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!

Monday, April 5, 2010

'Why don't you run shirtless?'

Hoover recently shared how he came to doff his vest and go bare-chested for runs on the beach: Yes, the lucky blighter lives by the sea. His account is given below (it's originally a comment on the 'The Creed of Shirtless Running' post in this blog), and is especially interesting in that it was the persistent egging-on of his wife-to-be that did the trick. Let's reserve further discussion to after we've read his story:

I live within a stone's throw of a beach in the North of England. My partner, soon to be wife, first started running with just her sports bra on at Uni. After we started seeing each other we also became running partners.

My partner had encouraged me to try running shirtless for 4 months when on a very chilly October's morning she remarked on how schoolboy-like I looked by wearing a vest for a run and challenged me to take it off... a few seconds later off it came and I haven't worn a vest since.

We go out in all weathers, rain, snow and shine. Yes, people have looked at the pair of us out running on the beach but the only reaction we've had are people smiling and saying "You're mad!". Since we started running together there, are a few more runners, both male and female, out shirtless on the beach, including a group of teenage boys who are out running on most days too.

Some preliminary observations: We see, as has been alluded to elsewhere in this blog, that setting an example can cause others to strip to the waist. Also, the reaction from strangers is seldom to pour on vituperation, but is indifference at worst (shirtless in snow? no wonder some folks can't resist an exclamation). But what we also have here is a case of 'direct broaching of the subject' being what's needed to get someone to try something out.

The necessary cautionary note here is that one is probably best off never suggesting shirtlessness to anyone who isn't at the very least a semi-regular running partner. Though one may wish for the solidarity of a fellow-jogbraed or shirtless runner, broaching the subject could well be take in the wrong way. Run shirtless yourself: The possibility of thus 'inspiring someone else follow suit' is probably quite enough with someone you don't know fairly well.

Where the preconditions are met, though, some proselytising probably won't hurt. If your pal is obviously in great discomfort, gushing perspiration and such like, a kindly word that losing his top might mitigate things would be your good deed for the day. You might mention how your times have improved/ enjoyment level has risen/ mental wellbeing has surged since you took to shirtlessness. Take a leaf from Hoover's partner's book and frame it as a dare or challenge. If there's no reaction, let things be. You can always mention it again some other time: It appears Hoover's partner took four months effecting his 'conversion'. And she knew just how to pitch it too... but then again, she is to be his wife.

(I know of only one other runner who urged his running group to join him in trying out shirtlessness. Apparently, they would 'agree only some of the time'. This was a while ago, though, so perhaps by now barechestedness/jogbraedness has taken hold. If anyone else has a story - perhaps even a warning note to sound - to tell in this regard, do write in).


Tim said...

Good post! I finished a 3 1/2 mile run today and a little past halfway, I took my shirt off and ran shirtless. As warm as it was, it sure felt good. I would have ran the whole route shirtless, but, didn't think of it right away. Not sure if I'll do this all the time, but, conversion may be taking place.
It was a great run...... I wrote about the run here -

barethomas said...

Good luck in your upcoming races, Tim! Is your wife thinking of switching things up and going in for races too?

Let us know how your conversion goes.

Shirtless Robbie said...

This is great advice! Some guys just need some encouragement to run shirtless. They'll thank you for it later. But you're right that you've gotta be careful not to sound weird with someone you don't know so well.

For guys, a little playful ribbing sometimes works. After you've pulled your shirt off during a hard run, if your running partner seems reluctant to shed his say something like, "Man, you look miserable in that drenched shirt! Are you afraid you'll scare off all the chicks if you pull it off?"

This approach only works if the guy is in fairly good shape, though. For guys who really have issues with their body, some more direct, genuine encouragement is better, but I think it is easier for this to be taken wrong as well. The joking can help keep it from being weird, you've got to know a guy a bit better to straight forward suggest ditching the shirt, I think.

Rockbound said...

Sometimes, you can encourage people simply by setting the example. I think I may have done that on a run a few days ago. I was running, shirtless as usual, and encountered a young female runner wearing shorts and a tank top. We ran somewhat different routes and toward the end of the run, we met again. This time, she had rolled up the tank top and was, for all practical purposes, in her jogbra.

Interestingly, while she had remained silent on our first encounter, when we met the second time, with her attractive midriff exposed, she gave me a friendly hello and struck up a brief conversation about the wind we were fighting. A bit of fellowship among the "shirtless," I presumed.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with all that has been said about shirtless running. I have been doing it for a long time and I am convinced it really is the only comfortable way to go. I do encourage others to take off their shirts for the comfort of it. I am now getting to like going shirtless outside of running. It is a great feel. i think all definitely should try shirtless running.

Anders said...

To run shirtless in cold weather is ag good training that makes you tough and healthy. I am sure that the teenage boys you saw enjoy it, when they also get tough and cold resistent at the same time. Surely they are not sick so often as ohter boys in the same age. Also it must be a marvelous felowship which makes in easier for them to run in the cold. An applaus to theese tough boys.