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!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Guest post: Running shirtless, whatever the temperature

For what might be described as true dedication, it'd be hard to beat Tremendi, who blogs at Diary of a Cold Water Novice. Here's how he describes himself:

I'm just a normal guy experimenting with some new ideas. Trying to get physically fit, in shape and toughen up using some unorthodox methods, such as cold water immersion and pain control. I also like to run shirtless in "any weather, any temperature" as part of my normal routine. My blog describes some of those activities. Why not take a look at my blog and make a comment or two. Maybe it will inspire you to run shirtless too.

Here's a taste of Tremendi's discipline, in his own words:

"I haven't yet hit a low temperature that I wont run in. The distance that I will run may vary depending on the temperature but I don't think I have hit an absolute minimum yet. It has been quite cold in the UK this winter but I have continued to run shirtless (i.e. in just shorts and trainers) all of the time.

I will do my normal 7km (4+ miles) circular route from home shirtless in just about any weather and temperature (a few Mondays ago it was -2C windy and snowing so probably with wind chill around -5C or -6C conditions) and another weekend I ran 10km shirtless in -4C with clear and windless conditions for an hour with a group of 3 other guys (who were all dressed for a Siberian winter!). The coldest I have run shirtless in was just over 4km @ -6C with a fairly strong
wind chill.

If it was really cold (like below -10C) I would probably do shorter (500m to 1km) "out and back" runs so that I could quickly escape the cold if I got to a point where I was really feeling the effects of hypothermia.

In the USA, I think a great place to run in such cold conditions would be around the perimeter of a large shopping mall. Then if you got really cold you could duck into the shopping mall to warm up or cut back through to where you parked your car!

The more difficult question in my view is what is the highest temperature you would run in - that to my mind is a far more dangerous situation for a runner.

I haven't entered any races yet and here in the UK I think that for an actual race (unless its a fun run) you are required under the UK Athletics rules to wear a vest or shirt to display your race number - so that really sucks!. It would certainly be one question I would ask of the race organiser - "Can I run shirtless?" - before I entered the race."


Anonymous said...

I always run shirtless. Ice on the ground is a showstopper so while I ran 5 miles a day for two months until early december, and missed the really cold weather in the UK because there was no safe footing to be had with all the packed ice and snow, I've run in some of the cold mornings since. Over 8 miles in -6°C, shirtless for over an hour and a half (was shirtless for a while before I started running, during a walk to where I run). Last year the wind chill reached -12°C on two nights (early morning). That's cold enough to need energy and running and a watchful attention because dullness in mind, not feeling of cold, is the warning that can't be ignored, if that happens, head for home, do not pass go, do not collect £200, etc... :) But it is doable, and fun. I like running in freezing fog. Normally fog annoys me because it's easy to get lost in, but when it's freezing it makes frost on my hair, on my head, and my arms, it's definitely unusual and cool to feel a solid thermal equilibrium that allows that to happen without danger. It could get very nasty if I broke a leg on a run though, the only thing between safety and death on a night run, alone (even at dawn on such days, very few people are out there), is care to make sure I can keep moving without injury. I'm ok with that though. People could level criticism at a mountaineer on a very similar reasoning, and with so many people anxious about social propriety or health and safety, usually with far less actual 'reasoning' than is behind my own actions, all that matters to me is that I feel ok about it. I actually hate to show off, to draw attention to myself, this is one of the few ways I feel ok about doing that. If I was a singer or a poet or some other public figure I'd always be called on to explain myself, but this way I don't, people can work it out for themselves. If they see that I enjoy it, that it is possible for it not to hurt, or otherwise cause distress in me, then it might make them start to question why it's so rare, and what's happening to us all that so few will still dare to do anything other than what it appears everyone else thinks is right. Got to be worth it for that too, as well as what it does for me.

Working shirtless outside in winter is fun too. When I'm in the mood for it, I like the reactions.

Crow. Bristol, UK.

Tremendi said...

Crow, glad to know I am not the only crazy person in the UK running shirtless in cold weather. My 7km run today was at -4C with the sun shining just after dawn in a cloudless sky. Just a hint of a breeze - a fabulous day to be out and about.
I agree with your sentiments about being alone in the real cold and knowing the danger signs for hypothermia etc. Knowing your limits is a good thing, but to find out what they are you could always run with a mate (like I do quite frequently) till you get to a point where you are confident enough to do it on your own. My running partner on really cold days is normally dressed for a Siberian winter. However, today he saw the sun and underestimated the temperature just wearing a T-shirt and tracksuit bottoms. He survived the experience, as did I but shirtless!

p.s. Never tried running in freezing fog but it sounds delightful!

barethomas said...

Running in fog: Just the ticket, too, for those wanting to try a spot of shirtless running but are feeling a bit shy...

Anonymous said...

Unless you get lost. :) I did, nearly, in a place I know really well. If there's enough for it really addles a sense of direction totally. I got by on sounds from a distant road for about half a mile before I was back to something I recognised.

Last cold of the winter is past, I think. South west UK got a rare one, -5°C with 25 mph gusts, 10 mph steady NNE wind. This was on the high ground on Ashton Court estate on the morning of the 7th of March, during an 8 mile run. (Was same morning as when I posted before, but later in the morning, the post helped me prepare for it). I wear jeans to run, but I always run shirtless. If I'm labouring outside I work the same way so I stay with what I'm most used to. (Not that I'd try to run much in the boots I work in though..)


Anonymous said...

Wind chill was -14.1°C by the calculation called "North American wind chill index" as described on Wikipedia. I have no clue what all the terms are for so I don't know if it's useful.


barethomas said...

What's that, Crow.?

You run in jeans ?

That's a new one for me!

Anonymous said...

Old habit, from when I didn't have enough money to justify spending on shorts that cost as much as the jeans, or more. I also remember a test I had to do before taking a sailing course. I had to swim fully clothed for half a mile. It's a lesson I never forgot. It's not hard, it just takes persistence. What I retained was a certainty that I might as well be able to do something in the conditions I need to do it in. If my life or safety ever depends on my ability to run, the odds are I won't be wearing shorts at the time (I think military training logic runs on similar lines too). So I run in the stuff I usually wear. I figured a change of clothes was a better spend than specialised clothes I'd only wear to run in. It's one reason I run or work shirtless where possible. Cleaning me is more efficient than cleaning clothes, so unless there's a hazard that needs covering for safety, the less to wash, the better. I wouldn't take it to extremes that feel bad, but working or running shirtless in sub-freezing conditions is comfortable enough. A lot of places in the world, people would think nothing of it, they'd look at most people in the UK and consider their attitude to weather to be crazy. Thick coats until May is over, etc...


Anonymous said...

I love running shirtless and immersing in cold water too and start training in summer and fall but always get sick in fall or winter, is this because of poor condition or does any body have advice on how to persist without catching colds or flue ?