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The Great Running Tight Boycott of 2011

As winter draws nearer, I’ve realized there’s something about me that you all should know. Something that sort of makes me feel like less of a runner to admit. Are you ready for it?

I hate running tights. HATE them. (Phew – just saying that has already made my chest feel lighter.)

I would run in shorts all year round if I could. The only thing is, I live in New England. And in this part of the country, my hatred for running tights is only tempered by my desire to not make running a miserable experience. So in an effort to keep my legs from falling off during long runs on freezing winter mornings, I give in and resort to wearing tights. It’s a necessary evil, of sorts.

I know some runners out there love them. They can’t wait to slip into those skin tight leggings as soon as the temperature drops. They apparently love the feel against their legs and are convinced that it makes them feel fast as they cut through the air.

But I disagree. I put those things on and immediately feel constricted. My legs can’t move as well, there is always extra fabric, and the crotch (that dang crotch!) is always falling down. I spend more time trying to adjust the stupid things than anything else.

Instead my legs long for freedom. To move however they want; to feel the wind against my quads. No, I don’t need to run naked, but I will always wear shorts for as long as I can manage without my legs freezing and falling off.

In case you’re wondering, I don’t feel the same way about tops. In fact, my absolute favorite running outfit is a long sleeve shirt (spandex or not) and shorts. Not only does the long sleeve + shorts combo pretty much signify perfect running temperatures, but it’s also so comfortable – burying my hands in the sleeves, using the sleeves to wipe my snot or the water running out of my eyes. What could be better? (being a runner is attractive, no?)

Yesterday, 6 days into the month of December, I went out running in shorts. It was dark. It was rainy. But it was warm (relatively speaking) and my heart was happy. As I ran along in shorts and a t-shirt, I started wondering – just how long can I stretch this out? How many days can I go before I have to resort to the tights? Another week? Until the end of the month?

When I happened to be talking to my Dad later on in the evening, I casually mentioned the fact that I wanted to try to avoid wearing running tights for the rest of the year. He responded by laughing. He warned me that I might feel fine now, but the cold front would come. Temperatures would drop. And then my short-loving legs weren’t going to be so happy. I don’t think he really believed I was serious.

But I am serious. So serious that I’m taking my movement public. I’m shouting it out to the millions few dozen of you who read my blog: the Great Running Tight Boycott has begun! From now until the first day of 2012, this runner will not wear a single pair of long spandex pants to run. The gauntlet has been thrown; the challenge accepted. Mother Nature – this month, it’s me vs. you.

Running Tight Boycott

Officially Unofficial Rules for the Most Inane Boycott Ever Great Running Tight Boycott of 2011

  • Participant recognizes the stupidity and pointlessness of the boycott, yet chooses to participate anyway.
  • Participant will only run in approved running bottoms until Jan 1, 2012.
  • Approved running bottoms are those that fall above the knee, and does not include long spandex tights or capris.
  • Although every effort will be made to run outside as much as possible, participant reserves the right to run on the treadmill. (Participant actually likes treadmill running, okay??) Just as long as it isn’t every single day.

Sometimes this boycott will mean that I need to be a little creative with my running outfits. I may need to pull out the long socks or even the one pair of leg warmers that I own – a gift from my favorite leg-warmer-wearing-jazz-hand-waving runner. I know she will approve. But it will be worth it. Running in high socks beats running in tights any day of the week.

striped knee socks

This December, my legs choose freedom. My legs choose not to be held in or confined. My legs choose to face the wind, the cold, all the elements of winter weather. And they will hold strong against it.

What about yours? Will your legs stand strong and boycott the awfulness that is running tights with me?

63 Responses to The Great Running Tight Boycott of 2011

  1. I kind of love this. However, I hate tights but I hate treadmills more. (Haven’t touched one since 2007 and planning on keeping it this way) Thus, tights often win for me.
    I have a friend who REFUSED to wear them though…and he also refused to run on treadmills. We once ran a race in 12 degree weather with 60 MPH winds and he still wore shorts. HE’S MY HERO.
    AR´s last post ..Rambling Thoughts Re: Being Out of Shape and Fat

    • Wow. Now that is commitment! And here I thought I was being “tough” because I just don’t want to wear them for the rest of the month. The truth is I’m way too big of a wimp to do it when it’s REALLY cold.

      • I should point out that he’s crazy! In an awesome way, but still completely nuts. (He ran that race, I drove him home, he changed, ran to a soccer tournament, then went on a pub crawl before running back home drunk.)

  2. Am I just now realizing you have a new header? Cute!

    I can totally support your running tights boycott. This is just yet another reason for you to come run a race in Florida (although, the Disney marathon is notorious for being on of the coldest starts!).

    I rarely wear anything but shorts when I run (even when it is 30-40 degrees out), but my legs can tolerate the cold A LOT better than my upper body/arms.

    Good luck!! Hee.
    Michelle @ Crazy*Running*Legs´s last post ..Vegas Recap – The Partying

    • Thanks! I just put it up on Sunday. EC helped me with it, since I have no Adobe skills.

      I will admit that I get jealous of all you Florida runners this time of year. I need to find some way to split my time and retreat down there during the cold months.

  3. I am the opposite of you. I hate shorts! I cannot find a pair of shorts that don’t ride up and I spend the entire running pulling them down, which I’m sure is attractive.
    Lee´s last post ..Back to Normal

  4. I am not a big fan of the running tights, but I wear them because I live in stupid cold NH. I usually wear them under something (like an elf costume, a turkey costume or even feetie pajamas) while running to make things more interesting.
    Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe´s last post ..Santa Claus is… RUNNING… to town!

  5. Haha I also HATE tights! I’ll wear crops and actually love those but there is just something with my whole leg being covered. I’m in…no tights until 2012.
    Lauren´s last post ..Photo Marathon Recap

  6. HAHA! I was thinking about you when it was 56 degrees at 8AM yesterday. Then I saw you post something on FB about how you wanted snow and I was like “Wait, isn’t that the same girl who wants to run in shorts all year long?!?” Very conflicting LB! But yes, naked legs are the best, even though I am in love with my capri pants. I like spandex running shorts the best though…. I’ve been rocking the compression socks with shorts a lot lately. I need more long socks!
    LIZZY´s last post ..Brined Turkey with Chipotle Maple Butter Gravy

    • Like I’ve told you before, I’m a complicated woman. 😉

      But really – I love running in shorts but I also love snow this time of year (meaning the month of December only). And I see no issue with running in shorts through the snow. It actually feels kind of cool (in a semi-twisted, painful sort of way).

  7. I don’t have any problem with tights – while I don’t look forward to wearing them every winter, I happily pull them on when the weather dips.

    What brand are you wearing? I don’t have any problem with droopy crotch (HAH!) and I wear Under Armour tights. Perhaps try them once your boycott has ended?

    • Haha – okay, so I suppose there’s a chance I just own crappy tights. It’s hard to spend money on something you hate. But it also could be a problem because of how I’m built (maybe…?) I usually have to buy things that are bigger in the waist in order to fit over my “muscular” thighs/bum – hence the extra fabric. But I’m going to look into the Under Armour ones when I’ve ended my boycott. Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. During snowmageddon of 2010, I actually saw a runner in DC out in shorts. It was like negative a million degrees, 6 feet on the ground and still snowing and he was wearing shorts. I’m with you, shorts rock, pants suck. I would happily join in but my legs are already covered by a less than welcome knee height accessory.
    emily´s last post ..RNRVegas #Stripatnight Part One

    • Wow. I think that crosses the line from dedication to craziness! And I also think that we can agree that even tights are better than a stupid boot :-/

  9. I am going all year without running in a single pair of running tights! As a matter of fact, I vow to run all year in shorts AND a running tank top!! oh the joys of living in Florida :-)

  10. This post made me laugh out loud! As a “southern girl”, I can typically make it through most of the season without resorting to tights. Unfortunately, I think I’ll cave tomorrow morning when I head out for my run- predicted temp is 25. I’m a wimp, but I agree, shorts are best and I’m praying the weather cooperates for me to wear them in the Houston marathon in January.
    Holly´s last post ..Walk the Line

  11. How do you feel about pants? They didn’t get a mention in the post…

    • Pants are okay. I love shorts the best so I guess I just sort of lump anything that isn’t shorts together. Sometimes pants can feel bulky to run in and can be uncomfortable if there’s a lot of snow/water on the ground (and the bottoms get wet). But I do have a few pairs that I think are more comfortable than my running tights.

  12. Well, you could always run on a treadmill, but that is super ass boring… so how about you move to California instead!!?? Yes, yes!! PERFECT!!

    I do love the long sock/leg warmer idea, though. This is something I could get behind, too! (I hate long tights, but I’ll wear crops… I guess I like when part of my leg shows!?).
    Alyssa´s last post ..Race Recap: Run Wild for a Child 10k (2011)

  13. You are hilarious! And this is awesome! But…I love tights (how can you hate, they are AMAZING???).

    Perhaps I will do an equal challenge in May trying to get people to wear tights in July :).
    Margot @ FasterBunny´s last post ..Real World, Road Rules (Runner Style)

    • So you are one of THOSE people, huh?? 😉 I don’t know – I just don’t get the appeal to them. But you can go ahead and wear your tights in July…and my naked legs will thank me for letting them run free.

  14. I pretty much love this :) Granted, I can’t participate because I can’t run in shorts otherwise I might spark a fire due to the friction of my thighs. I run (almost) exclusively in capris. I support you though!
    Laura´s last post ..How I became a happy person

    • haha! Do you ever run in compression/spandex shorts? I’m not really a spandex girl all around, but I know some people swear by them.

      • I have only used them under a running skirt. Would be arrested for indecency if I wore them alone. I think on my body type capris are more flattering than bike shorts, so I tend to rock those. I grew up in dance and figure skating, so tights don’t constrict me. I do long for the day when I can go for a run in shorts though.
        Laura´s last post ..How I became a happy person

  15. i love this post, so funny! And yet… I agree with it all. I’ve always felt hot and constricted in movement. And with most types there are crazy seam patterns and if they hit the wrong spots around the knees, they can be downright annoying! Kudos to you!

  16. shorts and a long-sleeved T are my favorite too! i hear ya – the less i wear the better. i hold out with shorts for as long as i can. i own the capri tights but not the full length tights (does anyone look good in them???).

    i do like the socks/leg warmers idea! the best of both worlds!
    Kristy@RunTheLongRoad´s last post ..Do one thing a day that scares you

  17. Oh, I could never do this. I love my running tights. They keep my knees sooo happy. Maybe you’re wearing the wrong kind. Roadrunner sports makes sweet compression tights…

  18. I’m in. And I wholeheartedly approve of your leg warmer acceptance. That makes my heart happy.

    I also boycott wearing tights to work. You know, the non-running kind. “Nylons” as some people call them. I hate those things. They make me never want to go pee because it’s so much effort.

    Now you know.

    Ali´s last post ..Onto The Next!

  19. I would consider this challenge, but I would run out of shorts!!! I try to do laundry every 2 weeks. Now it’s every week with running clothes!!!
    Kristin miller´s last post ..I am thankful for my Grampy

  20. Oh BOY! There goes all your Christmas Gifts! Running Tights in 7 different colors……

    • Nooooo!! I was so looking forward to those electric blue and lime green tights I know you got me. I can just save them for the new year.

  21. OK tough girl. Easy to say all this while we are having record temperatures. Let me know how tough you are after running 5 miles in 8 degree weather with a -5 wind chill. If you can keep your boycott going then, i will be a believer. Oh, and after you get sick, come home and mom can make you some soup.

    • Your doubt only makes me more determined. I may get frost bite, but I won’t give in.

      I know you must be proud for raising such a bright and persistent daughter.

  22. I love my tights! I’d probably wear them all year if they weren’t too hot in the summer. However, that has more to do with how much I dislike my calves vs. how much I love long pants… Can’t say I’ve tried them, but Colin swears by the CW-X tights.
    Alanna´s last post ..Follow-Up Friday

  23. Love the new site design!! I am not a big fan of tights either! I do wear them, but I completely agree that it’s really hard to find ones that don’t ride down or up in the wrong places 😉 I am feeling the knee socks lately too- must have been the Christmas knee socks last Sunday!

  24. You are so funny, I love it <3 I LOVE running crops and can't wait for the day I get to put them on (which has already happened) but I will fully support you in your cause 😉

    I DO like the idea of long socks with shorts though and used that earlier this month when me knee was cut up and I couldn't wear crops. It worked well :)
    Aron´s last post ..Race Report: 2011 Las Vegas Great Santa Run 5k

  25. I am a huge fan of NOT wearing running tights – I do not like them and will wear shorts unless it is absolutely freezing out! I find that as long as my upper body is warm, I am fine – it’s the legs that are doing most of the moving anyway =)

    Count me in! From this day on (until Jan 2012), I will not wear tights! =)

  26. I actually like running tights. They make me feel less bad about not shaving my legs in the winter. Is that TMI?
    That said, knee-high socks and leg warmers are AWESOME. I wouldn’t mind rocking those for a month.
    Sarah K´s last post ..Best of the Web

    • haha! That’s an excellent point that I didn’t think about. Definitely an advantage to tights – I’ll give you that!

  27. You know, I actually don’t mind them, but, then again, I HATE feeling cold.
    Meggie´s last post ..I Got PPS-ed Today at Physical Therapy

  28. Haha, I’m not the biggest fan of running tights, but I’m too much of a whimp in the cold to go without them! Best of luck in your boycott. I really like under armour tights. If you haven’t tried them before I would recommend those :)
    Nancy@triathletestrials´s last post ..Back At It!

    • A couple of people have recommended the Under Armour tights, so I’m definitely going to look into them (once I’m done boycotting, of course). Thanks!

  29. hahaa. I love this. I’m actually excited to wear tights because it means I WILL BE RUNNING. Heh. But oh my god, the crotch. I have one pair of tights that don’t sag in the crotch at all (under armour) and wish I could find more. I am excited to see your creative sock/leg warmer contraptions and hope that no large snowstorms come your way until 1/1/12 :)
    Kelly´s last post ..Counting down…

  30. haha i love this idea! i like wearing spandex tights when i’m not running (yes, i know, that’s weird), but i totally agree on the crotch situation. i HATE having to yank the tights up every 2 minutes. i purchased a pair of CWX compression tights last year and sometimes just getting them on is a workout.

    p.s. i sort of like treadmill running too! phew, feels good to get that off my chest.
    Megan (The Runner’s Kitchen)´s last post ..Things I like, Things I don’t

    • I’m glad you’ve come clean. Don’t worry…this blog is a safe place for treadmill runners :)

      (But seriously – I’m thankful for the treadmill! I get some good training in on that thing.)

  31. Long socks and shorts…why have I never thought of that!?!?

    I HATE running tights – they feel like they’re cutting my legs in two and I agree that they’re supposed to support muscles, but they’re actually quite inhibiting. They also end up giving me horrible chafe marks (sorry, TMI) because I have the opposite problem with the crotches cutting into me – I am a lot bigger in the bum department than you are!

    I have to give this pledge a go…time to find me some leg-warmers!

    ~Jessica~´s last post ..Redemption?

    • I also never feel like they fit quite right. Maybe I’m just wearing the wrong kinds? Either way, I’m glad I have your support. Welcome to the running-tight-hating-club :)

  32. I broke down and wore tights today….and they kept falling down! Hate hate hate, maybe I’ll start wearing shorts and long socks. Which means should buy some long socks…
    Susan´s last post ..Hot Chocolate 15K Race Report

  33. Haha sorry, I’ve already worn them a few times this year! I don’t mind them actually and I prefer capris to shorts (helps prevent chafing).

    I still think this post is great though and I’m loving your new looks!
    Jamie @ couchtoironwoman´s last post ..Motivation

  34. Yes, I am totally with you. I hate winter running gear in general – too much crap to deal with and too much worrying about whether I have too much or not enough on. At least in summer I can wear shorts and a tank top every day without thinking about it! Also, I am with you, snow is great in December only.
    KathyQ´s last post ..Santa’s Motorcade

  35. I can wear shorts fine through the winter, and have done it without any issues (running in Washington, DC, we’re not talking about Canada here).

    The only reason I stopped and started wearing thighs WASN’T because of the cold, but because of the heat. When the temperature would get hot again, I didn’t have anything to shed to make myself feel cooler, since I was already sporting shorts all year… So I started wearing thighs so I’d have something to help with overheating.

  36. i havent worn tights yet this month either – granted i havent been running all that much, but i wore shorts last monday and was in HEAVEN! but when it gets super cold, i have to take an allergy pill, or my physical uticaria acts up and i get hives on my legs. i think you can pull this off!

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