There is so much to love about running gear. It’s designed to help you do what you can, better. Aerodynamic shoes, body hugging bras, wicking shirts, compression tights, frictionless socks. If you’ve thought about an item that could help you run better, faster, longer, more comfortable, there’s probably an item of running gear that’s been designed to do that.
When women readers ask me the most important item of running gear I tell them a proper fitting sports bra. If you’re a runner, you probably think that running shoes should be at the top of the list. Proper fitting running shoes are important for long distance and frequent runners. But you can run your first few miles in trainers or tennis shoes and not do any long term damage. If you only run once or twice a week for 20 minutes, regular sneakers will do the job.
But a supportive sport bra could be the difference between safe and sorry.
I have a scar on my chest from running in a regular underwire bra. A few weeks ago, I was visiting my friends and we went on an unplanned run. It was fun to hang out with the group and do one of my favorite activities but I’m still paying for it. A regular bra is supportive enough for regular life – walking, running up the stairs, even chasing the kids around the park. But for anything more, a sport bra is absolutely essential. The up and down motion during a run causes the underwire of a regular bra to irritate, bruise and scar my skin. That’s not a price I am willing to pay again anytime soon.
But underwire irritation aside, women’s boobs need support. The muscles need to be supported so the tissue isn’t damaged during the run activity.
Which is why this article in Runners World magazine disturbed me. (No, I am not hating on RW mag again. I am happy they are baring all on this issue – pun intended.) Nude running! Naked racing! Beating the heat by running without clothes! I think the headline is misleading because according to the article, the nakedness isn’t about beating the heat – the race is an attraction on a nudist colony. People don’t say. Oh I’m too hot to wear my shorts today. I think I’ll just go naked this time. I think the event is organized so people can run naked whatever the temperature.
When I read the article, the image that came to mind was a bunch of older women running and holding onto their breasts to prevent “floppage”. That doesn’t make for a comfortable run. What about running form, using your arms to pump in the air to help your stride?
According to this other article, lots of these naked events are popping up all over the country.
On an episode of Steve Harvey’s show recently, I heard an audience member talking about a naked bike ride in Chicago. And the article above talks about about a naked race in Burlington, Wisconsin. In a few weeks, I take my youth group kids to Wisconsin for our Camporee. I pray we don’t run into a group of nudie runners that will prompt my kids to question what I mean when I talk about running naked.
For most of us runners, running naked means running without the Garmin or GPS watches or the apps we use track our pace. For others, running naked means forgoing the iPod music or podcasts that typically form the soundtrack to our runs.
Now that running naked is starting to mean something else, we might need to clarify further to prevent the ambiguity.
Have you heard about these naked events?