Wednesday, July 15, 2015

TMI aka modesty on the run


Last week, I was talking with one of my physician partners as we watched her patient exit the clinic. A teenage girl, she was wearing those super short shorts that all the girls are wearing now. My partner asked me if I would let my daughter wear those shorts.

Well, I don't have daughters, but if I did I'd pick my battles and short shorts probably wouldn't be one of them. Although I won't deny that a little modesty is a good thing. Sadly, I think most of these teens are completely unaware of how the short shorts look--it's fashion and that's that.

It's no different for running. Last winter, I bought a pair of shorts on sale from Asics. I guess I didn't read the fine print, because although yes, I did get a pair of shorts, the ones I got were so short, well, let's just say that there may have been some part of my behind peeking out. I don't think I'll ever wear these in public. Maybe on the treadmill. I just can't. At my first Chicago marathon, I was astonished to see a woman running in a string bikini. Anything goes, apparently..but I digress...

Remember her? 
Even though I'm proud of my legs and buns, I can't say I'd be comfortable putting it all out there while out on a run. And I'm not the only one. Susan Lacke wrote a funny article about booty shorts on Competitor.com where she states: "I'd love something I can wear without a pre-run Brazilian wax".

I have to laugh because with my teenage boys, when it comes to shorts, the longer the better. If the knees are showing, the shorts are too short. Imagine the horror my youngest son felt when he first put on his rugby shorts? They wear them short! The boys on his team all wear compression shorts underneath to make them feel more comfortable and less exposed. I find that interesting!


What about shorts, leggings, or yoga pants that cover your buns but show something else? Avoiding the front wedgie aka the camel toe was featured in this article on Run Haven. If camel toe is a problem for you, check out this product.

Same goes for wearing just a bra top when running outside. Sure, it's really, really hot this time of year and everyone wants to be comfortable. And so many women say that they feel empowered just wearing a sports bra. But I just can't do it. Not only do I need some extra coverage, I just feel like showing all that skin invites unwanted attention. I found some really cute singlets that are super light at TJMaxx and Marshalls. They're made by New Balance and Brooks, and are priced at around $12.99. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident being a little more covered up. No one needs to see my abs.


And speaking of bras...wear one when you run, and when you do, make sure it supports the girls. I can't tell you how many women I see running and bouncing. I cringe when I see this because I always think that running with the girls unleashed would hurt. In the interest of full disclosure here, when I was breastfeeding my boys, I was quite well endowed for that period of time. There weren't as many choices at the time, but I found a very supportive sports bra that kept everything in place. Interestingly, I had perpetual bruises on both shoulders from the straps straining to keep everything from moving. And if you don't think this is a big deal, google "bouncing breasts on the run", and you will be directed to many porn sites like I was. Do you want that kind of attention? Runners World has a great article on running with large breasts.

Along these lines, what about the shirtless male? A couple years ago, the NY Times published an article on the increase in men walking around the city, shirtless. And I quote: "we've lost all sense of decorum and fashion, said Ms (Patricia) Mears". I don't mind a well sculpted torso, but last week on my bike ride, I passed a few older, portly gentlemen riding their bikes, shirtless. They probably could have used some support. Or the bro. The manzier! The article didn't address the shirtless male athlete. I'm not sure how I feel about that, since the image of a male runner at my last race, wearing a singlet with blood stains running down the front from his chafed nipples, still plays in my mind.


Guys, you may want to check the mirror before you head out in your bike shorts or running tights. Let's just say that those clothing items leave little to the imagination. One of the nurses I work with ran into one of our doctors while he was out and about in his bike shorts. Her eyes zoomed into what can only be described as "his junk". Even though she tried not to look at it, you know her dilemma. It's like the sun. You're not supposed to look at it, but you can't help it. And then every time after that, she couldn't make eye contact with him. Because she saw "it". This article in Runners World debates whether or not men should wear shorts over their tights. Or maybe some kind of binder. I don't know but I'm just putting it out there.

Yep, I"m talking about YOU... and black is always safer than red...or white...
I'm not a prude or a deeply religious person. I just want to be remembered for my running ability, not my booty. My advice? Check the mirror before you head out.

And you know what? Black bottoms are always a safe choice. For women and men.

Do you cover up when you run? Or are you comfortable running in a bra top? 

I'm linking up with DebRuns and Wednesday Word. The word of the week is modest. Head over to her blog to see what everyone else is saying!

71 comments :

  1. I have never run in just a sports bra, and I wouldn't be totally opposed to it on a really hot day. I don't see a lot of people while I am running, so its not so much about getting unwanted attention, but I would really just have to see if it was comfortable for me. I definitely think its important to just look in a mirror before heading out:)

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    1. Absolutely! You sure don't want unwanted attention...or to give anyone a free show...or end up as a meme...

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  2. What a great post! Your examples left me chuckling lol...
    I work in a HS so I see some stuff, some I wish I hadn't it.
    I feel repulsed by men in speedos, I guess that is just a personal problem, I often wondered if they have ever checked a mirror.

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    1. Right there with you on the speedos. A little subtlety is kind of nice.

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  3. I've run in a sports bra a few times at the beach. Never at home! Personally, I don't want to see a woman's nipples either. Wear a bra that takes care of the bounce and the nippleage. The Manzier! I haven't thought about that in ages. Sadly, some men need these. My boys! Ha. They can't show their knees either. Mine are SO TALL, it's hard to find any shorts long enough to cover their knees.

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    1. I recently had a picture in my IG feed of a woman runner with the nips, and I think she liked that pic...I don't get it...

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  4. Never run in a sports bra or short tight shorts. I don't even wear a bikini.

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  5. Obviously, I am not comfortable running in just my sport bra. I'm with you, I need a top.

    My guess is you have killer abs. Wish I could say the same. And therefore they're not making an appearance, either.

    Like my running, I work hard at toning up my body but I can't say I'm real happy with that, either. Hoping some of my Instagram photos will encourage me to make better choices!

    That is funny the male vs female shorts thing & you're so right!

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    1. I actually don't have killer abs--pregnancy stretched things out--but I still will wear a bikini at the beach (everyone else does).

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  6. I've actually started running in my sports bra and skirts. The skirts I wear are high waisted and I'm maybe showing 4-5" of skin tops. My belly button is hidden. :) I've tried some sheer shirts kn hotter days but when I get sweaty they cling and I get annoyed.

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    1. Once my singlets get soaked with sweat they actually help cool me down. Weird, right?

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  7. I actually just wrote a post about this the other day...from the opposite point of view. It's disgustingly hot out here. So hot that I'm swimming even in a singlet. I never ran in a sports bra because I was too concerned with what OTHER people thought about my body. I finally realized, you know what? Forget them. I do what's comfortable for me. I don't think it's a modesty thing so much as a comfort thing. I think you can be modest AND comfortable in your own skin. I mean, it's running through the woods, not like I'm strolling down main street in a bikini top, you know?

    That bike shorts pic, OMG! So awkward, haha!

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    1. I need to be less self conscious, I guess! I agree, when it's hot, any layers are uncomfortable. It's all about being confident in your own skin. But there are some things we don't need to see...

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  8. At least with the guys in the bike shorts you know exactly what you are getting LOL! When I see women running without a proper bra I really want to say something for them and for me!

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    1. Those women running sans bra or unsupportive bra make me feel the pain!

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  9. I'd say that everyone should run in what they are comfortable in! When I was younger I did the sports bra thing (early early early 20s'!) but I would NEVER do that now. Seems like another version of myself at this point! I also ran in the tight shorts when I was marathon training, but they felt right. Now my legs aren't as toned and I'm more comfy in a skirt.
    My jaw is on the floor over that last picture. Perhaps if that is the only thing they are comfortable in, they should still put on shorts! Jeesh!

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    1. I'll wear the tight bike shorts for running, but they aren't the booty version! I just can't!

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  10. ha! I can't believe they make a camel toe guard!! I don't mind running in shorts (as long as my butt isn't hanging out), and I couldn't do just a bra top unless I was working out at home alone - but I'm ok with shorts and tank! And high impact sports bra for running - always!

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    1. I'll wear those booty shorts on the mill, when I'm home alone. Only then.

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  11. Oh, my gosh I love this! Laughs a-plenty and a dose of reality.

    I am very thin, but at sixty-two I would never leave my yard in a sports bra without a racer shirt. Most are modest, but no one wants to see a senior citizen looking like that. I run in the streets of my neighborhood. But it's more about comfort, i.e, self-consciousness, than propriety.

    I wear Oiselle running shorts with a panty liner, They sit at the hip. It took me some getting used to having clothing that low, but once I did, I loved it. They are very short, almost skirt-like, but perfect for running. Camel-toe not a problem with these (I never heard of that until I started running. Duh). Although I am self-conscious about my ugly elephant-skin upper legs I(losing 75 lbs. will do that) and hideous varicose veins (I've had them stripped twice, already), I try to ignore them. You can imagine they are not a pretty sight.

    I felt as though I needed to avert my eyes from the bicyclers' photo. Yuk. More yuk. Gentlemen, please wear black!

    I don't care to look at shirtless men, either, unless it's Matthew McConaghey. Nice choice. Thanks for sharing him.

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    1. I've noticed that my thighs are a little looser on the top when I run, even though I'm pretty firm when standing still. Gotta love the aging process-NOT!

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  12. I think that people should wear what they like but I am all for looking in the mirror before leaving the house! I am more modest when going outside and always have been... seems like anything goes these days!

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    1. Have you ever been on the beach in Florida in March? You might change your mind about anything goes...

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  13. Wendy, there was a girl participating in the last triathlon that Jonathan was in who showed up for her swim in string bikini bottoms; she made it out, with her bottoms still on, and then proceeded to head to her bicycle. Thankfully, she put some bicycle shorts on but then ran in the bikini bottoms; I was hopeful that the triathlon event was new to her and maybe she just didn't have anything else to wear? I saw lots of looks and whispered comments - ha! I do run (in the dark) in just my sports bra sometimes; I have very small breasts, so support is not an issue I have to worry about too much, but I know what you mean about not wanting to attract any attention. Love this!

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  14. I literally gasped & laughed at my office desk at those bikers!!! OH MY GOSH!!!!! You'd think they'd kinda see each other & be a little concerned about themselves... & hello? MIRRORS!
    I am always amazed at how little some people wear running. I get it. It's hot. But geez..... some things shouldn't be shared with the world.

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    1. Maybe they didn't see anything wrong with it? You just never know...

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  15. This is hilarious! I cover up because I am a fairly modest person. To each his own I guess lol, I don't like showing off my junk ;)

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  16. bahahaha!!! I keep covered up. I wish others would, too....Keep your privates, private IMO...

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  17. Oh No! Just when I got over my fear of running in a sports bra! I was always too scared to show my abs. Simply because I was too conscious about my body. I don't have killer abs.I have to say I'm on the same page as Heather, it's a total comfort thing. Here in South Florida it is burning hot right now. I'm lucky I get to run if it is 86 degrees at night, sometimes it's still 92 degrees when I head out in the early evening. It's unbearably hot during the Summer months! I always watched all these people running with less layers than me. And I thought to myself: Why am I doing this to myself? A lot of guys run without a shirt and most women run in sports bras. Nobody cares. Nobody feels offended. I simply wouldn't be able to put in any decent mileage if I didn't loose that extra layer. Running in a sports bra keeps you a lot cooler during strenuous heat. After I got over it I realized how actually NOBODY even cared what I looked like.
    On the other hand, running in a string or anything too skimpy or too tight is definitely not my cup of tea either.

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    1. I've heard from a lot of southerners who say the same thing as you! No worries, I just can't do it!

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    2. You never know. You might have to run in the South of Florida one day. But no worries, you have a good athletic body, you'll be fine! :)

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  18. This post is hilarious! I'm kindof with you.... I can usually find a light breathable tank to put on over my sports bra that will work even for a gets drenched in sweat every time girl like me...But for the ladies who are comfortable in just their bra, go for it. There are a few guys that are often on my running path with no shirt on...and they are buff with 6 packs...I don't mind that at all but I do not care for the tight bottoms on guys.
    I guess I won't be seeing you doing a naked 5K run anytime soon?

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  19. I will never be caught running in just a sports bra. I'm way too modest to run, or go anywhere in public, without covering my bra. Even being at the beach or the pool in a bikini is sometimes a bit too uncomfortable for me.

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  20. Ack! I can't un-see that last picture! I have gone running in just a sports bra, but early in the morning when I don't expect to be seen by anyone I know. Lately I do prefer to wear a top, though.

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    1. And it's not something you want to see, either! Am I right?

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  21. This was a great way to end an awful day. Those photos had me laughing and everything you said was so true! Thanks for the great read.

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  22. I am with you on this! I just can't do a run in only a sports bra. I'm in decent shape, but my abs will never be the same after kids and I know I would be thinking about my appearance for the ENTIRE run, this taking away any fun I might have running. Same goes for short shorts...I bought a pair of short compression shorts, thinking they fit well in the store, but the first run out all they did was ride up my thighs. I was uncomfortable and self conscious the whole time. Yup, those are only for the treadmill. I stick with the Bermuda-length compression shorts now...

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    1. It's all about being comfortable but I sure don't want to make anyone around me uncomfortable...

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  23. OMG that cycling picture...how awful. I hear you on the look in the mirror thing. If I'm on the treadmill in my basement I'm all about sportsbra only because I get so darned sweaty. But outdoors, nah. I like a tank. I have gotten over the humiliation of being seen in public in a tri suit or cycling skin suit. I actually got whistled at when I run into a gas station for a cup of ice to fill my speed fill before a time trial (I was wearing my skin suit). lol

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  24. I bought a pair of shorts recently because the deal was great, the pattern was cute, and the length looked OK. Tried them on at home and there was some cheek action when I moved. I swore I would never wear them other than to bed. I recently wore them on a run because it was so damn hot, and it confirmed why I didn't want to wear them. I never will again. Short shorts for running are not for me. Sports bra only, not for me. But I run what I'm comfortable in and that won't be the same for everyone:)

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    1. I just know that when I'm running the last thing I want to be thinking about is what I look like!

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  25. This post made me laugh so hard! I'm always so paranoid that my shorts are riding up when I run...no one wants to see that!

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    1. Especially when I'm pulling said shorts out of my nether regions...lol!

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  26. I've occasionally debated whether or not I should say something when I find myself running behind someone in tights so sheer I can see their underwear. It happens more often than I'd like! Ultimately I don't say anything but think I'd probably like to know if I was the one exposing myself on the run. :)

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    1. I was at a race when I saw a woman wearing tights that showed everything. I didn't say anything. I don't know how she would have taken it. Maybe she would ask me why I'm looking there? LOL

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  27. OMG, I am dying over the pic of the bikers in red!!! GAH! I don't need to see that, lol! Cover that up for sure! I'm pretty modest about what I wear when I workout. In fact now that I even have a treadmill I was thinking when I was one it that I was so hot, I should just wear my sports bra. But I just couldn't do it! Even in my own house! Sad, isn't it? I've never been comfortable uncovered!

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  28. Great post! I tend to change cover up when running, with as light clothes as possible. I am not comfortable running in short shorts and a sports bra. I kinda wish I was though...

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  29. This is a GREAT post ! I would just add that I would avoid pants / leggings that look like I peed myself when I sweat . Definitely not how I wish to be running....
    Happened recently with a 60 dollar pair of Athleta pants... I took them back !

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    1. It's one of the reasons why I stick to black on the bottom!

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  30. I like your take on this week's word! Black is always safest and I am more on the modest side when it comes to running - especially compared to other runners. I once saw someone criticize a woman who was running in just her sports bra when she complained about getting unwanted cat calls and whistles. They said she was bringing it on herself. And it's true that wearing less clothing can illicit an unwanted response. But I'm not sure that means you wouldn't be able to wear what you want.... as long as it doesn't cross the line of indecency.

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    1. I completely agree. It's too bad we live in a world where women get blamed for attracting creepos. As if they weren't creepy before then...

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  31. You will never ever see me outside running without a shirt on ! NEVER! and guys come on, one of my hubby's friends biked over to our house for Christmas Eve brunch, I swear no one can get past those damn red bicycle shorts! My MIL is still blushing!

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    1. You will never look at him the same, will you?

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  32. Eww that picture of the guys in the red shorts has me grossed out but also laughing about it!

    When I was younger, I used to wear just a sports bra not only when running outside but also at the gym. I do not, nor have I ever had large breasts. I am as flat chested as the come! It was not about showing anything because there is nothing to show off. It was strictly comfort. Now that I am a little older, I no longer wear just a bra while I am at the gym (too much close proximity to people!), but I do when I am running outside and it is really hot. When I'm outside, I feel like I'm in my own little world and it doesn't bother me like it does when I am at the gym and working out right beside people.

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    1. I did run in just a sports bra when I was younger but pregnancy and age have changed all that!

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  33. You've got some good examples of when there should be more modesty; and the picture of the biker guys ewww!

    I ran in just a sports bra for years, but these days I have too much saggy skin to pull it off. I found some super thin Nike singlets that I wear on extremely hot days, and don't get too miserable.

    Thanks for linking up, and have a great weekend!

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    1. I'm with you--too much saggy skin on the tummy. It's all about feeling comfortable on the run, and I don't want to be focusing on that when I should be concentrating on my running!

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  34. Love this!!! Totally laughed put loud haha. I didn't even know they made things to prevent camel toes! I cannot run in those Nike pro type shorts. They ride up and show half of my butt and the longer in seams are super uncomfortable. And I totally agree with getting good bras to strap the girls down. I just started running again and that is one thing that I didn't mind spending money on. Save the Tatas!!!

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  35. OMG! The pictures!! I was laughing about the camel wanting it's toe back until I got to the cyclists. Yikes! I can't run in shorts and I will NEVER run in just a sports bra. No thank you. I'm self conscious enough about my running to add that "stuff" to the mix. And about the girls with short shorts. I was one of those moms that told my young daughter to not even think about wearing shorts THAT SHORT. And then yesterday, I noticed that the shorts she was wearing, ones I bought for her, were that short. But they look super cute with her dancer legs. If I had legs like that, Hell, I'd be wearing those shorts. They are long enough that they are still appropriate. Come on - she's 11. :)

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