As my half marathon training ramps up, I’ve become all too familiar with the importance of good gear. Good shoes are clearly a given. But as you increase the mileage, things start to rub. I wasn’t exactly in denial about chafing, but as I’ve always kept runs on the short side, I’d never really pushed the limits too much. But I finally found my chafing threshold — 7 miles — the mileage at which an annoying rub turns into all-out bump-inducing-and-maybe-bleeding chafing injury.
I’d done a 7-mile run with no problems. But on my 8-miler, the entire last mile meant that my inner arm was rubbing on my shirt and was rubbed raw. I had to do a weird arms-flapping-like-a-chicken move to prevent myself from rubbing down to the bone. My thighs didn’t escape damage, and somehow my right one attacked my left with a knife. Not sure how Righty wasn’t as injured, but clearly she is more of a bully. I’m now getting the support of anti-chafing cream even during short runs (butter up those thighs, arms and “areas”) and am careful to wear the right clothing because now it matters.
What also matters? The right sports bras because no one wants to get rubbed the wrong way in the boob region, either. We’re Brooks Running ambassadors, so I got to try out one of its new bras for fall, the Frontrunner Racer ($56).
Now, it must be noted that I’m on the smaller side in the breastal region, but I loved everything about this bra. It’s got contoured cups, so it looks prettier than your average sports bra while also giving you enhanced support. It’s also super soft and comfortable — I didn’t feel like I was being smashed yet felt super supported. And chafing? Not a bit. But my favorite part is that the pads are sewn in, so you don’t have to worry about them shifting around or falling out in the wash and never being able to get them back in right. (That’s not just me, right?) If you’re super busty, it might not be enough support for you, but for me, it was perfect — gave me shape and support so I looked good while I ran good.
I also tested the Fineform A/B Sports Bra, which may be the cutest sports bra I own. No, it’s definitely the cutest.
It’s super flattering, really soft and extremely comfortable. The straps are adjustable and can go racerback or open back style. The hook-and-eye closure lets you adjust to your comfort, and again, super comfy. You also don’t have to worry about showing through because there’s just enough padding which is amazing because of how light and thin it feels. I’ve basically tossed my entire collection aside in favor of these two — and I’ll even skip a wash in favor of an air dry so they’re always ready to go. Gross, maybe. But the Brooks experts said I could do it, so I am.
My husband and partner in training also got some kicks to help him run alongside me in the race. We’re twins in our Transcend 3 shoes. Don’t you think we’ll look fast in these?
The Brooks Shoe Finder, by the way, is super helpful when looking for a new running shoe. The questions really narrow down your options by putting you through simple physical tests that determine which shoe will work best for you. Try it out if you are in the market for new kicks.
Now here’s where Brooks gets to support YOU: One lucky reader will get a Brooks Running bra of her choice. If you’re new to Brooks, clearly I’m all for the ones above. BUT. The two other new-for-fall-2016 are awesome. The Anyday bra is built to resemble your normal lingerie but offer enough support to get you through your workout. A bra that can take you from everyday activities to high impact activity? Yes, please. And for the bustier woman, the Embody goes up to a G cup! I wish the winner luck trying to narrow her options down.
To enter, just head over to Fit Bottomed Mamas and tell us in the comments which of the Brooks bras you’d like. Winners will be chosen in about a week. U.S. residents only, please!
What’s it gonna be? —Erin