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I’m Running Naked and Loving It

Hidden Nuggets #14 – “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” – Hebrews 12:1

running nakedHistorians describe a revealing practice among the ancient Greeks. Apparently it was common for athletes participating in distance races and other athletic events to wear no clothing. That’s right…au naturel. Debate continues as to when and where this first occurred. The idea behind it however is clear – remove all encumbrances so the body can perform at peak efficiency.

How times have changed…thankfully!

Last Saturday when I completed the Baltimore Marathon, I did so with over 3,000 fully clothed marathoners.  However, many of them were “running naked,” including myself. How’s that possible?

It’s because, in the running culture, the term running naked has taken on a contemporary meaning to indicate someone that runs without headphones. Taken to its extreme, it refers to running completely technology free – no headphones, watches, shoe pods, GPS devices, etc. It’s just the runner, his or her apparel and the road.

I’ve actually been running naked for over two months. Eight weeks into my marathon training, the incredible pair of headphones I had been using for the past two years gave out. Sound stopped coming from the right ear bud, probably because I pinched a wire somewhere in the cord.

I purchased several pairs trying to find a replacement. Nothing seemed to work. My right ear must have a funky shape because no bud can stay in it. And I can’t find one exactly like my last pair which had a hinged support bracket that curled around the back of the ear to secure the bud in place.


So I gave up listening to music for the last two months of training. I love motivational music on a run so this abstinence challenged me greatly.

During that time I discovered something unexpected. I didn’t miss the music as much as I supposed. In fact, at some level it felt freeing. No longer did I have to worry about charging my iPod, securing the headphone cord during the run or having the headphones drop out from the constant jarring of my body. It did seem like I had removed a small weight of worry from the run and was able to focus on the actual training.

That sounds a lot like life doesn’t it?

There are too many instances to recall where I have been holding on to some routine…an attitude or action…a belief…a sin…maybe even a friendship, only later to discover its negative impact on me. Instead of helping me, that item was really holding me back from focusing on what was truly important. If I had let it go sooner, perhaps my life could have moved forward with greater efficiency and focus.

It’s time to lay aside the baggage. We can’t run an effective race with its weight hanging around our neck.

Questions: What’s the biggest challenge in your life today that is holding you back? Do you prefer to run with or without music?

Image by Carlos Porto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  1. I’ve run somewhat naked on the beach and I can do it in short distances listening to the waves, but still prefer music. I have to use the ones that curl around my ears too. I would say though that occasionally I get really sick of my same playlist, which can actually make me cranky when running. My biggest challenge? Probably having too many ideas and wondering how I will execute them.

  2. It’s interesting how freeing you’ve found running without music to be. I guess your headphones dying was a little blessing in disguise. While I don’t run, I like exercising to music. It helps me get into a groove. My headphones never stay in my ears on a normal basis (I can’t find ones that fit well either), so I’d probably have to run/walk without music.

  3. I would have a hard time running naked. I need music to help me zone out. I run often but I wouldn’t say I love it, so music helps get me through runs. When I was training for my half marathon there was no way I was going to finish it without headphones. The official half marathon got dropped to a 5 mile run because of heat and I ran that race “naked” and it went just fine. On a training day, though, I need my music!

    • Another issue about the headphones I didn’t bring up applies to safety. In Baltimore, we had some wheelchair racers for the marathon. When they passed you (on the downhills) they were always shouting “On your left” so that you would move over and give them space. I noticed on more than one occasion people with headphones not hearing the wheelchair racer’s cries. There were almost several accidents.

  4. Mike GetRichWithMe says

    I hope you don’t mind me posting this link – http://www.runtheplanet.com/resources/historical/nuderunning.asp
    People have been running naked for a whole now.
    The victorians in England – despite their prudishness – were often seen running in the buff.
    I can’t run without music – it keeps my legs moving during the last mile or two

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