In this month’s issue, Jennifer Woodson teaches us how to find the right sports bra for running, and Amy Katz shares some delicious post-run smoothie recipes.
IN THIS ISSUE
Finding the Right Sports Bra for Running By Jennifer Woodson
Have you ever passed a fellow female runner and cringed as you watched what you knew to be painful bounce? You know I’m not talking about her ponytail. Boobs, breasts, ta-tas, shoulder boulders, whatever you want to call them, you need to take care of them, especially during the high-impact sport of running.
Sports bras have come a long way since their 1977 inception of two jock straps sewn together which was aptly called the “Jockbra”, but quickly changed to the “Jogbra”. Today, you can find a plethora of styles, but what one is right for you? Here, I’ll discuss why a sports bra is important, and how to determine what style best suits your needs.
Boob Biology: Cooper’s Ligaments
Cooper’s ligaments are bands of fibrous, flexible connective tissue that shape and support your breasts. When the Cooper’s ligaments are stretched, which can be due to age, weight, pregnancy, genetics, etc., they lose strength, and therefore contribute to sagging breast tissue.
A properly fitting bra will help to support the Cooper’s ligaments in maintaining the breast contour and can help delay the onset of sagging breasts. It should be noted that thinning skin, which naturally comes with age, is also a primary contributor to sagging breasts.
Cups: The cup of a bra is designed to hold and shape breast tissue.
Band: Primary breast support comes from the bra band, which is why a sports bra should fit slightly snugger than your day-to-day bra.
Straps: The bra shoulder straps provide secondary breast support and maintain the vertical placement of the bra on the body. Wider straps will provide more support.
Types of Sports Bras
Compression Bra: A compression bra works to hold the breasts down, thus preventing upward movement (aka bounce). This type of bra is generally best for A-C cup sizes.
Encapsulation Bra: An encapsulation bra looks similar to a traditional bra where the breasts are separated, and cups hold the breasts in place. This type of bra is well-suited for D+ cup sizes.
Hybrid Compression/Encapsulation: Often found in sporty racerback styles, combination bras offer the support of encapsulation fit with the activewear look found with compression-fit bras.
During exercise, breasts have been measured to move 20+mm from their resting position. That’s a lot of bounce! All that bounce is straining your Cooper’s ligaments and might also be a painful experience. A good sports bra will help minimize the bounce so you can enjoy your activity.
When shopping for a sports bra, you will often notice they are rated by impact, that is, the level of intensity of the sport or activity. As a runner, you should not choose a low-impact sports bra (even though they tend to be the “cute” ones) because it will not provide the proper breast support. Below are examples of sports that utilize different impact level sports bras:
- Low impact: hiking, weight training, yoga
- Medium impact: roller skating, vigorous walking/light jogging
- High impact: running, soccer, HIIT training
Research conducted at the University of Portsmouth, arguably the world leader in breast kinematic research, found that not only does a high support sports bra reduce breast kinematics during running (as compared to a low support sports bra or braless), but also indicated a possible correlation between breast support and running mechanics.
A high-support sports bra may improve running performance, as compared to a low support sports bra. Or at least it won’t hinder your performance. Although further research is required to confirm the initial findings, if you are a D+ cup size, a high- support sports bra may need to be your next purchase to improve running pace.
How to Measure Yourself
Soft tape measure required, measurements taken while wearing a bra.
- Measure the circumference above the bust, just below the armpits. This will be your band size. You may choose to measure below the bust as well, for comparison, but this measurement is less accurate.
- Measure around the fullest part of the bust. Make sure that the tape measure is kept level and is not too tight/loose. Round this measurement up to the closest inch and subtract the band size you measured in the first step to find the difference.
- The difference between the band and bust measurement will be your cup size. 1 inch=1 letter (1”=A, 2”=B, 3”=C, etc.)
Example: If you measure at 36” above the bust, and 40” at the fullest part of your bust, your bra size is 36D.
Things To Check For When Trying On a New Bra
- The band should be comfortably snug, if the band rides up your back, go down a band size
- Raise your arms over your head, if the band creeps up, you need a smaller size
- There shouldn’t be excessive bulging at the top or by the underarm, if this happens go up a cup size
- Cups should not have wrinkles or gaps, if this happens go down in cup size
- The underwire should sit on the rib cage, not the breasts
- Jump up and down, jog in place, or do jumping jacks to test the support
Despite all of this information, the most important factor in determining what sports bra to purchase, is comfort. While a snug band and wide straps may be recommended, if you are not comfortable, the bra is essentially useless.
Try different brands and styles to find what works best for you. You may discover some bras are perfect for middle distance running, but just won’t work for a 20 miler.
Also, try different sizes in the same style. What may be the perfect fit in one brand, may need adjusting in another style/brand.
Many brands understand the frustration that can come with finding the right sports bra, so check the return policy (Brooks has a generous Return Policy), which can help ease the fear of purchasing a $70 sports bra that may or may not work for your needs.
Jenn’s Extra Bra Tips
- Get fitted by a professional, even if you are not currently managing sagging breasts, because “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. If the fitter does not measure circumference above the bust, go elsewhere (it is OK if they measure above and below). After being measured, a good fitter will be able to make recommendations based on your size and shape. Leave yourself ample time to try on different styles and allow the bra fitter make recommendations based on your feedback.
- Don’t EVER put a bra of any kind in the dryer! The heat from the dryer will accelerate the degradation of the material thus shortening the product’s lifespan (which is generally about one year). Additionally, the color will fade faster. Nothing good will come from putting a bra in the dryer. HANG DRY all bras! HANG. DRY. ALL. BRAS.
- As a general rule, if you are wearing white clothes and prefer to have your undergarments be discreet, choose a color that closely matches your skin tone. A white bra under a white shirt will make the white “pop” resulting in a focus on your bra, instead of your beautiful blouse.
Post-Run Smoothie Recipes By Amy Katz
We all know how important it is to fuel after a long morning run. A quick option is to break out your blender and make yourself a delicious and nutritious smoothie.
Pineapple Green Smoothie
Enjoy a burst of tropical flavor when you sip a healthy Pineapple Green Smoothie. You only need four ingredients to make it, and it’s full of vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatories.
Healthy Chocolate Smoothie
Get your chocolate fix in smoothie form! This healthy chocolate smoothie is smooth, rich & chocolatey, yet full of good-for-you ingredients and super-satisfying too.
Spicy Mango Smoothie
Mango and ginger team up to give this Spicy Mango Smoothie a delicious, tropical flavor with a bit of a bite.
This Snickerdoodle Smoothie has all of the flavors from your favorite cookie in the form of a healthy drink.
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
This blueberry banana smoothie is made with just five ingredients: blueberries, bananas, spinach, chia seeds, and cashew milk.
Treasurer’s Report By Victor Gambone
|Total Cash Balance, Beginning March 1, 2021||4,392.99|
|Cash Inflows: $500.00 Membership; $40.00 Merchandise||540.00|
|Cash Outflows-First Thursday|
|Cash Outflows-RRCA Membership Dues & Insurance|
|Cash Outflows-Social Gatherings|
|Cash Outflows-Other: $4.38 PayPal fees; RunSignUp Fees $31.36||35.74|
|Net Change in Cash||504.26|
|Total Cash Balance, Ending March 31, 2021||4,897.25|
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