Running Naked


After my last big race, I gave my body full permission to take as much time off as it needed. No pressure, no judgment, no date circled in red on the calendar. I indulged in a lot of group fitness classes and a lot of sleep. It was glorious.

But then, over the holidays in Kentucky, I was met with glorious 60-degree weather during Christmas week (shoutout, El Nino), and no extra money to spend on a gym in Lexington. Thus, I decided to go for a run one day. Major, I know.

However, after not running for more than two months, I had more than a little anxiety. Would I get out of breath before I reached the end of my block? Would my legs remember the motions? What do I do with my arms again? With all the extra thoughts occupying my brainspace for what was once such a normal event, I decided to take one complicating element out of the equation.

I decided to run naked.

Get your mind out of the gutter. Not like THAT. That’s illegal, after all. (Right? That sounds right.)

For the first time in probably two years, I ran without tracking anything whatsoever. No mileage, no paces, no grand total of how many minutes I spent jogging along. I ran in complete, blissful ignorance, and it was perfect.

Sure, there’s a time and place for tracking your run- when you’re training for a specific goal pace, or want to make sure you hit a certain distance, or when you’re playing one of those running from the zombies app games. However, tracking your first run back after a long hiatus seemed to me like a surefire way to feel bad about myself.

Because let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to get out of running shape than get into it – and right now, I have a lot of work to do to get back to where I was, running-wise, last year. But, taking off the watch was equivalent to taking off the pressure.

Instead of pausing my watch obsessively the moment I hit a stoplight, I used the opportunity to stop and walk the last few yards to the light. I made the executive decision to run to my best friend’s downtown apartment, take a 20 minute water and gossip break, and then run home- allowing me to catch up one-on-one with a pal before her busy wedding week. Later that week, I set out with a certain route in mind, then shortened it on-the-fly based on my tired legs – without feeling any guilt at how much less mileage I was doing, because there was no physical evidence of “wimping out” on a run.

I’m sure I’ll go back to using a watch or tracking app on my runs eventually. After all, I paid a lot of money for that Garmin – I plan on using it until it physically returns to its original dust. Plus, it keeps me accountable for my progress. But until I get my legs back, I’ll be running footloose and fancy-technology free.

Endurance Move

About Kristen Geil

A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kristen moved to Chicago in 2011 and received her MA in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse from DePaul while trying to maintain her southern accent. Kristen grew up playing sports, and since moving to Chicago, she’s fallen in love with the lakefront running path and the lively group fitness scene. Now, as a currently retired marathoner and sweat junkie, you can usually find her trying new workouts around the city and meticulously crafting Instagram-friendly smoothie bowls. Kristen came on to A Sweat Life full-time in 2018 as Editor-in-Chief, and she spends her days managing writers, building content strategy, and fighting for the Oxford comma.

1 thought on “Running Naked

  1. I love this! When I was training for my last race, the numbers started to really effect my mood after a run (feeling crappy after a slow run). Jer finally told me to stop tracking everything, and just enjoy the run and you know what? I was happy! I could just enjoy gorgeous Chicago in the summer. No matter how slow I was running 🙂

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