Finally the prerequisite eight weeks have passed and she can run again. Her schedule has her starting on five-minute walk, five-minute run intervals. In terms of mileage, that gives her enough time to run to the bakery and eat a donut. How is this different from any other day?
Yes, running is hard and it isn’t until you’ve managed 5 km without vomiting that you feel worthy of the good stuff, the running gadgets that turn a seemingly cheap activity into an extremely poor investment because let’s be honest, like tires for a car, you depreciated four sentences ago. Of course, better maintenance means an aging body that works and looks better. For flat chested people this means softer toilet paper. For Natasha it means a good sports bra.
The most difficult aspect of running for Natasha has been finding a sports bra that provides support after several washes and doesn’t rip into her skin. Although a well-fitted bra is important for all women it is particularly challenging for the more well-endowed because factors like cup size, body circumference and torso length make finding a perfect fit more complicated. And there are a hundred different ways a sports bra can chaff you. Despite reviews on the Internet or profession bra fittings, you won’t know for sure if what you bought works until you’re bruised and hemorrhaging, when it’s unlikely the salesperson is going to take it back. You’re best chance is to know what to look for before you buy so Natasha’s going to share some tips.
1. Shoulder strap
Is the strap adjustable? A lot of back cross-over bras are not and this leads to a poor fit especially if you tend to have better posture in front of a mirror than crawling 500 metres up a hill. While you probably don’t look like Quasimodo running, it’s also unlikely that you’re sticking your chest out like a Victoria Secret model. Torso lengths vary. Make sure the strap gives you cushioning and enough adjustability so that over time as the fabric stretches you still get a good fit.
Check the stiffness of the edges. Areas to watch out for are around the shoulders and around the torso. If they’re paper thin they will cut like one. Zigzag seams have more of a pillow effect than straight seams.
|Straight seam, sharp edges|
|Zigzag seam, cushioned edges|
3. Elastic around the Torso
This should be wide and snug (not tight). While the over-the-shoulder boulder-holder is fighting off inertia, the elastic should be immovable because it ‘anchors’ the entire bra. Be wary of bras where the material from the cup is sewn only to the very bottom of the bra. As you run, the cup will pull on the elastic. If it’s not reinforced by two seams, the bottom of the elastic will start to turn up. Also pick a size bra that fits when using the middle closures for added room to adjust later on.
|elastic is not secured to seam|
It should lie smoothly with no wrinkles to avoid chafing. You shouldn’t be spilling out over the top (the sides are not as big a deal for vertical motion although this could suggest wrong size) and in fact some bras are made with extra support on the top of the cup to keep you ‘pinned’ down.
5. The Usual Advice
Don’t wear cotton, discard your bra as frequently as your runners, and look for breathability features. Don’t buy anything you haven’t tried unless you can return it. Ratings/reviews are only helpful in suggesting problem areas. Natasha won’t recommend a type of bra because everyone’s body is different. Judging by the lack of choice in the stores, this is something manufacturers still don’t seem to get.