Visitors to this blog occasionally recount how they came to be shirtless runners, but the truth of course is that the traffic isn't all one-way. Some people start off down the barechested/jogbraed route, then decide they would rather stay more covered-up. Here are five reasons most often given for 'backsliding':
1) Cancer fears: This is the top factor cited. You meet or read of someone who has had the great misfortune of contracting the dread disease, and who expresses regret at having been a sun worshipper/ shirtless runner/ etc. The psychological impact of this should not be sniffed at. It's all well and good to say that slathering on sun block or running at certain sensible hours greatly minimises any risk. It might all just seem not worth it to some.
2) Psychological trauma: Having someone yell, 'Put a shirt on!', or other more crude or derogatory comments can greatly wound one's self-esteem, especially if one is a relatively new convert to the shirtless ranks. If one is already a little insecure about one's body, a couple of nasty encounters can completely destroy any enjoyment that might be derived from going bare.
3) Consideration: This isn't quite the same as (2). One might speak to a friend who expresses great displeasure at 'having to endure these half-naked types', or read blog posts in which the author insists that our social mores strongly militate in favour of staying covered-up. One is then convinced that running shirtless shouldn't be one's personal choice, or decides that on balance it shouldn't be practised.
4) Simple self-doubt: This can easily and insiduously take hold. Perhaps over winter one puts on a few extra pounds: For some, it's just a matter of working them off with healthful exertion, but for others it ups the insecurity level enough to warrant keeping the shirt on. I've personally found that simply not running barechested for long enough can raise the psychological barrier to taking off my shirt (click here for the blog post in which I mention this)
5) Inertia: This is factor is more prevalent than you might think. You might run shirtless one year, but then through a winter of non-running, the relative benefits of stripping to the waist may fade from the mind. When the running shoes can be dusted off again, one just automatically keeps one's shirt on again, and life just goes on.
I would think there are reasons that could be adduced to counter any of the factors cited above - they are salted through the posts of the blog. But I don't think there is a real right or wrong to the matter. But feel free to write in and disagree.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org) 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!