We want your views on running shirtless!

July 2014: It has been a year since I have found time to post in this blog. I've released a little flurry by way of compensation. Thank you for the expressions of solidarity that have come my way in the interim.

If you trawl the runners' forums, you will find that the stalwart opponents of 'running shirtless' have not ceded the field! Almost all of them direct their fire at barechested runners (ie the men!); by unspoken agreement no one assails the growing force of jogbraed runners. Why do you suppose that is the case?

To me, the jogbraed and the bare-chested are alike comrades in the battle to reclaim acceptance for attire-light exercise. I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to barethomas@gmail.com) on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. Let all voices be heard on this site!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Why a blog about running shirtless?

Everyone should have a 'thing'.

Some folks have a 'thing' about stamp-collecting, others go in for birdwatching or becoming an authority on rare Oriental vases. A 'thing' usually translates into some interesting aspect of one's character, a perhaps slightly-dotty passion that one wants to share.

My 'thing', then, is running shirtless. My times are south of pathetic and I don't have what is called a 'great bod', so I'm not trying to showcase my extraordinary athleticism or Adonis-like physique. But it feels good to stride along with the wind in my hair, the sun on my body. Compared to when I'm encased in a T-shirt or tank top, I feel free-er and faster.

Like many folks who have come to enjoy a harmless, healthful activity, I want others to partake in it. For one thing, there is a camaraderie - or there should be - among those who exercise bare-chested that I find pleasurable and wish to foster. For another, I believe there are many people who would like to go shirtless, but have been held back for various reasons. Hopefully, some of these will be addressed in future blog posts.

I'll just mention three last points :

1) First, in all that I write about here, I include as effectively shirtless women who strip down to jogbras to exercise. They are included in the camaraderie I refer to above, though they will forgive references to 'bare-chestedness', which is not meant to be exclusionary.

2) Second, there are many debates about where and when it is seemly - or otherwise - to be shirtless in public. There are folks who hew to the line that men ought to feel free to strip to the waist everywhere. I would not go so far: Mine is a terribly unmilitant shirtlessness.

3) Lastly, I do hope that readers will leave their comments, share their experiences or engage in dialogue. Perhaps one of us could convince the other of a contrary point of view, or we might together strengthen an argument that we both endorse. More ominously, some may consider this blog a quixotic venture at best, or batty or even a threat at some level. I'll ensure that your voices are not stifled.

If this blog ends up convincing just a few folks to shed the shirt - even if it's to 'give it a try' - I'll feel that it's been worth the effort invested. For those who might return occasionally to it as a mildly barmy enterprise, you are a welcome visitor always too.

10 comments:

Phil said...

What a Great idea for a Blog! Brilliant. I hope you inspire many more.

barethomas said...

Thanks for the kind words, Phil.

Rockbound said...

Great blog -- glad to see you doing this. I've been running shirtless for many years, and love it for many of the reasons you explain.

Let's hope your blog can inspire others.

barethomas said...

Thanks for writing in, Rockbound. Why don't you tap out something about your experiences (or a particularly interesting experience) as a shirtless runner, so it can be published as a guest post?

Best wishes!

Evan said...

I agree with u Phil, this is a helpful blog!
When i was younger i ran a lot, but never got a partner for the activity, so i stopped (for years).

Over the last ten years i overcame my shyness in order to take off my shirt on hot days.

I hike a lot. walking about 2 to 5 miles twice a week, usually shirtless. Many young runners are shirtless now.

It inspires me. i want to start running again w/o a shirt on.

I always enjoyed gym class because of the possibility that we would have the option to play barechested.

I want to make friends with another beginner, but don't know how.

Thanks again for this blog!

PS Going shirtless lifts depression in guys who r hiding their desire to strip down for recreation or just plain relaxation.

Balticson said...

I totally agree and identify with what I read here.

It's quite uncanny - I'm exited to find this blog is devoted to something I have considered and felt strongly about for as long as I can remember.

I overcame drawbacks (very slim build/white skin) to feel confident going shirtless, but I worked at it and tried to'make the best of myself'.

It was too late for doing this at school, but I sure made up for it in my twenties.

Just hope I'm not too old now - but anyway, you have my support and comradeship - I am with you on this subject!

Enormous thanks for creating this blog - I just wish I had known of such a thing years ago. Robin

barethomas said...

One is surely never too old, Robin!
Thanks a bunch for your support.

Similar but very, very belated thanks to Evan for your vote of approval.

Anonymous said...

Going shirtless really makes a man feel like a man, I feel incredible when I do it, testosterone just rages through your body!

spyder said...

My Bf love running shirtless too, I asked him why, he said it is much comfortable and light.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled on your blog. Cool.

IMO, shirtless running = zen. You feel the breeze, feel the freedom, feel more like one w/ the earth.

Way better than a soggy t-shirt sticking to you after five miles.

Read an article in one of the outdoor mags about hard-core runners who train no-shirt 9 or 10 months a year. Sounded awesome, so figured I'd try it - did shirtless spring to fall this year. Most mornings were typical zen, really comfortable. Some mornings were cold or rainy, but ran no-shirt anyway. Great for endurance and self-discipline I think.

IMO, running is a personal thing. I figure if you like running with a shirt on, wear a shirt. If you like running no-shirt, run no-shirt. Whatever works. But runners I know who ditch the shirt for a few runs end up being no-shirt runners 100% of the time.