Why I wear whatever I want when I run (and why you should too!)

Happy weekend friends! This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time… So, I FINALLY did it! I was inspired after running in “buns” for the first time last weekend. It is a little more personal than I’m used to writing here, but hopefully some of you can relate to it. πŸ™‚

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As long as I can remember, I felt self-conscious about my body when working out. Funny, isn’t it? The one activity that was supposed to empower me and help me develop my body confidence made me feel the opposite most of the time. As a kid, I did not think much of clothing worn during workouts, but once I joined cross country as a 14 year old, to train for soccer (HA!), that’s when I noticed those thoughts more often.

I remember coming to summer running as a scared freshmen, who could only run a mile or two, and was in awe of the upperclassman on the team who ran 6 (or more miles) in just a sports bra and spandex. I showed up in my all cotton t-shirt, cotton shorts, and non-supportive running shoes ready to go on a hot summer morning. The run was not memorable, but what stuck out to me was what the other runners wore, especially the faster ones. Soon enough, my coach and I realized I had some natural talent and had me runΒ  varsity with those girls, but I still wore my cotton outfits initially. I was training for soccer, but falling in love with running. I was starting to wonder if/when I would be “fast” and “fit” enough to wear “real” running clothes and asked my mom to go shopping. We bought new shoes, few new tank tops, some shorts, and sports bras, but still no spandex shorts. I was too scared to wear spandex or to run in just a sports bra initially. I did not think I was fast, fit, or thin enough.

The problem was that at the time, I decided I had to look a certain way to wear certain running clothes. Practicality did not matter- for example, when it is 90 degrees a sports bra or tank top and spandex is the comfiest/coolest running outfit. It just mattered to me that I looked the part to wear the outfit. I remember the first time I ran in a sports bra in high school- I was so scared and self-conscious. It was ridiculously hot that day, so I finally caved. I could not focus on my run, though, as I was too worried about how I looked. I spent a lot of high school running worrying if I “looked” like a runner. By junior and senior year I was our team’s top runner, but still felt like a fraud.

(Some high school running throwbacks)

I remember going to a college recruit visit my senior year of high school and running with that team for a long run. It was winter and they all ran in tights-something I was too scared to do. I often wore running sweat pants for winter runs, which are not as comfortable. After that run, though, I realized two things:

a. I must be doing okay if a college is recruiting me

b. It sucks to run in heavy sweatpants, when winter runs are much nicer in leggings. That was the moment I decided to stop caring so much about what I wore when I ran.

No one notices what you wear what you run as much as you do. It’s so liberating to run in what you are comfortable in.Β  In high school, I wish I had spent more time celebrating how hard I worked, the fact that I was fast enough to run in college, how strong my legs were, and how running clothes could be a fun way to bond with other runners, rather than as a point of comparison. The same running clothes thoughts occasionally occurred in college, but I got over it quickly (for new readers who do not know, I ran XC/track in college too). I got over it quickly because I cared more about reaching my running goals and having a good workout than how I looked.

(Some college running throwbacks)

Your running clothing choices should not be dictated by how you look, but by what is most comfortable to you. All running clothes are meant for you because if you run, you are a runner! Runners come in all shapes, sizes, and paces. πŸ™‚ You don’t have to have a six-pack to run in spandex and a sports bra! You just need to be confident and comfortable in whatever you wear.

These days, I run in whatever the heck I feel like wearing! Tights, spandex, “buns”, sports bras, tank tops, you name it! Nothing is off limits. πŸ˜› Running in an outfit you don’t think you “should” wear can be exhilarating… because screw what everyone else thinks! πŸ˜‰ I wore “buns” for a training run last week (just to see how they feel if I decide to race in them in a few weeks) and d**n it was liberating! There will always be a runner who is thinner, fitter, and faster, but you only have one life and one body, so it’s much more fun to accept it, nurture it, and wear what is comfortable!

Three questions: What was the first outfit you ran in? Did you ever worry about wearing certain running clothes? What is your favorite running or racing outfit? In college, I had to wear a certain pair of Nike socks and my blue or black Nike sports bra on XC race days.Β  Unless it’s really cold, I plan to wear my Oiselle “buns” (pictured above haha) and my neon yellow Balega socks for my 5k in a few weeks or half marathon in a month.

Comment your answers or thoughts about the postΒ πŸ‘‡πŸ»

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4 thoughts on “Why I wear whatever I want when I run (and why you should too!)

  1. When I started running I wore cotton tshirts and soccer shorts. I also wore Soffe shorts a lot. But, I am a little older than you and back in the day, those shorts were made differently and more comfy, and a lot of us ran in them.

    I do think people should run in whatever they find comfortable. I have friends who run in a LOT more clothes than me and friends who wear less. I have one friend who won’t run in shorts. She wears more clothes for a run in August than I would wear for a run in January of February. Of course, your clothes do need to be suitable for the sport- I can’t imagine running in sweatpants because it’s hard to run in them at all, and all runners need proper shoes (well, I guess the barefoot crowd will argue otherwise).

    I personally do not run in a sports bra. I always wear a tank or shirt because I like wiping my sweaty face with it. Nothing body image related.

    In the end, we worry more about ourselves than others think about it. It’s like finish times, no one worries about those but you really. Same with what you wear.

    • I couldn’t agree more Amy! I do remember Soffe shorts! I ran in those quite a bit my freshmen year of high school (2006), but I didn’t like them. Spandex shorts are my favorite to run in now and I’m not sure what took me so long to try them out back in high school. πŸ˜›

  2. “There will always be a runner who is thinner, fitter, and faster, but you only have one life and one body, so it’s much more fun to accept it, nurture it, and wear what is comfortable!” Love this so much.

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