*Disclaimer: if you arrived at this post because “big boob” was in the title then it’s quite possibly not the type of blog you are looking for. There aren’t any pictures of naked breasts. Just thought I would break it to you upfront. But thanks for the page view!
After last week’s rant, I realized I have a giant opinion on running with bigger breasts. I also realized I might have some decent information to pass along to other women who are trying to figure out how to “lock and load” and run with a little less, ahem… bounce in their steps. Here are my rules and advice for running with a larger chest.
1) Buy a good running bra: I cannot emphasis this enough. Go to a running store and ask for some suggestions. Swallow the embarrassment and find out from a salesperson which ones are best sellers or get positive reviews from other runners. Then grab a giant handful. Yes, you will need to try several on so give yourself some time. I always grab the band size that I wear in an everyday bra along with one size bigger. Then I also pick up a cup size smaller than what I wear in an everyday bra along with the same size and even one size bigger. I take different brands and styles. See what I mean? This process takes some time.
2) Try these babies out! In the dressing room, jump up and down, run in place, bend over – whatever you need to do to attempt seeing how this bra will perform. And face the mirror. It’s important to evaluate how much bounce is happening and if when you are jumping your breasts are spilling out the top or if there is too much jiggle.
3) Small, medium and large are not sizes! The best bras for larger chests will be an actual cup size. I used to attempt to get the ones in a small/medium/large and I realized quickly these were not very supportive. They also have bras that are “uni-boob” style, more individual cups and underwire/no underwire. I have asked which are better and again it comes down to fit and what you prefer. At this point, I really like the “uni-boob” style because it feels like I am more supported and compressed.
4) Fit is important! Moving Comfort has a great guide to a better fitting sports bra. They give solid tips and even say it isn’t their brand that fits best, no worries. Find the right bra for YOU. Two of the tips I found most important were: A) if the bra band slips/sits high on your back (in an arc) then the band is TOO LOOSE. B) if you are spilling out the top or the sides the cup size is too small.
5) Be prepared to drop some cash. I agree it’s a bit unfair… the sports bra industry has us over a barrel. We need the support and we are going to pay for it. However, I consider it an investment. I want to support my chest/body. Also, there is a lot of design and engineering that goes into creating these bras so I am willing (although at times begrudgingly) to pay for it.
6) Tank tops with a built-in bra are not for us! Okay, they are for us but not by themselves – we still need a sports bra. I do like the added support of a built-in bra but I have seen women running in JUST this that really need added support.
7) I haven’t found Target, Old Navy to be very supportive. I know this is annoying because it’s easy to pick these up but they just don’t have all of the bells and whistles necessary for good support IMHO.
8) Bodyglide is your friend! Let’s face it – when you are bigger busted, your boobs can rub together or underneath and this chaffing is very rude. I do think separating sports bras probably help with this and might be something I look into in the future. But I don’t think this will ever take the place of anti-chaff cream so I am a Bodyglide woman.
9) If you don’t pay attention to fit or are wearing a size too small or too big bad things can happen.
Trust me – I yelped so loud in the shower, I am surprised my family didn’t hear me in WA. The thing is, I didn’t even feel this happening when I was running. And I didn’t pay attention to #1 on the list and was just too embarrassed to buy a bigger cup size bra so I wore one that I still sort of fit into. Big mistake. Diaper rash creams and Bodyglide were two of the best solutions I found to healing the above nastiness. Neosporin did not work for me – it seemed to keep it too wet. Also, it took a few days before I could even wear a real bra so learn this lesson through my mistake!!
10) Fluctuating even 7-10lbs can put you in a different size. I did not realize this hence the unfortunate incident above. If it fits it must be okay! Well this mindset is simply not true. I read this somewhere and when I got the bigger size I was shocked to see how much better it felt and supported me on the run.
11) Punch people in the face – Yep, people are going to honk their horn, drive by you slower (creepers), or heckle you while you are running. Why? Well, I have no idea why they think is appropriate – maybe they think of it as a compliment? I don’t have a solution for this one except carry on with your run and try to ignore it. Or get a BIG dog. I plan on doing this someday. And I will teach it commands in German because this sounds scary even if I am telling the dog to run up and give the mean person a kiss!
12) Smaller chested women still need a sports bra! Granted, I don’t know as much on this subject however, I do have eyes and all too often I see women not wearing a sports bra at all or not wearing one that seems to be helping. Hello! Think of your body! Think of your future body! I’ve heard GREAT things about the “Handful” bra and this is where Target/Old Navy ones might be possible. But plenty of the big name running folks have good sports bras as well. Invest!
13) I don’t put any of my bras in the dryer – I air dry all of my sports bras (and regular ones) and make sure I don’t add fabric softener to these loads. The fabric softener makes them less sweat absorbent/wicking. Also, I usually only wear a sports bra twice – sometimes less if I am super sweaty – before I wash them.
14) Once you find the right bra for you, you can look for a cheaper source – since I know which sports bras work well for me, I can order them from Running Warehouse and pay a lot less money for them. Or Moving Comfort (and other brands) will have super sales where I stock up. HOWEVER! If #10 is even a possibility DON’T stock up! I went ahead and bought a different style of bra because they were on sale and thought this was why I had horrible chaffing. Turns out it I was wearing the wrong size. Bummer. Now, I have bras for when my chest shrinks a bit but until then they are sitting on the shelf.
Those might be all the tips I have right now. If you made it through this whole post, Congrats! Honestly, as a female, I think it’s really important to take care of our breasts. There are a bunch of science-y articles that talk about mass, force and all of the physics about the impact of running on our breasts. And I know there are better articles out there on finding the best sports bra but this is a decent list, if I do say so myself!