the growth of women running over the past ten years the clothing manufacturers have done very little to address this need. Several of my recommendations only size up to D or DD. I know this will not help some of you, so I hope some of these readers will give you a good starting point. Stay tuned…
**Note that this is NOT a “sponsored post” in any fashion. I have spent my own money on these bras and did not receive compensation in any form for mentioning brands. All opinions are entirely my own.