October 8, 2015

Right to Bare Arms

by pyrad
Categories: General Running and/or Fitness
Comments: 1 Comment

I’ve talked about Body Image quite a bit on this blog. In fact, it has its own tag.

It’s because of body image issued that I have been reluctant to run in a tank top or singlet because I was was AM self-conscious about my flabby arms. I feel like I would be embarrassed by my fat arms jiggling as I run, so ever since I’ve started running I’ve never had bare arms.

I know that I really would benefit from running sleeveless. Even on really cold runs, I do most of my sweating from my upper torso. It seems like most running shirts are cut for people with small arms and necks, so very little heat escapes through my sleeves and neck. As a result, I often sweat a lot on my shirt even if my hands are freezing. Running without sleeves could introduce a new ventilation method that could improve my performance.

It took an abnormally hot day on August 15 last summer to force me to try bare my arms. Half way through the run I was already soaked with sweat so I passed by my home and changed my shirt. In my drawer was a tank top I had purchased years ago but was too embarrassed to wear. The shirt still had the retail sale tag on it. Desperate times called for desperate measures and I practicality overruled my internal protests. I was pleasantly surprised by the results.

Baring my arms during a really hot run last summer

Running with bare arms was a different and eye-opening experience. I tried sticking to trails and less busy sidewalks to avoid people. At first, I thought people were negatively judging me by my unhealthy looking arms. In reality, they probably through I was crazy to be running while there was a 40ºC humidex.

It was still stupid hot outside and I still got the shirt sweaty. And my upper arms got sweaty, but they dried out. That was a new experience altogether. I’d like to think that all that extra surface area helped cool me down.

Since then, I bought a couple more “tank top” or “singlet” -style running shirts. However, I haven’t run with them on group runs. I ‘m still a little embarrassed; I reserve them for #5amRunClub runs in the dark.

(Side note: Can anyone explain to me the difference, if there is any, between a Tank Top and Singlet?)


But, I did break out of my comfort zone a bit by running sleeveless at the Oakville Half-Marathon a couple weeks ago. I asked my mom to cut off and hem the sleeves of one of my old pacer shirts. I was wearing a jacket before the race and a foil until the gun went off, so I felt like my unsightly arms were hidden except during the race. 

Baring my arms before in my pacing gear before the Oakville Half-Marathon 2015
Baring my arms before in my pacing gear before the Oakville Half-Marathon 2015

Maybe I’m making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe my arms aren’t actually that embarrassing. But for performance purposes, I do realize that it helps me out a lot. In fact, I’m trying to decide which singlets to wear at my upcoming races, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and TCS New York City Marathon. I’m keeping an eye on store shelves for a singlet that catches my eye. And I guess I should invest in some arm warmers if I plan to keep racing in singlets will into the winter.

So, I am glad I have bare arms. Trimming of armpit hair is another story for another post…



Extended appendix note about gun control:
A lot of people, especially in the southern states argue violently about the “right to bear arms.” It should be violently obvious that this is a foolish policy.

I’m not saying all guns are inherently evil: Responsible sport hunters using licensed single-shot long rifles, in zones sanctioned by the Ministry of Natural Resources, hunting according to their purchased tags are a genuine users for guns in civilian hands. That’s probably the only tolerable case. And even still, (cross)bow and arrows are increasing in popularity and are a much more badass way to hunt, if you’re into hunting at all. There is no excuse for assault weapons and pistols to be in the hands of miscreants in urban settings.


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  1. […] Also, I’ve finally overcome the embarrassment of my flabby arms and will be running with bare arms in a singlet. I have been training in a singlet and I’ve found it really helps me run a […]