Readers Roundtable: Post-Run Showers!

What's your shower policy? Flickr Commons image by stevendepolo.
What’s your shower policy? Flickr Commons image by stevendepolo.

You ask us questions and we answer! Today, we’re going to try something new. We’re asking youย a question and we’d love your answers in the comments!

Our first question is about showers. We know some runners who insist on showering immediately after running and others who … well … might go a little longer in between showers. Some have tricks to get more mileage between showers (get it?!), while others couldn’t even fathom the notion of wanting to do that. So we ask you:

What is your personal post-run shower policy? Do you shower after every run? Do you shower immediately after every run? Do you have tricks to get more mileage between showers? Care to share your personal record of runs to shower or miles to shower ratio?

I’ll share my answer in the comments too!

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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  1. Before I had kids, I showered immediately after every run. That often meant I showered twice a day. Sometimes if I was doing a double or something on the weekends I’d only shower after the second or something, but I had a completely different shower policy than I do know that I’m a SAHM.

    Ok. Brace yourselves ๐Ÿ™‚ I have gone 4 runs in between showers! EW! It was when I first was a SAHM. I felt kind of lost and felt like it didn’t matter. I also am not a super-sweaty person. I’m sure I didn’t smell great after that 4th run or anything! But with a change of clothes and some deodorant my husband wasn’t leaving the house in tears and my infant son still loved me. Now I don’t do anything like that. But sometimes when I’m getting ready to run I notice I really should have showered the night before because I need one pre-run! When you have to shower before working out, you know you have a problem! But with the kids and my schedule I rarely have time to shower immediately after a run and sometimes I get so caught up in stuff I don’t get to it when I’d like.

    So there you go. I’m disgusting! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I shower after every run. One of my rewards for running is shower gel. So my runs determine which shower gel I use. If it is recovery run or an easy run, I use my Philosophy Pure Grace gel. If it is a hard run I use my peppermint shower gel

  3. I shower at night and usually run at night but I will almost always shower after a run. If I don’t, it was either an easy run and I didn’t sweat much or I’m really tired. I will say though that after morning races, I have been known to sit in my racing gear for longer than I probably should…also likely due to being tired.

    I sweat a lot and my hair gets greasy really fast but I did recently discover this product if you want/need to skip a shower. It really works and reduces any grease tenfold! Just spray it throughout your head and close to the hair lines.

    1. Another must-have in the running gear bag – especially for those who run during lunch at work and don’t have access to a shower – and harried SAHM’s who keep forgetting to get in one ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. I also almost always shower after a run (not so much after biking. . .) but I don’t wash my hair except for when I swim. If I washed my hair every time I showered it would be a giant frizz ball. . .I mean more than it is already.

      1. When I used to run at lunch I’d always do a full shower in the am before work and then just rinse off after the lunch run w/o the hair wash. My hair would be straw if I washed it 2x a day!

      2. Me too, no way could I wash my hair in every shower… not only because it would take forever but because it also would be even more of a dried-out frizz ball! I do what Salty described, when I run at lunch I do a quick shower with no hair wash.

  4. I’m usually hot after a run for quite a while (being more, well, insulated, than most runners) so minimally I need 30 minutes after a run to cool off before I shower, or I just keep sweating through it. Even so, most of the time I just change into “work clothes” for doing housework or whatever, and my shower comes in the afternoon (unless I have to go somewhere, then I shower before I leave). I also like showering in the afternoon (or whenever my heavy work gets done) because I like going to bed clean and rolling out of bed able to go somewhere with very little effort if I need to.

    1. That same thing happens to me when I do a hard run on the treadmill. That’s the one time I get really sweaty and even if I shower, I’ll keep on sweating for a while!

  5. I always shower post-run (and post stretch, so I can cool down first). On days when I run doubles, I sometimes shower but do not wash my hair in the evening, knowing that I will wash it the following morning before going to work.

  6. Shower often and Shower in scolding hot water! That is my plan. Though with my greatly reduced sweating in the last six months, my recent experiments with doubles included a lot of skipped evening showers after those runs. Extra tip: surgical scrub, which is the US is Hibiclens brand 4% chlorhexidine gluconate scrub, stops the smelling by killing bacteria in a way your antibacterial hand soap could only dream about.

      1. you’ll want a foaming pump bottle of it, like this: (or you can buy a separate foaming pump)

        Then buy large bottles and refill it.

        Read the amazon reviews. Incredible stuff.

        There are other ways to buy chlorhexidine gluconate, usually sold by the gallon as a dog or horse wash. The other formulations don’t have surficants (the thing that makes soap foam), so they won’t be like soap.

  7. I guess I’m the gross one here because I definitely don’t shower after every run. I’m a morning shower person; I need it to help wake me up. And sometimes I run late at night. I justify the lack of late-night showering with the fact that I am going to be showering in a few hours, so I just take a damp cloth and clean up the sweatiest bits. I know it’s gross, but I don’t want to waste the water or give up my precious morning shower.

    1. I’m with you, Juniper! And I don’t think it’s gross at all. I honestly only shower right after a run if I have somewhere to be. I often run-commute to work and go an entire day without showering until I get home, but my work tends to make me sweater than running does. Not sure if that’s a benefit or a drawback, but it sure makes commuting a convenient way to log miles.

      I’m a terrible wallower when it comes to my running clothes; after a long run I’ll come home and make dinner and stretch and then hang out and edit SR posts and ice my hip and run to the store and pick up my laundry and then come home and hang out some more, all before even taking off my running clothes, much less taking a shower!

      1. I do the same thing! I call it “wallowing in my own filth.” ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes I don’t even have the time (or motivation) to change, let alone shower. When I get back from a run, I usually stretch/roll out then get distracted by something else (making dinner, writing, packing my lunch, watching The Mindy Project, etc.).

      2. Oh yes, when I worked in a rock climbing gym a couple of years ago I would run on my lunch break and never showered afterward (there was no time and I had no inclination). I figured I would get just as sweaty route-setting and climbing and teaching and so there was no point : ) Now that I have an office job, being sweaty just isn’t quite as acceptable. . .

  8. I always shower, but the real question for me is, do I wash my hair? And that answer is… Rarely. No matter how sweaty I get!

  9. I usually shower after a run, but the time between run finish and shower can vary greatly. The first I have to do when done is take off my wet bra and shirt. I get so cold after I cool down. Sometimes I shower right away, and other times, I wait. Sometimes I wash my hair, and sometimes I don’t. Fortunately, I have a husband who does the same. And, I am also fortunate that I work with a bunch of runners, so sitting around for a bit after a mid-day run without showering for a bit is acceptable. (We do have a shower at the office).

    If I’m in a time crunch or just feeling lazy, I firmly believe in the perfume and/or baby wipe shower! Especially if I am running late to a meeting– no pun intended!

  10. I shower after running. I sweat heavily, even in cold weather and I’m self-conscious about being odiferous. I pretty much always run first thing in the morning, so showering is the logical next step anyway.

    We have a mile-long track next to our building and I’d like to try lunch runs, but I don’t quite believe that wipes will actually work. I will need to try it some time.

  11. I always shower! Probably excessively…it’s not uncommon for me to shower in the morning, run in the evening, shower again after running, and then shower yet again the next morning. I might be personally responsible for the drought. ๐Ÿ™

  12. It depends on 1. How much I sweat 2. The time of the day 3. What I’m going to do later

    If I ran in the morning and I am planning on doing something active outdoors where I might sweat again, I’ll put off showering.

  13. If I’m going to work, I always shower. Otherwise, depends on how sweaty I got and how much time I have to sit around and cool down/dry out. I wash my hair maybe twice a week so that means my showers can be very short if needed (but I do loooooooooove a long shower).

  14. I am a shower-a-holic. If my schedule allows, I even shower before I go to a race. I’m a freak about having clean smelling hair and a small amount of oil bothers me. I have really long hair and usually have it thrown up in a bun or pony, but it always has to be super clean. I know it’s probably dry because of this, but it hasn’t been uncommon for me to wash it twice per day, especially in the hot summer days! I’m not a huge sweater so I could probably go without a shower after a run, but I really would prefer not! Now that I have an infant, leisurely, hot showers aren’t really in the regime anymore and once he becomes mobile (any day now), it might be a game changer. I’m intrigued by the dry shampoo!

  15. I have to shower after runs. I get really sweaty and plus it’s Florida so I’m already battling against humidity and swamp-ass as is. At the very least I have to rinse off and slap some soap at the body parts with the most potential for stank.

    However, I do not always wash my hair. I wash my hair about three times a week. The rest of the time, it’s up in a bun (and I second/third/fourth the praises of dry shampoo – that stuff changed my life).

  16. I love that there are other people out there that are gross like me!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I work in an office so I would never go to work post-run without a shower. But if I run during lunch, I just do a super quick shower and don’t wash my hair… and when I run on weekends or after work, I can totally be a “wallower” as Cinnamon described above, not changing out of my running clothes until I go to bed! I do prefer to shower at night (like someone else said, I like going to bed clean) but sometimes I’m super tired and it just doesn’t happen until the next morning. And I don’t even have kids as an excuse, LOL ๐Ÿ™‚ And I have super thick, long, wavy/frizzy hair, so I usually only wash it every other day regardless of run schedule. I do wash it more in the summer… triple digit temps make for some pretty sweaty hair!