Running Safely in the Sun

Now that it’s summer and the days are much longer (it doesn’t get dark until about 9:30 here in Indiana!) and the sun is stronger, it’s important to keep in mind a few tips to protect your skin and keep you running longer. Last summer was the first time I began running with a water bottle and while it did take a little to get used to holding something, I was so thankful for it — not only for the hydration, but also because it was great to dump on my head when I was hot!

So here are some no-brainers, but helpful reminders for what to do when running outside in the summer, even those early morning runs! (Some of these tips are from active.com.)

  • The higher the SPF the better. High SPFs in the range of 30 to 45 compensate for sweating, loss in water activities, and thin application.
  • Wear sunscreen on exposed skin even on cloudy days (UV radiation penetrates cloud cover) and year round-even in the winter. Remember your skin doesn’t know the difference — ultraviolet radiation is the same all year. There’s just more of it in the summer and at latitudes closer to the equator.
  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your scalp if you are bald or balding and to your ears if they’re exposed. That skin is vulnerable too.
  • Slop it on. Sunscreen should be used liberally and often.
  • Sunscreens are just part of your protection plan. Wear a hat. Don’t run shirtless. Many skin cancers show up on the back.
  • Avoid exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. And obviously, it’s also the hottest and most humid!
  • Choose shady areas to run.
  • Wear sunglasses that filter ultraviolet rays to protect the thin skin around your eyes.
  • Keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after long runs. Whether you carry a water bottle, wear a hydration belt, or run past water fountains, you need to keep fluids in you.
  • Run early and late to keep yourself from the hottest and most humid parts of the day.
  • Splitting a long run up so you do half the miles at night and the next half the next morning (or half in the morning, half at night) will still fatigue your body and prepare you for long races.

Basically, use common sense and keep yourself as hydrated and protected as possible!

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