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Showering After Running: Rise, Run, Rinse (Maybe…), Repeat

You always earn it, but the real question is: Do you have time for it?
You always earn it, but the real question is: Do you have time for it?

Sitting down at dinner after a long day—or maybe just inhaling leftovers over the sink—you wonder where yet another day has gone. You got the kids to school, then soccer; you got fruits and vegetables in them a couple of times; you found the three-month-overdue library books; you did a gazillion other things you can't recall right now, but you do remember one thing: the 7-miler that at 5:45  a.m. you pounded out in preparation for your upcoming half-marathon.

Did you remember--or have time--to shower after that puppy? Hmm...need a little time to think about that one?

SBS, for example, realized that she had managed to complete three different workouts without once stepping behind the shower curtain. So we asked our other mother runners what their records were. From the multitude of Facebook comments that we received, here are some of the highlights:

The award for most days of no-shower-but-daily-sweat has to be given to a mother runner by the name Sara, who ended up finally taking a shower at the end of day 6. Perhaps never wanting to re-smell that experience, she says, “now it’s more like, ‘how many times can I shower between runs?’”

But like many of us, a majority of mother runners admitted to not showering simply because there was no time in the day. BAMRs like Julie and Paula said that it is a very regular occurrence in their lives to go two or even three days without even a rinse. Now that she’s not on maternity leave, however, Julie found that work has saved her from the addictive non-showering cycle. “I have to be polite to my coworkers and my patients,” she notes.

Others, like Kim, treat her runs like dates, making a point to always shower before she sets out. The idea of giving a workout a little bit of refreshing respect is maybe not what many people would think of doing, but Kim ends up not feeling as ‘dirty’ after each workout.

Some mother runners also had some crafty ways to cheat the system:

Jessica, for one, admitted to going three days without bathing. But instead of going to bed still feeling super sweaty, her ritual includes what she likes to call a “Whore Bath”: taking a wet washcloth to her face and pits before slipping into her clean PJs.

Stacy, who said she usually prefers to shower right after workouts, also admitted to using the same trick when time gets away from her. Following in her mom’s tradition, however, she likes to call it a “PTA bath,” standing for the all too important pits, tits, and ass.

Now that we've had a little Ragnar action, we can say with certainty that dry shampoo and full-body wipes (Action Wipes are our current fave) are an adequate substitute for a shower.

Lastly, Emily left us with a hidden silver lining for those times when you feel like your perfume just isn’t doing the trick. She purposely didn’t shower for two days “to ensure a protective bubble at a consignment sale.” She was able to spend an entire day browsing without a single person coming within five feet of her and interrupting her flow.

So, even though showering may have to take the back burner more often than we would want, maybe we can all start using our sweat to our advantage. Either way, we can be sure that whenever we actually do get the time to shower, we’ve definitely earned it.

How's your showering track record?  What’s your record for most days gone without going behind the curtain?  

26 responses to “Showering After Running: Rise, Run, Rinse (Maybe…), Repeat

  1. I think the most I’ve ever gone is 2 days. After that I itch 😉 But if the house is super crazy when I get home from a run, I do resort to the “bird bath” or “pits and bits” as my husband calls it.

    For me, a shower is the last part of the workout, though. I always know when I step out, the alone time is over, and I’m fair game for anyone’s needs. sometimes they are long showers…

  2. I shower after every workout/run where I get sweaty. I feel totally gross if I don’t. I sweat a LOT, so there is never any question about when I’ve worked out. If I didn’t shower, my hair would be a grease pit, and I would stink like crazy. I don’t have to always shower after, for example, a restorative yoga class because I don’t break a sweat.

  3. As my husband will attest, I stink after a run. I shower every day. Even when I was home on maternity leave I had to have a shower every day, even if my only activity was taking an hour-long stroller power walk. The one day I didn’t wash my hair, about a month after our son was born, was the day my husband had organized a surprise 40th birthday party for me at a local pizza place. 🙂

  4. Love this and love the PTA bath terminology which sounds much better than the whore’s bath term I have used. My problem has never been the rinse, you can get that done in just a couple minutes. I would instead ask how many days is the record for not washing hair. I have long thick hair that requires lots of time to wash and condition. I skip the hair, often for days on end, and know that when I can lift up my ponytail and catch a whiff, that things have gone wrong. However, vanilla body spray and a shot of blowdryer on the sweat can do wonders under that pony. I think my record is 7 or 8 days of no hair wash and that includes working out almost every day. Gotta keep all family members at arms length by day 6. 🙂

  5. I can not imagine not taking a shower after a run/workout. I sweat like a 400 lb man in south Florida after I run or do my Insanity workouts. I mean, literally dripping wet from head to waist. I usually average 2 baths/showers per day. I might go a few hours while I finish some housework but that’s pretty rare.

  6. I have a pixie haircut so a shower plus drying my hair is not a time consuming event. I have cleaned house after a run, done grocery shopping, and even run to the liquor store (must have priorities)without a shower but a PTA bath is so not happening. If I’m getting near water the whole body is goin’ in. Glad the other gals found some pals through the post. 🙂

  7. So glad I’m not the only one!! I like to try to shower post-run, but it isn’t always possible. If I have to miss, I “freshen up” the way some others do – although I call mine a “bird bath”: using baby wipes, I basically do the PTA, as well as wiping down my face and neck.

  8. I STINK, as my family can attest to. I always shower, even if it’s a quick 5 minute shower. I can’t stand that gritty, salty feeling on my face, and my skin breaks out if I don’t.

  9. I usually shower after running, but don’t necessarily wash my hair. I like to give it a day off of shampooing on the weekend. If there’s really no time to shower, a washcloth and maybe a little baby powder take care of the sweat.

  10. I always shower after a run. I sweat like crazy and I feel gross if I don’t! I am honestly grossed out to hear that people will actually go days and have multiple work outs with out showering. I will feed my children cereal for dinner if I am faced with only having enough time to either make dinner or shower!
    I also work in a very professional office and coming to work not fresh and clean is just not something that anyone in my office does. Maybe if I was a SAHM I would feel differently!

  11. I can’t believe so many readers don’t shower! Maybe you all have magic hair? With my pouffy/curly hair, I need to wash it, or they’re a crazy mess of fly-aways and tangles! Occasionally in the winter, I can get away with not showering post-run, but a hair band is required, and I certainly can’t go to work without a shower.

  12. I shower 3x a week (running or not) and do the PTA in between. Ladies its really not good for your skin and hair to do a soap and shampoo every day.

  13. When I first started to running it was to ensure I would actually shower! As a stay at home mom to an infant I would routinely choose sleep over showering. I started running because I would get so gross that I had no choice but to shower within 30 minutes of a run!

  14. I can’t say that I’ve ever gone more than 1 day without a shower, especially after working out. I sweat so much, it’s stinky and my clothes are stuck to me. I can’t imagine not getting a shower in on top of that. I would sacrifice something else so that I could get a shower, even if it was the world’s quickest run through.

  15. Before I went back to work full time I would often go two days, occasionally three, without showering. Now it’s daily, and since we have a shower in my building, if I have to do a lunch time run it can be twice a day.

  16. 4 days is my max. For my “runch” runs on the work TM – my secret is deodorant, baby powder (liberally), and clean underwear. I also used this regime last week when I didn’t have time in between run/dinner prep/execution and needing to be on time for the elementary parent teacher conference.

  17. My husband would be kind of upset if I didn’t shower after a workout and slipped into our sheets. I don’t blame him. I wouldn’t want him to not shower after working out and come to bed all nasty. I used to go much longer without showering but I must shower after working out. I’ll even shower twice today between my three workouts (lifting this morning, walking/elliptical after the kids were at school, and old lady volleyball tonight).

    Do others just not sweat much???

  18. I’ve been known to go multiple days of runs without showers to follow. I find that if I change out of my bra and underwear and wash my face, I’m good to go. The hair may get a bit greasy but nothing a pony tail can’t hide. I’ve never had anyone complain about the stink so far 😉 although maybe I just have nice friends who know me well.

  19. I need to shower after every run. Just like Wendy, I am ALWAYS cold after a run. I need the shower to warm up again. However, I just ran the Marine Corp marathon and I was late getting back to my hotel room and I didn’t have time to take a shower before I had to pack, check out and make a train back to NJ. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, used my deodorant put clean clothes on and high-tailed it to the train. All I could think about for the next 3 and half hours was my shower!

  20. I have to shower after I run no matter what because once I cool down, I’m always cold from all the sweating! Even in the summer. I just stand under the hot water until I can feel my fingers and toes again.

  21. I would dphave to say 2 days or so but I stink when I run or spin/cycle and the smell grosses me out, I don’t know how people can go that long

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