It’s all about the banding when it comes to Sports Bras – but even more so for Sports Bras for distance runners.
Almost every runner has experience dreaded chafing somewhere at some point – ooh and the nasty sting in the shower post run!
But avoiding chafing is usually down to a few simple steps.
- Make sure your Sports Bra banding is firm.
You don’t want your bra to be rib-crushingly-too-tight-to-breath firm but you do want it firm enough that the band cannot move.
Having a firm band around the rib cage is the number one rule for getting a Sports Bra or any bra fit right. If the band is firm the majority of support will come from the band and it will apply less pressure to the straps on the shoulders. The bra will be more comfortable and more effective at holding breast tissue in place.
If the band is too loose you immediately lose support for breast tissue, place greater pressure on the straps AND increase your risk of chafing – because the band will move around the rib cage. This is especially true of distance runners as they deplete fluids and grams to kilograms of physical weight as they run.
- Make sure the Cup is snug.
For all the same reasons as above – if there is any room in the cup you lose support and invite chafing. You want it tight – compressive – but not so much that breast tissue is spilling out the top or that you feel crushed.
- Make sure the bra doesn’t sit too high.
As Sports Bras are often ‘’crop’’ style another common chafe point is if the bra sits too high and digs into the tissue above the breasts and slightly in from the arm pits. This is a potential friction point due to arm movement during running. As runners seek higher coverage from a Sports Bra to close vertical escape routes for breast tissue – which we love – sometimes they can sit too high and cause issues.
- Wear a breathable, moisture/sweat wicking material.
It might sound simple but the wrong fabric close to the skin can increase the risk of chafing. Cotton based materials for example will become saturated with sweat and lose most of their breathability.
- Arm yourself with an anti-chafe product
Sometimes everything you try will not be good enough. Be sure you are well hydrated and arm yourself with an anti-chafe product like Body Glide. It needs to be something that is water based and NOT petroleum based. And if you already have chafing protect it from getting worse with a film dressing.
There are some schools of thought that you shouldn’t wear underwire for distance running. In fact this is an entirely individual decision. If a wire is sitting well in the right place and on the right person some runners will find they prefer this as it will assist to encapsulate the breast tissue reducing sweat pooling between the breasts. Others will find the wire will not sit correctly on their sternum and this can cause irritation as they progress into their run and deplete in fluids. Unfortunately, as our bodies have so many variables, this is one thing that can only be determined when tested on the track.
Getting your Sports Bra professionally fitted can help to ensure you’ve ticked as many of the right boxes as you can before you head out to hit the pavement.