Running in the Sun: Head to Toe

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Public Service Announcement: it’s Spring. And whether the weather is keeping up with the times or not, one thing is for sure, and that is March Madness is in full swing our days are getting longer. With longer days come longer periods of exposure to the sun. Sun protection is important, and we want you to be shielded. Properly, comfortably, and completely, from head to toe.

Head

  • Hat – The obvious choice for shielding your scalp from sun exposure and shade most of your face, depending on the position of the sun. Running hats also come with features like mesh panels, adjustable sizing, and moisture-wicking sweat bands to keep your head cool and comfortable.
  • Visor – For those of you cool enough to pull of the look, visors are awesome because they allow for better breathability than hats! Only downside would be that if you have an exposed part in your hair, your scalp may burn. Just ask a girl that played high school softball. My two french braids with a visor swag took a painful turn when my part got roasted. Painful would be an understatement.

Face

  • Sunscreen – Active sunscreens don’t run when you sweat and absorb into your skin quickly. They’re made for high-performance activity like running, so you know they will stand up to a long run without feeling greasy on your skin.
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    Sunglasses – Eye care is important and often overlooked while running in the sun. Prolonged eye exposure to the sun can lead to a damaged cornea and lens, the parts of your eye that filter UV light. This damage can lead to cataracts and melanoma! The amount of eye protection provided by a pair of sunglasses is impacted by lens color and light transmission percentage, so make sure your sunglasses come with UV protection and a preferred color tint.

  • Buff – Need something more to cover your face and neck? A buff could be the perfect solution, as it provides adjustable coverage with breathability and moisture-wicking properties. Buffs are ideal for ultrarunners who need additional sun and debris protection over their mouths and necks while they trek on the trails.

Torso

  • Sunscreen – I recommend putting sunscreen on before you get dressed. Cover everything, even areas that you think may see no sun, because this will ensure that gaps in your shirt will be properly protected. These are typically areas that are more sensitive than others (under arms, shoulders, chest, etc.), and a sunburn in an area where a hem may rub will cause painful chafing on a whole other level.
  • Top with UPF – Check the amount of UPF in your top. If your top doesn’t have a specified UPF rating, try and choose a top with a tighter weave, darker/brighter color, and fabric type with synthetic fibers that help to absorb UV rays.

Arms

  • Sunscreen – Make sure and get 360 degree coverage because your arms will usually go sleeveless on a hot day.
  • Arm Coolers & Sun Sleeves are an easy way to protect your arms, keep your temp moderated and maintain breathability. You don’t have to wear a long sleeve shirt – you can still rock that tank! With high levels of UPF, arm coolers give off a cooling sensation during activity, for added comfort.

Legs

  • Sunscreen – It bears repeating. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. You may discount how much sun exposure your legs get because they are partially shaded by your upper body while you run during the middle of the day. But don’t let this false feeling of security keep you from lathering on a layer of sunscreen.
  • Shorts with UPF – In the same way that having a shirt with a high UPF is important, shorts with a high UPF is a good idea too. Most shorts that offer a high UPF rating are built for trail running or ultra running, as these activities require a longer time in the sun, so more protection is needed.
  • Longer Shorts – A longer inseam length will provide you with greater coverage.
  • Calf Sleeves with UPF – There is a variety of features in calf sleeves: graduated compression and UPF protection to name a few. Finding a sleeve with a high UPF and you get extra coverage and UV protection for your lower legs without necessarily wearing pants. If you prefer a compressive sleeves as well, you might consider get both features in one garment.

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