BOOBS! LOOK AFTER THEM. 

Right. Time for a sensible and hopefully helpful post. Fellas, this one isn’t for you. Unless you have boobs. Or like boobs. In fact no. It’s not for you. 

After a chat with Christine Bertram over on The Twitter, I feel compelled to write about the benefits of having a properly fitted sports bra. 

Some of you who know me personally (lucky you) will know what my day job is. For those that don’t, when I’m not out pounding pavements or being killed by my bike, I am a fitter and a buyer for Lingerie. I first trained as a fitter in 2003. I’ve been working with it since. 

One of the things I see frequently other than women in poorly fitted bras, is women in poorly fitted sports bras or no sports bra at all. Let me be quite frank here:

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT SIZE YOU ARE. IF YOU DO NOT WEAR A PROPERLY MADE SPORTS BRA THAT FITS YOU ARE CAUSING IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE TO YOUR BREAST TISSUE. 

Did I make that clear? 

Ok good. 

So. Some science. In our boobs, we have things called Cooper’s Ligaments. These help support the breast tissue and once they begin to stretch they will not go back. Even with surgery. These can slacken with age, but most commonly with inadequate support. 

For a long time it was believed that running or “vigorous movement” (giggidy) produced a vertical pattern of movement in the breasts. Actually it’s now been proven that it causes a figure of 8 movement and that is what does the damage.

So. How do you know if you are wearing a correctly fitting bra? Here’s some tips:

  • When were you last measured? Fitters recommend a fit every 6 months. Especially if you’re active or losing weight. Body shape can change a lot in that time. 
  • Go independent. Find a local lingerie shop or independent department store. Their fitters generally have more broad knowledge and experience than in high street stores limited to own-brand products. 
  • Do some googling. Find out what’s popular! 
  • Try some on! A bra will always feel tight at first. Not restrictive. But you should be aware of it supporting you around your ribs. 
  • Sometimes boobs hurt after exercise. If they are very painful around the top of the breast, they are likely not getting adequate support. 

So often I see girls in the gym who are just wearing a normal t shirt bra on the treadmill. I want to say something but there’s no easy way to broach the subject without coming across as a mental. “Hi. I’ve noticed your boobs…” 

So ladies. Please PLEASE make sure you’re fitted. As a runner myself, i have first hand experience of how much better you can feel. And look!! It gives you a greater sense of security and confidence knowing you’re not going to hurt afterwards. 

There are loads out there to choose from. My personal favourites are Shockabsorber’s Run bra. Bit of a mare to get on or off but worth it! And the Panache Sport bra. It’s underwired with a silicone coated wire for additional support and comfort. It’s also moulded with a formed cup for shape and security. 

Ladies, get fitted. 

Bean x

(Please note that these views are my own and I have not been paid by Shockabsorber or Panache) 

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The battle of fun vs. serious.

A thing I learnt very early on in my adventure, is that there are certain types of triathlonites.

Those that do this for fun. And love training (and sometimes hate it at the pointy end). And those who take this all a bit *too* seriously….

I am all for the fun. I wanted to enjoy this journey. And overall, I really truly have. I think I take it the ‘correct amount of’ seriously. Seriously enough to know that my body needs to be ready to travel 70.3 miles in under 8 hours under it’s own steam. Seriously enough to know that endurance comes with risks. Seriously enough to know that mechanical failure on the day could be game-over. But with enough of a sense of fun to know that I get to race in the most beautiful place in the world (biased) and my mates are racing too.

I see social media types slating each other for over and under training. Really, your training is no-ones business but your own. You can ask for advice, but the beauty of it all is that you can choose what suits you. Everyone is different. You can read as many books and blogs as you like, but ultimately, it is your responsibility to know your limits and train your body to reach the distance and, most importantly, to survive it.

The keyboard warriors in triathlon forums love to belittle middle distance if they’ve done a full. And if you’re reading this and you’re guilty of a humble-brag while trying to condescendingly “encourage” someone doing a half, then kindly jog on. Because everyone starts somewhere. And, can I just remind you that 70.3 miles is still a long fecking way?!

Last week on a train, I met a condescending humble-bragger. Well. I didn’t really meet him. He pushed his way into me and my pal’s conversation. Twice. Until I finally gave in and said “oh, I suppose you’re like a 10 time Ironman then…”

*smug face* “Actually, just three.”

“Oh really? Which ones?”

“Just Zurich, Roth and Barcelona”

“That’s nice”.

He also offered some completely incorrect advice on how to fix my bike while my bestest pal giggled beside me.

I could picture him sitting at home bashing his keyboard frantically as he leaves yet another patronising comment on someones innocent facebook post asking about seat position or tyre pressures. “When I raced at Zurich blah blah blah…”

I should clarify that I think anyone who has pushed themselves to cover 140.6 miles even ONCE is a bloody amazing human, but take it easy on those who maybe haven’t learnt all of the lessons yet…

This has all been fuel to my latest issue:

Last weekend, I blogged about The Fear and it’s affect on my mentality while I was out with a bad back. Little did I know that the tickly throat I went to work with on Monday morning would become full-blown Rage Virus by 5pm and I’d be out for 4 more days with snot pouring out of me and no ability to hear or smell.

It’s been fun…

The snot finally began to leave on Thursday when I’d had enough of moping about feeling sorry for myself and took the Mountain Bike for a spin. Snot Rockets a-plenty. I’m still riddled with mucus, but it’s getting better slowly. I plan to listen to my body and keep this fecker away from my chest with gentle exercise until I’m not breathing like a sex pest anymore.

Of course, The Fear has multiplied while I’ve been sick. My brain is trying to tell me I cannot do this. I can’t train enough. I won’t be ready.

70.3 miles is a long way. The distance should absolutely be respected. And the training involved is crucial. I’ve had discussions with non-sporty types who cannot get their heads around the training (to be fair, neither can I). So you train 15-20 hours a week? But you’re not competing? So why?? Why not just train a little bit?

Several reasons.

– I may not be competing but I don’t want to be shit.

– Endurance is very hard on your body.

– What’s the point in doing anything half-assed?

Endurance. Is. Hard.

And here’s my problem. The whole reason I signed up for all this was to have fun and get fit. I’ve become fit. Very fit, in fact, in comparison to the lardy-Bean of 2012. I can run for 13.1 miles without stopping, you know.

But I’ve lost the love a bit. It’s been replaced by a kind of pressure that makes me want to lie by the side of the road and throw a monumental hissy-fit.

I DON’T WANT TO DO IT MUM. I DON’T WANT TO AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME.

I’m torn between resting and training, knowing full well that training through illness could impede my progression and continued improvements by making myself more poorly for longer. But. Am I actually sick? I have a bit of a tickly cough in the mornings. Is that the cold moving into my chest? No. It’s clearing the crap that’s run down my throat during the night. And the tickly cough after a ride or a run is the same thing.

Am I therefore making excuses?

Much like this blog, my brain is a very disjointed, confusing place to be at the moment. I’m down. I’m pale. I’m so damn tired all the time. I’m fed up of not quite being where I want to be.

I know things will improve. Very happily it looks like Stella is basically ready to climb some hills now. I just need to make sure that I’m ready too. I will continue to train where I can.

But the reality is that yes. This is fucking hard work. This isn’t supposed to be easy. I didn’t do this “for a laugh”. I did this so that I could get fit and enjoy it.

My mission is to ease back into training and re-kindle my love for each discipline. Right now, I feel like cycling needs to get me good and drunk to remind me that it’s fun… It’s been a long time since running was my favourite but so far, my trainers haven’t tried to kill me…