Should you run shirtless? Advantages and Disadvantages of running shirtless

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It’s Summertime and it’s hot outside. For all you runners out there, what kind of attire is most appropriate for your run? Most importantly, can you run outside shirtless?
If you’re not a runner, you probably don’t care, but for runners, running shirtless is an important consideration. There are a lot of factors to considers and in this post will talk about advantages and disadvantages of ditching your t-shirt.

First of all, I think we’re all on the same page with respect to shorts – you need to wear shorts. It’s just too hot for pants – even if they are running pants. As we talked about in our last post, this means that you’ll also be wearing sneakers and socks. Your socks shouldn’t be too high – they should be athletic socks that just about reach your ankle.

With respect to your shirt, you’ve got a few options – you could wear a t-shirt or you could wear a jersey or any type of sleeveless shirt (perhaps an A-Shirt). Alternatively, you could skip the shirt all-together. The advantage of going shirtless is that you can get a tan while running. Not all of us have time to go tan on the beach and not all of us like the fake-tan alternatives – so this is a really good way to get a nice tan. With a sleeveless shirt, you’ll tan oddly and that’s not great for your beach-bod. If you are going for the tan, you might not want your face to get as tanned so consider wearing a baseball cap. If it’s really sunny outside, sports sunglasses are a nice add-on. The other advantage of sunglasses is that you can prevent bugs from getting into your eyes. This may not sound like a common occurrence, but try running next to a river/stream – great scenery but the bugs can get on your nerves!

The other main advantage of going shirtless is that you’ve got way more freedom and you can feel the wind on your body which can have a very nice cooling effect. If you are a distance runner, you’re familiar with the concept of Nipple Chafing. Sounds weird, but if you’re running for a long time with a jersey on, the constant rubbing of the jersey on your nipples can cause some real damage – even bleeding. There are ways to prevent this other than skipping the shirt – but going shirtless is the easiest solution.

In terms of disadvantages… well, you need to be in good shape in order to expose your body in public. If you’ve got that beer belly, it’s probably not the most fun thing to tout the bouncing belly in public. In such a case, go with a jersey and move into the shirtless stage once your body is ready. This is especially a consideration depending on how populated the area in which you run is. Another disadvantage is that your body is exposed to sunlight and you always need to have sun-block at the house to prepare for your runs. Finally, depending on where you run, you can have bugs stick on to your body while you’re running – if you’ve got a hairy chest, the bugs can even get stuck :) Needless to say, this can be quite annoying.

With all of this said, running shirtless gives you freedom and more breathing room. If you’ve got the right body for it, do it!
Finally, make sure to check out all the blog resources there are out there about running shirtless – there are entire sites devoted to the concept. Here is an example: http://runningshirtless.blogspot.com/

1 Comment

  1. 1

    barethomas

    July 10, 2010

    6:28 pm

    Interesting piece with even-handed treatment of some key issues.
    Thanks for the shout-out to Running Shirtless.

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