You finish your long run, step in the shower and feel the sting of the hot water on your skin. You forgot your sunscreen again. It was cloudy when you left for your run but as the blue sky appeared and sweat began dripping down your face as you ran you were left unprotected from the sun. You are sunburned. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation,” Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people.” (Source).
It’s easy to head out for a run without taking measures to protect yourself from the sun. In the long run this is not a good idea as you are leaving your skin vulnerable to the damaging rays of the sun. Athletes are at a high risk from the sun because they have prolonged exposure to the sun.
How many times have you run out the door and skipped putting on the sunscreen or taking measures to protect yourself from the sun? I have to admit that I am guilty of this on more occasions than I care to count. Having always participated in outdoor sports, field hockey, lacrosse, crew, and now running and triathlon there have been many days when I could have taken more safety precautions to protect my skin and eyes from the sun. My excuses for not doing a better job are poor: “I was running late so didn’t have time to put on sunscreen or to grab a hat,” or “I forgot” or the excuse of, “I didn’t want to wear a hat.”
Sun Safety Tips
Here are some sun safety tips to help you to better protect your skin and eyes:
- Exercise during the morning or late afternoon hours.
- Always wear a hat or visor.
- Wear long sleeves if the weather is cool enough (choosing moisture wicking materials can be a great option). Arm sleeves are another great option and they can easily be removed when you get too hot.
- Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen! (Check out my post: The Importance of Sunscreen for Runners and Athletes.)
- Bring a sunscreen wipe in your pocket, running belt or in your bike jersey for re-application.
- Choose water and sweat resistant sunscreens.
- Use broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Choose shaded paths and roads to train on to avoid direct sunlight.
- Select clothing made from fabrics that have a UPF.
More Sun Safety and Summer Running Tips
For more sun safety tips and tips for summer running find out what these bloggers have to say:
- Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs says, “I usually use Kinesys or Coola Sunscreens. I love that they are light and can be sprayed on. Having a sunburn can reduce your body’s ability to rid itself of heat, so the consistent use of sunscreen serves multiple purposes.” Find out more about what she has to say in her post: Smart Summer Running: 8 Tips to Keep You Strong, Healthy, and Hydrated
- Linda from The Accidental Marathoner says, “Don’t forget to protect your eyes! The sun’s UV rays can be harmful to the eyes, and may even cause cataracts and macular degeneration over time. Sunglasses not only protect the eye itself, but also the eyelids and the skin around the eye, which tends to be more delicate.”
- Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner says, “I really have come to love Headsweats visors (especially the Moms Run This Town ones), they are a great first step towards sun protection and rain too. You can also read her tips about the importance of wearing sunglasses in her post, “Your Eyes and the Sun-National Sunglasses Day.”
- Holly from Pink Fortitude reminds us about the importance of choosing the right sunscreen considering the safety of sunscreen: Is your sunscreen causing skin cancer instead of preventing it?.
- Nat from Nat Runs Far reminds us to, “wear polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.”
- In addition to tips about protecting yourself from the sun Ilka shares her best tips for running in the heat.
- Suz from SuzLyfe suggest that, “You want highly breathable, moisture wicking, light colored pieces of clothing that are loose to the body and, if possible, contain some sort of SPF factor for running in hot weather.
What are your best sun safety tips? Do you have a favorite hat, visor, pair of sunglasses, or sunscreen that you can recommend?