Goodbye, 'Jogbra'...

May 2015: First up, though I still try to put up blog content whenever I can, it has been easier to more regularly visit the the Twitterverse. Follow me at @barethomas10 and let's keep the shirtless running flag flying. Of course, the blog still attracts very interesting comments, and good discussion. Keep it up.

Second, in the years since this venture launched, and as shirtless running among women has gone increasingly mainstream, the term "jogbra" has clearly declined in use. I will thus prefer "sportsbra" henceforth - as has already been the case on Twitter, and in recent posts here.

I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. I am myself of course a fervent convert to the joys of running bare. But let all voices be heard!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Racing shirtless

Depending on the season and the locale, going shirtless can be very common at races, especially those in the 5km to 10km range. In some summer races in relatively informal settings, more than half the participants could turn out in shorts, shoes and bare chest or jogbra. Elsewhere, however, the shirtless contingent can be as small as two or three die-hards braving winter temps and the spectre of pneumonia. Still, weather permitting, the arguments in favour of going bare - salted throughout these posts - apply to a race as well.

There are many races these days where the rule is simply that the event number bib assigned you be positioned 'in the front', meaning it can be pinned to your shorts or jogbra. Even more conveniently, some organisers now issue electronic chips attached to your shoe that tag you as you cross the finishing line, so that bib position becomes less important. Timekeeping is a cinch, among other benefits - including making going shirtless even more fuss-free.

If you're thinking of going shirtless at a race, you'd probably best be already used to going bare-chested during your practice runs (though there is an argument that, since going shirtless can often boost your times, you might want to stick to a shirt during practice and then lose the top for an extra advantage come race day). Given that there will be a lot more people present than during your usual trots round the block, you might get the jitters. You might want to start off in an old vest that you wouldn't mind discarding, so that you can strip down once you've worked up a sweat (at which point, as has been pointed out, the urge to go bare should overcome any residual 'shyness'). Don't forget to pin your race number to your shorts, so as not to have to transfer it from your vest midway.

As a general rule on this blog, it has been suggested that being around other folks who are comfortable going shirtless can be a help. However, this is probably NOT a good idea in a race unless your times are pretty decent, since AS A RULE the shirtless contingent that typically collects at the front of the mass is made up of fast movers. You might have trouble keeping up and that psychic blow could make you feel rather foolish.

However, if you have a specific friend or running buddy - whose pace will be roughly equal to yours - convincing him or her to race with you is wise in any event. Faced with what will likely be a great mass of people, most of whom will be shirted, you can draw encouragement from each other if you are both converts to the shirtless cause.

Friday, December 4, 2009

From the Internet: How to handle hecklers

This is a useful piece by Christine Luff, which appeared on Running and Jogging. You can access the original by clicking here.

"For some runners, the solution to running in ridiculously hot weather is to run in as little clothing as possible. Some women run in a sports bra and tiny shorts, and men run bare-chested. Although they may feel a bit cooler, baring some skin can create other problems, such as catcalls from a creepy passer-by. Dealing with the occasional obnoxious heckler may come with the territory when you run outside, especially for female runners. Here's what to do if someone starts verbally harassing you on the run:
  • Keep running. Don't stop and start screaming back at the heckler or flip him off. Although it may be tough to ignore him, it's better to keep your distance and continue moving.
  • Don't appear vulnerable. When someone starts hurling derogatory comments at you, hold your head high and stay strong. If your harasser tries to stop you, be forceful. Tell him to back off and keep moving.
  • Run with a cell phone. It's always smart to carry a phone with you, especially when running alone. If someone is verbally harassing you and you feel threatened, call the police. Give them a description of the harasser and where and when it happened."
-- Christine Luff, Guide to Running/Jogging

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From the Internet: 'The freedom of running shirtless'

Here are excerpts from a post by blogger Mr Petes, describing his first shirtless run. You can read the original, in full, by clicking here and visiting his blog Runners Write.

"Every now and then, I will take a jog outside and notice those runners whose self-confidence and washboard abs allows them to run outside without a shirt and without any shame. How free they seem as they pass me and splash me with the sweat that glistens off their torsos!! As they became but a speck in the distance, I can’t help but look down at my bobbing shirt and wish that I, too, could run without a shirt on... I am a paranoid person by nature and feel as though I am being gawked at whenever I do run outside. I could only imagine how I would feel as on-lookers are entranced by the combination of the hypnotic up-and-down motions of my belly and the glistening and pouring of the sweat as it cascades down my covering-like-a-sweater chest (and back) hair...

(But on a trip to Cartagena, Colombia), I quickly became aware of the horrendously-oppressive heat and humidity that I would need to run through... and began contemplating how I could still go running and not (have) all my clothes bathed in sweat. Dear reader, by now you probably know where this is leading, but if you don’t, let me just tell you that the idea I came up with in that shower that night was at once so delicious, cutting edge and awe inspiring that I could not even reveal it to my dopeness wife.

As the sun rose the next morning and the beef was being dropped in the deep fryer for breakfasts around the city, I stepped into the streets hugging myself, not because I was cold, but…because I was not wearing a t-shirt!!! That’s right, dear readers, I realized that I was in South America, and really, who cares what them natives think of my belly movements or my glistening sweat? “Not I”, I said to the wind (and to the gypsy family behind me trying to sell me junk). And so it was that, with great enthusiasm, one of my many running-related dreams became a reality! Shirtless and unafraid, I hit the streets at a lighter-than-usual pace...

As I sit here now and write this, let me finish by saying that running without a t-shirt is as heavenly as those Dunkin Doughnuts Jelly Midgets!!! The freedom you imagine one feels running without a shirt is even greater than you can possibly conceive. In the end, dear readers, I encourage you to get over your inferiorities and rise to the occasion! As you cross your next start line, I hope that, like your money and other goods you cannot fit in your running outfits, your t-shirt has been left behind!"