With the summer heat going up, shirts are coming off.
This summer I’ve hesitantly embraced the trend of running in a sports bra on the scorching days. The first time I did it I was actually terrified for the first few minutes. Why though? I wear less to the beach, and even rock a crop top on the right occasion. I spent the rest of my run thinking about why those first few steps felt so weird. I think it came back to athleticism. I didn’t feel like my split times or PRs were strong or fast enough to push out an endurance run in a sports bra. It was as though I hadn’t earned the cockiness of the sports bra run. This had little (though some, come on, I’m human) to do with my size, but definitely had everything to do with self-image. Makes no sense, right? Right.
Somewhere between that thought and my front door, I also realized how little it mattered. I literally got self-conscious of being self-conscious. This isn’t some statement on society, or even the running community, I just sort of realized – nobody cares what my pace is or what I look like getting there. If I want to wear a sports bra or a parka on my run, or anywhere else, if I feel good doing it – then watch me go.
Since that day a month ago, I’ve rep’d the #SportsBraSquad on 8:30 miles as I have on 10:46 splits, and I’m equally confident in both.
Of course this has strong undertones of the heated debate of the “bikini body” which has been a HOT issue this summer as it is most. I have approximately 1.5-2 abs and like any girl my age (or any age, for that matter) have days where they show more than others.
We live in a society where a “bikini body” is a 00, and sure, that sucks. No little girl should look in the mirror and feel like she isn’t good enough for the two piece she’s been eyeing at Aeropostale. But when you go to a beach or public pool, take one look in both directions and there will be women of all sizes wearing whatever bathing suit they please. Whatever they feel confident in. And that doesn’t suck. The same way when I ran through Central Park, I saw girls of all sizes in sports bras and a ton of guys unapologetically running with no shirt at all. Some looked like they belonged on the Olympic team, and some didn’t — and I accepted both as my running partners and peers.
So bottom line, sports bra or zip up, fast pace or slow — running should be a place of confidence, not anxiety.