The Great Running Shorts Debacle

To wear running shorts or not to wear running shorts.  This is a question that continues to plague me.  Recently Sports Authority offered me a $15 gift card, so I decided to go shopping.*  I perused the entire women’s section, searching for new running bottoms, and I selected several pairs of shorts, compression tights, and exercise pants.  In the fitting room I modeled each pair (with the requisite turns and poses), trying to determine which would compliment my wardrobe.  Even though some of the shorts looked okay (dare I say good?) on my frame, I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase any.  Sigh, and therein lies my dilemma.

I’m not particularly in love with my thighs.  Part of me fears that donning a pair of shorts will immediately embarrass me based on the size and viscosity of my legs.  Will people think rude things about my thighs?  Is there going to be noticeable wiggle-and-jiggle since my legs aren’t thoroughly toned?  Will the shorts ride up while I’m running?  And maybe the most important question, will there be chaffing that will irritate me for days?

On the other hand, running tights are well within my comfort zone.  At one point I wore mesh shorts over top to hide the contour of my quads, but I learned that the shorts would ride up and didn’t add to the outfit.  I’ve become accustom to wearing capris tights during all of my training and races, even though I know my thighs don’t conform to society’s norms.  Maybe it is the compression that puts me at ease, knowing that any cellulite is hidden underneath.

My running tights are a safety blanket for me, but wearing them can make me overheat. And let’s not forget about how quickly they become unattractive in the crotch region if pulled too tightly.  I can continue to tell myself to wait until I’ve dropped ten or so pounds before I purchase a pair, but what if that doesn’t happen so quickly (or ever)?  What is a girl to do?

I wanna know: Has anyone else gone through this internal debate?  How did you determine which running bottoms to wear and what did you determine as the pros/cons of each?

*Somehow all the shopping I desire doing as of late is for running and workout attire.  For some reason I’d rather spend my budget on clothing that is not acceptable to wear out in public (according to Stacey and Clinton).  Maybe I’ll get over this someday or maybe I’ll just make new friends who rather shop for and wear athletic gear.

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About Michelle

I'm an engineer living (and running) in Palo Alto, CA.

Posted on May 1, 2011, in Apparel, Running and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Currently, since I’m stuck on the elliptical, I usually wear capri sweats. They’re not spandex-y tight, but they’re long enough to cover my thighs without being so long that I trip on them. I don’t look super great while wearing them with a giant unisex T-shirt, but I’ve resigned myself to looking unattractive at the gym.

    I do prefer to wear shorts when I run outside, something I can’t do right now. They do ride up all the frickin’ time, though, which I hate. If I remember correctly, you would wear men’s length shorts when we went running back in college. I’d probably prefer those. They look like they won’t ride up as much.

    • The shorts I wore back then were mesh and would always ride up when we ran. It was frustrating and made it more difficult to run. (Don’t do it to yourself!) I think I was just talked into investing in my first pair of real running shorts. I’m nervous, but I think it is about time I take the plunge.

      As for your gym attire, why not invest in some technical workout tops (in women’s sizing!). You don’t have to look gorgeous, but they will be more comfortable and moisture wicking.

  1. Pingback: The Running Short Debacle – Revisited | The Running Jewess

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