3 years ago every one of my long runs was tainted by the dreaded bra burn. In fact every step I took past the 12km mark would elicit that horrific chinese-burn type pain, and that wasn’t even the worst of it. Hitting the shower post work out had me squealing in agony! Not to mention the laughs that I would get from my Spray tanner… it wasn’t a pretty site!
I was reminded about all this on my run yesterday morning. As I approached the 8km point I felt the heat build around my bra band and realised pretty quickly why. I was running in a bra that I purchased over 2 years ago, I hadn’t used it recently but decided to stick it on so I could review it. What I didn’t think carefully about was the fact that I had lost a few kilo’s since I had it fitted, and it was no longer sitting firmly around my ribcage.
Bra burn, or chaffing around the bra band region is caused by a combination of moisture and friction. Obviously when working out it can be difficult to regulate the sweat and subsequent moisture build up, but friction is fairly easy to control around this area.
Here are my top tips to prevent bra burn:
1. Have your Sports Bra fitted professionally. The band that runs around your ribcage must be firm. If it is not tight enough then it will shift easily while you are moving and result in friction.
2. Choose a bra with moisture wicking materials. Most quality Sports Bras will use material fibres that draw moisture away from the skin. Be mindful that these capabilities only last a certain number of washes, current standards for this in apparel is roughly 40-80 washes varying from brand to brand. I’m not aware of any everyday bras that use these technical fabrics, so another reminder not to attempt to train in your everyday bra.
3. Make sure you skin in completely dry before putting on a Sports Bra. Along with this, never be tempted to put on a damp or not-quite-dry Sports Bra, it is a recipe for disaster.
4. Apply anti-chaffing solutions pre work out if you are prone to any sort of chaffing. I have had good experiences with Body Glide, Healed Anti-Chaffing Balm (healedonline.com) or an easy to find option is always Bepanthen.
Just to reiterate point 1above the most common mistake that people make when dealing with this issue is buying a bra that is looser to reduce the pressure on the affected area, or loosening the bra band. This is only going to exacerbate the problem.
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