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Gear Me

March 1, 2011

The question is, is she wearing a sports bra behind that sign?

Although I enjoy procrastinating hourly on our Facebook page, there are a couple of questions that repeatedly come up about gear. As good runners, we, of course, never tire of talking about gear. However, in the interest of efficiency, I thought I’d gather five of them here to start a resource called, creatively, Gear FAQ (I’m all ears for better suggestions…) which will eventually live under our Favorites heading.

Where can I find bottoms to fit my long or short legs?
The good designers at Athleta and Lucy know that legs come in all inseams and that pants of varying styles should too. Bless them.

I’m plus size, and I need some good running clothes. Ideas?
Realizing all runners are shaped more like an average American woman than lithe gazelles, New Balance, BornFit and Moving Comfort all go up to 2XL in most of their cute styles. Another resource is junonia; these dual-layer shorts, which go up to 4x, offer serious protection against red, angry thighs.

Sage is sage when it comes to unkinking running muscles.

My hamstrings are screaming worse than my two-year-old. What’s your favorite yoga video?
I give a big namaste to The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga by Sage Rountree because you can choose the pose sequences you want to do (read: You can stretch for 15 minutes or 75 minutes), which are helpfully labeled with titles like “IT Band Flow” and “Hamstring Strap Series.” Also, it’s great for all levels of yoginis, and doesn’t take yoga too seriously, if you know what I mean.

After having four kids/while I’m nursing/because I’ve never found one that does the job, I need a sports bra makeover. Where can I find a bra that fits?
While I think nothing can replace getting measured and trying on a bunch of bras back-to-back (or should I say chest-to-chest?) to figure out what feels best, there are some great online retailers. Title Nine has long been known for its sports bra expertise, and Athleta just debuted their expanded sports bra line. When I was researching bras for this review in Runner’s World–I included DD+ because of the responses we got from RLAM’ers–I found herroom, which I think might have the most comprehensive inventory for larger-chested women, including Enell, the hook-and-closure-up-the-front bras which is the style of choice for many blessed chests.

The Nike+ SportsWatch GPS looks fast. That counts for something, right?

I’m becoming obsessed and want to track my every step. What mileage-measuring device should I get?

While SBS and I are excited about the April 1 launch of the Nike+ SportWatch GPS, right now we’ve both got Garmins on our wrists. SBS favors the smaller Forerunner 110, which tracks the basics (distance, pace, time run) out of the box, with very little thought necessary. I have tried the 110, but still opt for my 305, which also tracks basics but on a larger screen, so I, who loves as many distractions from running as possible, can see four measurements at once. (The 305 also has many more capabilities, like virtual races and mapping your runs, but I haven’t gone there yet. And likely never will.)

So I’m not quite Wiki-Dimity, but I’m game for tackling any gear question. Much easier to answer those than Ben’s question to me today: “Why don’t you let us have stuffed animals anymore, Mom?” Phrased that way, it sounds so harsh, but all I (innocently) said at the zoo one day was, “You guys have way too many stuffed animals. I’m not buying anymore.”

So as long as you don’t asked for a stuffed meerkat, I’m happily taking questions to add to the pile. Fire away.

48 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary permalink
    March 1, 2011 4:48 am

    What gloves/mittens are best? I have a pair of Nike gloves that I bought at a big box store that do nothing more than cover my fingers (read: fingers frozen in 20 degree runs). Plus, I’d like to be able to use my iPhone with them on. Great post as I usually don’t ask on other blog/forum sites! Thanks so much!

    • March 1, 2011 5:14 am

      ***Dimity and Sarah – my previous response to Mary blew up – please delete the comment and edit the one below:

      Mary – I also run with my iPhone (I LOVE the Nike+GPS App!). There are iPhone gloves available from Amazon called Agloves. They’re only $17.99 and are awesome!

      • Mary permalink
        March 1, 2011 12:27 pm

        Those are so techie! I’ll give them a try! Thanks for the suggestion!

        • March 2, 2011 7:37 am

          Love the iPhone gloves…had to resort to using my nose to answer my phone while running a Ragnar Relay leg in the dark…Thankfully, it was dark so no one saw that smooth move!

          • Sarah Bowen Shea permalink
            March 6, 2011 3:03 pm

            Paige–I have tried using my nose, then my tongue (!), to get cold or wet iPod to work. No luck for me.

  2. March 1, 2011 5:16 am

    Does anyone know of a good nursing sports bra (perferably one for less than $50)? I take my baby to bootcamp class with me and a regular sports bra does some funny stuff to my boobs when I slide it up to nurse baby Amber.

    • March 1, 2011 6:05 am

      I think there is an Anita that will do the job. It didn’t quite work for me because I am an F cup (urgh), but if you are an E or lower it will probably be great! Should be on herroom or bare necessities, or maybe biggerbras.

    • Alessandra permalink
      March 1, 2011 9:05 pm

      Moving comfort’s Juno has straps that adjust/release on the front side. They only go up to DD, but I poured my E/Fs into one ok.

      • Carol permalink
        March 2, 2011 6:43 am

        I can 2nd the MC Juno… I used to take release the straps to pump. Worked great.

  3. March 1, 2011 5:40 am

    Any running bra tips for less endowed runners? I’m roughly a 36A in regular bras, but tried on a Moving Comfort in that size recently and it gapped on the top and sides of the cups. The thing is, I have a big rib cage and shoulders and can’t stand a too tight chest band. I’m making do with the Champion Seamless Double Drys I’ve had for way too many years (plus one new one) but I’m in my 40s, and even my girls could use some bounce protection!

    • Susan A. permalink
      March 1, 2011 6:49 am

      You sound almost exactly like me in size and problem areas. I have two that I love- Lululemon Power Y. I use the size 8 due to my ribs and I get the bra cup inserts to compensate for the gap. I also have a Handful in medium and I use their bra cup inserts also. I don’t always use the cups, depends on the workout.
      Hope that helps. I think Lucy webiste has Handful on sale right now. Regular price on both is around $40.00.

      • sheryl permalink
        March 1, 2011 8:07 am

        Same question here…. 32A and would like to try something with pads, but have been hesitant due to the bad experience with bathing suits. They never seem to stay in place!

        • Janette permalink
          March 1, 2011 5:59 pm

          Handful are great for smaller breasted women, I just bought another one as I love them. The pads stay in place nicely and you don’t end up with the uniboob look, they’re also very supportive. Plus they come with a lingerie bag to wash them in which is a nice touch. (

          • March 2, 2011 5:47 am

            Thanks to both Susan and Janette for the ideas!

          • March 2, 2011 6:21 pm

            The Handfuls are really supportive enough for running long distances? They look so different than what I’m used to!

      • March 2, 2011 5:46 am

        Thanks, I’ll check it out!

  4. Samantha permalink
    March 1, 2011 5:41 am

    As always, your post is chalk full of great info. Thanks! The problem I have with bras is that in every single bra I’ve tried on (and there have been MANY) I’m between sizes and no one seems to have one that holds the girls properly and is the right size around. It’s insane. Really. I’ve even been measured. The cups aren’t HUGE too big, just a little. Perhaps I should start carrying my kleenex there.

  5. March 1, 2011 5:57 am

    Earbuds within a reasonable price range, if it even exists? The cord is a mile long on, otherwise awesome, skull candies. Ugh! I hate the damn cord! I got so frustrated with it on my last run that I yanked out my buds a 1/2 mile in and went the rest of the run in silence.

    • March 1, 2011 8:20 pm

      Alecia, I bought some really nice earbuds at Ross for $5.99! look there. the cord is perfect and sound quality as good as my hub’s HTC’s earbuds.

    • Jeana permalink
      March 3, 2011 2:40 pm

      I deal with the long cords by running them down my shirt, through the back of my bra, and out the bottom. I wear my Nano on my hip, so it works well. Possibly the best advice from a trainer ever!

  6. Terri permalink
    March 1, 2011 6:47 am

    Does anyone make a sports bra that is nude? I honestly don’t know why anyone makes white bras at all. White bra under white shirt, ugh!

    • Kristen S. permalink
      March 1, 2011 7:20 am

      Champion makes nude ones, I’ve got two shades, for the tan me and the winter me! I live close to an outlet, and there pretty inexpensive there.

    • barbara permalink
      March 1, 2011 8:45 am

      I love the Champion Powerback Underwire Sports Bra — it comes in white, black and two “nude’ish” colors. I have the lighter of the two and it works great under white shirts.

      • Janette permalink
        March 1, 2011 6:02 pm

        Handful also comes in nude, I just bought one last week to wear under a lululemon shirt that has some see-through panels on the back.

  7. Kristen F permalink
    March 1, 2011 7:51 am

    no questions but now I am so excited about the new Nike+! wonder what the cost is going to be…. May be a happy mothers day to me….

  8. Megan permalink
    March 1, 2011 7:58 am

    REALLY…is it even possible to find the perfect jacket for cold/wet days that doesn’t make you sweat more??? I thought I found one in the Mountain Hardware Geist jacket but think it is failing as well….

    Also, do you have the $10 velcro band that sells indpendent of the Garmin 305 watch – if you don’t, it’s awesome and fits beautifully rather than the clunk of plastic it comes with!

    • Laurie A. permalink
      March 1, 2011 10:10 am

      Megan, where would you buy the Velcro band? Is it through Garmin or elsewhere? I have never heard of it, but I think it would be wonderful! Thanks.

  9. Lisa permalink
    March 1, 2011 8:12 am

    Love the length of the Athleta pants (my inseam is 34″,) but has anyone else noticed the quality has not been the same since Gap bought them?

  10. AngG permalink
    March 1, 2011 8:27 am

    I’m normally an A-cup runner, but when I’m nursing, I go up to a D (and that’s at the start of my run, but the time I finish, I’ve no doubt that I’m a DD at that point!). Living most of my life as a very small-chested woman I had NO IDEA what to do with those things so that I could run comfortably. It usually involved a complicated layering technique of nursing bra with double pads and then a sports bra or two over the top to hold everything down. It was hot, chafing and uncomfortable. Then I found the Tytenz chest strap at a marathon expo and it saved me. It’s just a flexible fabric strap that you put on over your regular sports bra and above ‘the girls’ that velcros together. Nothing moved! At. All. It was wonderful and I used it throughout my entire nursing “career”. Now somewhat happily returned to an A-cup (easier to run, not nearly as va-va-voom), I still remember that Tytenz strap fondly. It made getting back up to speed after childbirth SO much easier.

  11. Melinda permalink
    March 1, 2011 9:18 am

    For your bra article have you heard of lululemon? I’ve not tried any of their bras but I met a gal at a race a couple of weeks ago she purchased the Ta Ta Tamer….they have some fun cute names that from what I’ve read get the job done.

    Lululemon also makes skirts…..for as much as I’ve read that you both love skirts. I just ordered my first one, I’ve never ran in or owned a running skirt. They are super cute and come in all kinds of styles.

    This company also ships free to the USA.

    They are worth checking out.

    • Terry permalink
      March 1, 2011 6:51 pm

      Lulu bras are the BEST! Mine were up to something in the range of G or H and I have a Lulu the Bust stops here, Love it! First time I’ve been able to go with just one bra since having my baby.

  12. Lizzie permalink
    March 1, 2011 1:05 pm

    I love this post! Mostly because that is the funniest picture I’ve ever seen. I laughed right out loud.

  13. March 1, 2011 1:27 pm

    For the larger chested women – I could not run without my ENELL bra! LOVE! I am afraid to try anything else when this works.

    • julie permalink
      March 1, 2011 7:02 pm

      I second the Enell!! After trying and buying over a dozen bras, this one (although pricey) works best. (I’m a 36F/G)

  14. RLR permalink
    March 1, 2011 6:14 pm

    Re: running bottoms for curvy women, I LOVE the Jackie by sugoi. I have the tight (it is nice and long with a zip at the ankle) and the knicker (capri-length). The knicker is my favorite piece of running gear besides my shoes!

  15. March 1, 2011 7:21 pm

    LOL “gear me” … “Lord beer me strength”
    Thanks for the tips.

  16. Pilar permalink
    March 1, 2011 7:49 pm

    Another great post. This one links very closely to last week’s mom/runner post. So here is what happened to me this past Saturday.

    Decided to run outside for the first time since late October. I know lots of folks hate the Mill, but I hate cold weather even more. Plus, I live in CT and I’m a wimp. Anyway, this all means that I don’t have cute cold weather clothes. So I throw on truly grubby sweats and horrendously old turtleneck and out I go.

    Proceed to have a terrible run. Really unpleasant. Half way through I get passed by a woman totally decked out in fabulous cold weather running gear. She looked great and was really motoring by me. And, I notice that she is pregnant!! I immediately thought of all of you and just had to reach out to a fellow running mom! So I said “Hey, have you heard of this really great book called Run Like a Mother?”. And she barely glanced over her shoulder at me long enough to say, “No! I run like a runner!” Of course I had no witty come back because I continue to be stunned by people who are just mean.

    So, she really hurt my feelings and if I could have caught up with her I like to think I would have said something witty. But I didn’t.

    What’s really funny is that I always thought of the title as more like Run Like a Mother F—er. You know strong powerful. The whole nine yards.

    Just remind me to be nice if/when I ever see her again!

  17. Jennifer permalink
    March 1, 2011 11:45 pm

    I would love some info on fuel belts. I have been considering one for my first marathon. Right now I just drop water along our trail but I like the idea of being in control of my water for the race. I have been reading reviews for them and one reviewer said that the belt was not a good race belt. So now I am wondering what the difference is between a fuel belt for training and racing?

  18. Jill in Little Rock permalink
    March 2, 2011 6:45 am

    Gear question: what makes clothes “compression” and why do I want that? Newbie, can you tell?

  19. March 2, 2011 3:39 pm

    If you have a smartphone/iPhone, apps can do almost as much, if not more than a Garmin. Take Runmeter for example, the app does it all and if you’re into connecting with other runners you can sync all of your workout datas to and reap motivation from your dailymile friends. Measure distance, splits, ghost runs, compete virtually, import your routes, etc. Can Garmin do all of that? Runmeter – $4.99 (US).

  20. March 2, 2011 8:43 pm

    My gear question is on shoes. I’ve been in stability shoes for the last year, but went to my local running store to check into some new shoes the other day because I was having shin and hip pain. They told me that I overpronante when I walk, but not as much when I run so that felt like I’d be better off in a shoe that is one step down from a stability shoe. I guess my question is when you are looking at shoes by yourself, how do you determine if they are stability shoes, motion control, etc. And what is the category for a shoe that is one step down from a stability shoe-a nuetral cushioned shoe? Thankful that my brand new copy of runners world mag is in front of me so I can even name various types of running shoes. I’d love some insight on this so I don’t feel quite so ignorant when I need to buy more shoes. Thanks!

  21. March 3, 2011 2:25 am

    WOW! This is awesome – so much information. I recently bought the Ironman Triathlon Watch and am still waiting to get it in the mail! I used to to be much of a gear junkie (my husband is big time) and I am slowly getting bit by the bug – mainly when I can find amazing deals on Amazon! Got the watch at half price… sooo… I love reading posts about gear of all sorts – especially when it comes from women.

  22. March 4, 2011 1:15 pm

    Do you have any solutions for sports bras that are padded or thick enough to cover so a nursing or post-nursing mother doesn’t, um, poke through the shirt? I used to only have this problem when it was cold outside, but now it’s an everyday running issue. I’ve tried nursing pads in my sports bras, but they slide around too much.

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