Singlets: they’re not just for racing anymore

August 27, 2009

Until recently, I had maintained a life-long policy of wearing skimpy racing tops only for races. Donning a singlet in a non-racing context has always seemed equivalent to announcing to the world, “I take myself, and my running, MUCH too seriously.”

My morning commute has prompted me to reevaluate this policy. My 5.8-mile run from home to the lab leaves me sweaty and stinky. Not wanting to overwhelm my coworkers with Eau de Crowther, I towel off and change shirts, but it would be even better to perspire less. So my old singlets — from my rave-green one to my black-and-yellow “Bumble Racer” to my Team USA jerseys — are back in circulation.

With my singlet and my commuting backpack, I must appear to be training for some sort of elite urban survival challenge. I guess it’s OK to look funny as long as I don’t smell too bad.


  1. I would recommend also changing your running shorts after arriving at work!

  2. Definition of look funny: What you personally think looks funny.I never think runners look funny.Except maybe that pic of you at 80 k in Japan :-)Singlet shminglet, Tee whee! Wear what works for you.

  3. Are you also donning true running shorts to go with your singlet, or do you just run in 'general purpose' athletic shorts? I remember in college that the only guys on the x-country team who practiced in actual running shorts seemed to be slow guys like me. All the fast guys just practiced in cut-off sweats or whatever.I only wore singlets for races, too. But that was because I only owned one singlet.

  4. Wool. Seriously. I got so tired of stinking myself out of the house after a run I decided to try it.You can go weeks without changing (at least as far as stink is concerned.)After you've converted to the all-wool all the time crowd, you can grow a huge beard and take up ham radio too.

  5. I think you need to carry this logic further – if a singlet is better than a shirt (ie, less fabric) than what would be even better? That's right – no shirt. I hardly ever wear a shirt unless it is 45 or below. Another benefit of running with no shirt is, you'll realize maybe weightlifting isn't such a bad idea!Good luck at the Half Marathon,Paul

  6. Paul: Running shirtless in warm weather would make sense except that, with my backpack on, chafing might be problem. Also, sweating directly onto my backpack (without a layer in between) might make the backpack smell even worse.

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