Jiggle, Bounce, Flop: Do Our Breasts Slow Us Down?

Jugs. Now these would be hard to run with. (Photo credit: henry…)

Running with breasts.

I have breasts. I have rather large breasts. I blame my mother for them, but nevertheless they are mine.

Does having an ample bosom hinder women’s athletic success? Honestly I never thought about it until I read Amanda Hess’ article in the EPSN Body Issue, You Can Only Hope to Contain Them.

It got me thinking: do our breasts slow us down? Personally, I have not had the luxury of running without them so I have nothing to compare it to. And there is no way for me to take them off to figure that out. That’s not to say that I haven’t noticed that they impact my running life. They do. 

I like to avoid these out on the road and in my bra. (Is that a Ferrari?) (Photo credit: vistavision)

Running generally makes me feel strong, invincible, and very empowered unless I have to worry about my breasts. Many of us know the drill:  adjusting the bra straps, jumping up and down while in front of the mirror to make sure we are not bouncing, also checking and double checking to make sure the nipples do not show (the main reason you’ll never see me in a white bra). I do that when I first try on a bra, but after that I don’t think about my breasts very often and I never thought of them as hindering my progress. And I think containing them is the wrong verb. I support mine. Containing seems so harsh, like I am strapping them down in cages.

I try to keep them from bouncing, to support them. I have gone through many, many, many different types of bras in an effort to harness their propulsion. I use that word because in an article in the ESPN Body issue, Hess wrote that the nipples on a C-or D-cup breast on a hurdler can accelerate up to 45 mph in one second which is faster than a Ferrari and that in an hour of moderate running my breasts will bounce several thousand times. That sure sounds like propulsion to me.

Real world, I may not be as fast as a hurdler, but that still gives my breasts a few miles per hour of forward movement and at the very least several hundred times of bounce. And that calls for some heavy reinforcement for support.

I know this from experience. One day I had on a cute little sports bra, which in hindsight I can only describe as a tube top with spaghetti straps. Did I mention that I have big breasts? Anyway, I put the top on and went out of a run. About half mile into it I felt strange. I was having a very hard time finding my rhythm. Cars were honking as they passed me and I was oblivious. Until I looked down. I looked down and saw my naked breasts which had escaped from the running top. Need I say more? I don’t think so.

What are you looking at?  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hess also stated in her article that large breasts can interfere with a woman’s competitive sports career. Could that be why I am not a world class athlete? No, I am sure there are other reasons. But I am not allowing my breasts to stop me from running. I am a woman, I have breasts.

Do my breasts slow me down? Is it just me or is this a stupid question, anyway? Does it matter if they slow me down? Unless I am willing to modify them someway, which I am not, what difference does it make?

The fact is that we can always find reasons not to run. We do not need journalists or anyone for that matter to give us more. Big breasted women! Small breasted women! Medium-sized breasted women! Go get fitted for a bra and hit the pavement or the trail. It may take a while to find the perfect bra, but it is well worth it to feel strong, invincible, and empowered regardless of your pace. And after all, don’t we all need support?

What do you do to keep your breasts behaving? Do you think yours slow you down?

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I eat miles for breakfast, or occasionally for a snack later in the day. Self proclaimed 50+ and fabulous poster child, US Army vet, college professor, avid runner, yoga enthusiast, guest columnist, and I've used Olay since I was 17 so they should use me in at least one of their ads!

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  1. I’ve never had to worry about my breasts, because they are really small and I’m basically flat-chested when I wear a sports bra. I guess there might be advantages to being flat-chested as a runner? I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never experienced running with large breasts.

  2. ROFL @ the story about your boobs popping out on the run 🙂 Like Jojo, mine are super super small so I’ve thankfully never had to worry!! I did know it was an issue though, based on my larger-breasted runner friends who are always jealous of my ability to wear super cheap Target sports bras 🙂

    1. I can laugh now at my sudden exposure, but I was horrified when it happened. Sadly, Target sports bras do not work for me, but I am glad they work for others.

  3. Woo! Nicely written, Chipotle! (and SO SORRY to hear about that wardrobe malfunction out on the road. Yikes…) For a lot of years, my chest was a big (ha!) source of stress and embarrassment on the track and in cross-country. I spent the first 16 years of life flat as a board, then retired from competitive gymnastics my junior year of high school and switched to running. Puberty struck. Chaos ensued. I was 5’4, 115lbs., built like a distance runner but totally unprepared to deal with the brand new set of D-cup boobs that seemed to materialize overnight. I was horrified.

    I tried the doubled-up sports bra method. I switched to baggy clothes. I developed a stooped-shoulder posture to try and minimize my profile. I felt like a mutant around all of my flat-chested running teammates…and I had looked JUST LIKE THEM for so long. I was pretty pissed off, to tell you the truth.

    It took me a loooooong time to embrace my shape. I’m still the same size today, but I’ve corrected my nervous/embarrassed posture and that habit of wearing tent-like clothing. Gotta be proud of what your mama gave ya’, right? Bra manufacturers have come a long way, so I don’t have to wear two layers anymore (thank you, Moving Comfort! I love their bras.) I don’t feel like my breasts hinder me in any way when I run…I just had to get used to the idea that I’d probably never have the typical “runner look” again. I wanted it, but I got over it. Life became less stressful when I realized I could be an athlete AND have boobs… 🙂

    1. Awesome about embracing your shape. It took me a while to do that as well, but I am so glad I did. It makes life much easier. As for the ‘runner’s look’ we are all beautiful and diverse just the way nature intended.

  4. Great post! I’m a C cup & I realize the importance of being properly fitted & I’d never let my breasts keep me from running. Like you, I never gave it much thought. Now my derrière is another story…I have some concerns about gravity pulling me back. LOL! Still it doesn’t keep me from this sport I love.

  5. I wish there were a way to shrink them. I finally have a properly fitted industrial-strenght sports bra (thank the world for companies like Moving Comfort that realize large chested women want to run too!) that works for me, but it took me 5 years, and many a chafed ribcage/breast to find it. I am often jealous of a close friend who occasionally goes on short runs sans sports bra. I don’t know if it affects my speed, but it definitely affects my comfort on long runs. Now that I have a bra that works, I wish I could carry cards for good sports bra companies to hand out to women I see on the running path–some of them look so uncomfortable in their Target sports bras.