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!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Three obstacles to running shirtless

Here are three problems that may keep otherwise willing converts from embracing shirtless running. Anyone with solutions are welcome to offer them (* Refer to Comments section for these).

1) In a comment on this blog, Anonymous wrote:

I would love to (run shirtless), but I have bad acne on the shoulders and back . I always imagine people staring at me, even if nobody really does. Mostly, I am thinking if somebody would be feeling offended not only seeing me shirtless but my problem. Any psychic trick I may use?

Thoughts: I'm no doctor and speak from complete ignorance, but might some sun on your back actually have a therapeutic effect on the acne? Thought admittedly it might make it worse for all I know. Could you seek medical advice on how to deal with the acne? Perhaps you might reflect that acne on the back might be considered far less of a psychic hindrance than 'heavy man-breasts', 'rather a prominent beer belly' and other oft-heard laments. Alternative 'psychic tricks', anyone?

2) Jiruns, in 'The best place to run in Philadelphia...', from the blog The Training Blog of Jiruns (click here for original), wrote:

The only problem with running shirtless is there is nothing to soak up the sweat from the torso as it cascades down the body to the shorts. By the 35:00 mark today, my shorts were soaked. Luckily, running shorts don’t get much heavier when they are wet. The second half of the run was mostly uphill, with soaked shorts, socks and shoes. Needless to say, not the best conditions to run.

Thoughts: One might suggest carrying a hand towel, but that's rather a pain to clutch all the while. If it's a breezy-enough day, the wind might dry more of the perspiration before it pours downwards. I've heard of products that can impede sweating, but I would avoid these as they might hinder the conducting of heat away from the body. Suggestions?

3) Anohergal wrote in a comment on this blog:

I lived in a more conservative community for high school (many Asians)... and it would have just been weird for people at my school to have seen me running in a sports bra... also awkward if I stumbled upon someone who knew my parents, etc. However, in college, it was a more laid back community and I felt much more comfortable going shirtless there. Coming back for summer vacation was bad though...!

Thoughts: A restrictive social context is, with minor tweaks to the context, a common complaint. It's easy enough to glibly say that, for change to come, someone must be the first to 'cross the line', but guaranteed opprobrium is hard to withstand. Finding 'a really quiet area' to run in is unwise since there may be safety risks. Joining a gym for jogbraed treadmill running might work, though most gyms would frown on males going shirtless. But there's the cash outlay to consider, and you might think the outdoors more inviting anyway. Another tricky one.


Abobo said...

Hey, I have a suggestion for question #2, regarding sweat pouring down your body. Of course, same thing happens to me, and I just accept it. I have gotten used, over the years, to wringing and hanging my shorts after workouts! First off, for the sweat that pours down your arms, a pair of Nike or Adidas wristbands is indispensable. Now, though this will not fly for a lot of guys, a solution I have for very hot days where I am worried about getting drenched, as well as for runs in a public facility where a shirt might be required, you might consider a half shirt. You can laugh, but they serve a purpose. They are NOT just gay fashion (god bless you if you are, I myself am straight) and they are NOT for "showing off your abs." They were invented so men could air out their body and be comfortable as they run, but also soak up some sweat...which they do, believe me. And as long as you have one that's not tight, you will feel great as you run. Hey, while we're at it, that solves question #1's issue! Great way to cover your upper back and shoulders! (OK, OK I do have a personal stake in this, I sell half shirts for men.) I'll just say, don't knock it until you really consider it.

Anonymous said...

My suggestion for the 1st question is for him to just go ahead and shed the shirt. I think many of us get hung-up on having the idea body type to run shirtless and I am far from it. For me, the hardest part about running shirtless was just getting up the nerve to shed my shirt before the run. I no longer wear a singlet when I heading out to my running destinations, instead I just toss on an old t-shirt and upon arriving I pop the t-shirt off before exiting the car. I have since discovered that once my shirt is off, the uneasiness quickly goes away, which allows me to enjoy my run shirt free.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the answer for Q1. The sun, even when it doesn't appear warm will help to dry his back out and go out with a friend (even if they don't want to run barechested)and you'll find people will barely give you a second glance.

Anonymous said...

I have a similar problem tot he poster in item 1 in that I have scars on my chest, shoulder, and neck from burns. First trick I try to use is recognizing that people can see the scars on my neck all the time, anyway, and I don't get unusual reactions from people. Secondly, the scars are not anything I can do anything about - they are a part of me and who I am. Finally, I think the poster answered his own question in that he "imagines" people staring and "thinking" somebody would be offended. These limiting thoughts are eminating from within him, and not anyone else. He would do well to let go of them. Having said that, though, I know how hard that is to do.