Alex Steiner responds to Erika Miller’s piece, “The epidemic of the short shorts”

Reading Erika’s article last week, I was inspired to put my writing skills, honed by four years of rigorous liberal arts education, to the test. I felt it was my responsibility as a runner to talk about the joys and secret powers of running shorts.

There is indeed an epidemic on campus, but it is not the presence of short shorts. Rather, it’s the lack of them.

Learn from the wizened men who willingly subject themselves to the gauntlet of the indoor track and free your thighs.

As a runner, I realize that not everyone gets the same joy from running as I do, but I challenge you to beat the feeling of a warm summer day with shorts exposing your thighs, wind rushing over your legs, the sunshine adding wonderful vitamin D and the stares and shouts of people driving by.

It really is an intoxicating mix, even if you don’t get the fabled “runner’s high.”

Unfortunately, too often there is a fear, especially among men, that the wearer will be judged for showing too much leg.

The truth is, if you enjoy running, you are weird enough by most standards and shorts aren’t going to change that. Among running communities, you are actually more likely to be judged for wearing shorts that are too long than too short!

The world is full of important, serious issues and finding ways to manage life can be challenging. It’s necessary to take time to run away from all these problems, preferably in a brightly colored pair of shorts.

Confidence is required to wear these shorts. Runners with shorter shorts have more confidence in themselves and that is the most crucial element of running. Embracing your inner weirdness helps to deal with the struggles that running entails.

It is always a challenge to get out the door, but with the right pair of shorts to help you, it becomes a little easier.   

When looking for a pair of running shorts, there are important factors to consider.

Do they come in a shorter length?

Do they make you look fast?

Are they shipped in an envelope? (Better for the environment and a test of if your shorts are small enough.)

Do they bring you joy when you hold them?

The biggest hurdle is the fear of how others will look at you or feeling embarrassed with how you look.

I remember back to my early running days. It wasn’t cool to wear shorts that went too high above my knees. I went along with everyone else and was careful to wear shorts of the normal length. My thighs weren’t happy though and kept screaming at me.

I’m not sure if it was all the running or the fact that they were covered with fabric, but eventually I was convinced to get my first pair of true running shorts. The feeling of freedom was unmatched and I knew I could never again subject my thighs to being caged behind fabric.

Make running fun and it shifts from exercise you dread to the part of the day you look forward to.

Keep Goshen weird. Wear crazy shorts when you go running and I promise you won’t regret it.