Running Naked – Should You?

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Did Someone Say, Run Naked?

Yup. I said naked. In the running community, sometimes people refer to naked running as technology-free running. You leave the Garmin, AppleWatch, music device, etc. all at home and run free. Lately, when someone says, “naked run,” it actually means…you know… nude.

Naked running

Why Run Naked?

Intrigued by the naked run, I decided to reach out to my online running community the Sub30 Club, about their experiences on the topic. The “friends in my phone” did not disappoint as they informed, answered questions, and chatted about why they chose to literally “drop everything” and run.

Some of the runners report a desire to add excitement to their run, some thought it would be liberating, and one gentleman referenced a drunken dare that caused him to register for the race.

One naked runner stated, “Everyone should try it. It’s liberating.” Another surprised me by saying she was just super hot, running on a 90+ degree day, and stripped down. She did not encounter anyone on the run so she didn’t have reason to be self-conscious, but still found it surprisingly comfortable and “freeing.”

But don’t you feel funny? Like everyone is staring? Apparently, you don’t. It seems that occasionally a person will register for the race and run completely clothed. According to my sources, those are the folks everyone stares at while wondering, “Why not register for a different 5K if you plan to come clothed, run, then leave awkwardly at the end?” No one in my running community knows the answer to that question.

 

Photo Credit: Caliente Bare Dare Run

Opportunities to Run Naked

There is an appropriately named “Wiggle, Jiggle and Giggle” clothing optional 5K in Pennsylvania in June, that seemed a fan favorite among my running friends. Chicago hosts a naked bike ride and in Kissimmee, Florida runners can Streak the Cove.

Imagine my surprise to learn that my home state of Wisconsin is home to Mud, Sweat and Boobs which is 3.1 miles of obstacles like a rope swing, ladder, and muddy Army crawl which are all done completely naked.  The annual event is held to draw attention to breast and testicular cancer.

Are You Allowed to Wear Clothes?

Most of these events are touted as clothing-optional with no hard, fast rules. Many women report wearing a sports bra but, according to my sources, plenty of women leave the bra at home. When I inquired about this, one participant replied, “I think that is a personal decision made based on breast size, running pace and general comfort. As a small-breasted woman, I have no issues. My friend, however, needs support so she wears a bra.”

Wondering aloud if people wear shoes, I was told that most people do wear shoes, but some run barefoot.

What about underwear? What if you’re menstruating? What if.. what if .. what if?? The only consensus is that the nudists at these events are pretty non-judgemental. Do what makes you comfortable. “Except stare. That’s rude.”

Check. No staring.

Commonly Worn Apparel

“Socks,” was the response I received.

Okay, I figured that was a given. Next most common piece of apparel worn in a naked run? Hands down the answer was a sports bra. That also did not shock me.

Do the men just “hang loose” I wanted to know? Some do, some don’t. Such a personal decision.

Don’t “Things” Jiggle or Bounce?

“If things bounce beyond your comfort, put something on,” is what I was told. “It’s all about runner comfort.”

I just spit out my coffee when one man commented, “I wasn’t blessed with having to worry about the bounce.” What an honest answer, one I found refreshing. I suppose that is the point, isn’t it? Honesty. And that our body simply is what it is.

“Our ancestors ran naked,” another man said. “They figured it out.” I had not considered that.

What About the Chafe?

Only one person stated that chafe is not an issue. The consensus agreed that Body Glide, and other lubricants, are your friend – especially when running nude.

Many runners tout the importance of using anti-chafe creams or lotions, even when clothed, to prevent problems. Others don’t find it necessary.

The Practice Run

One runner friend said he wondered about nude running and tried it out on his treadmill at home, as he has been hemming and hawing about joining in. After hearing that, I asked a few participants if they had done practice runs before a race. Half said yes, half said they had decided to just “wing it” on race day.

Pitfalls…

Sweat was the number one complaint of nude runners. When wearing clothing, the sweat has something to absorb it. When running naked, it just runs down your body.

Many runners struggle with chafe whether clothed or naked. However, with everything “free,” things become more pronounced as an issue.

One lady I interviewed said next time, she would bring spray-on sunscreen. I was confused about why when she explained that a gentleman asked to borrow her sunscreen then declined when he realized it was lotion because he didn’t want to “rub it in.” Ummm, yeah. Had not considered that. Also, you are exposing areas that the sun does not typically see.

Also, even if you don’t normally wear bug spray, apparently it can be a good idea because, well, flies are attracted to odors. “Think cows’ butts,” she said.

Check. No tail to swish, so wear bug spray.

Ummmm. How Do You Pin on a Race Bib???

This was a huge question in my mind when I was assigned this blog. Do you wear a bib? Where does it go? Turns out it’s quite easy: they write on your arm much like they do in a triathlon.

Leaving Your Comfort Zone

As a reached out to fellow runners who had participated in nude races, I received the same piece advice more than once, you have to read this book: Running Outside the Comfort Zone by Susan Lacke. Lacke devotes an entire chapter to naked running, among others. Lacke realized that her running had gotten stale and sought out a way to rejuvenate it: through adventure. 

Remember when you were a kid and someone “double dog dared” you to do something? Naked running might be just the thing you need to rekindle your spirit, running life, and quest for new life experiences.

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