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Ask the Expert: Sports Bras, Sunscreen, and Summer Running for Kids

Run Oregon: I desperately need a better running bra. How do I find the right one for me?

First things first- sizing. Don’t go off of your typical underwire bra size- did you know that up to 80% of women wear the wrong size bra on a daily basis? Go and get fitted by an expert (hint hint, the women of Foot Traffic are bra fitting superstars!). BUT don’t take that size as gospel, because just like with running shoes, different styles and manufacturers will fit differently. Next, choose your impact style. Low impact bras are great for yoga and weight training, a medium impact bra will serve you well for hiking and cycling, and a high impact bra is what you’ll need for running and HIIT training.

Then, try them on! For bras with a hook and eye closure to the back, make sure it’s at it’s loosest setting when you’re trying on — that way, when it stretches over time, you’ll be able to tighten it up. Make sure the shoulder straps aren’t digging in and that they have minimal stretch — many high impact bras have adjustable, padded straps so you can personalize the fit. Next, make sure the bottom band is nice and tight. Most of your support is going to come from the bottom band, so make sure you can fit just one finger between the band and your ribcage. Of course, do a quick bounce test to make sure the girls stay in place. A little movement is okay, but if there’s excessive movement and you can feel the bounce, you need a tighter fit or a more supportive style.

Finally, take good care of your bras! Wash them with a sports detergent (helps remove the bacteria that can linger and cause an unpleasant smell), in a lingerie bag (with all clasps and velcro closed) and hang to dry. Don’t use fabric softener as it reduces the wicking capacity of the material. A high-quality bra can last you anywhere from 9-15 months with proper care. A good rule to follow is to have at least three in rotation– one to wear, one to wash, and one to spare. Bonus: if you’re rotating more than just one bra, they’ll all last a little bit longer.

Run Oregon: It’s still sunny when I run now, which is awesome, but I’m getting sunburnt. What should I do to take care of my skin?

Great question! Too many runners ignore skincare and as a result, end up with painful sunburns and worse. The short answer is cover up! Make sure you’re wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays from sunlight, and if your glasses are polarized, they’ll help reduce glare as well. A good pair of running sunglasses should also have a non-slip coating so they’ll stay on your face even when you’re sweating. Hint hint: try the Tifosi Swank series, available in multiple shapes and colors, and only $25!

Another important factor is keeping the sun off your skin when possible. Wear a hat or a visor to do double duty of shading your eyes and keeping the sun off your face, and cover up your skin with technical apparel when possible. Most running apparel these days has some type of sun protection (measured as UPF) to block harmful UVA and UVB rays from hitting your skin. Light colored fabrics will also help reflect the sun’s rays.

Finally, slather on some sunscreen before you head out. Make sure that it’s a minimum of SPF 30 with broad spectrum protection (meaning it blocks UVA and UVB rays). Don’t forget the tip of your nose and your ears! Bonus: some sunscreens are meant for activity, meaning they won’t sweat off within 30 minutes — look for labels like “active” and “sport” but remember, it won’t last forever, so if you’re planning a multiple-hour effort, make sure to reapply regularly!

Run Oregon: My kids have been bitten by the track bug. How can I get them started in a healthy way so they don’t get pushed too hard or burn out?

First of all, it is highly recommended you consult with an entomologist about that bite. They’ll want to take a look and make sure it doesn’t emit any of those rare performance-enhancing venoms we know so well (read: Spider Man). Once you clear that up, I would rush your kiddo straight to the nearest all-comer track meets this summer! Foot Traffic is one of the few stores that has a wide variety of low cost youth meets and clubs to increase access to the sport. If they are under 14, we also recommend letting them do as many different distances and events as possible, no matter where they are finding the most success. It is shown that variety creates a better (and happier) athlete. It keeps their enthusiasm for the sport high and it also allows them to have a fuller appreciation for each discipline in track (ie. “Jumping over that high jump bar is HARD!”). Last, we highly recommend you join along with them if you haven’t already. These all-comer meets are for ALL ages, and the ol’ adage “do what I say and not what I do” is definitely not the way to go here. Kids LOVE seeing their parents participate!

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About Kelly Barten (1028 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.

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