- Jenn Gill
Chances are some of your running will take place in the sun. There is little evidence that runners have a higher incidence of skin cancer, but as most athletes exercise outdoors, skin cancer cannot be ruled out.
Just ask United States Olympian Deena Kastor. Kastor has had bouts with serious skin cancer year after year since 2003. She just can't take chances in the sun anymore and lathers on the sunblock, trains in long sleeves (though she still races in singlets) and protects her face with a hat.
Here are some tips to protect yourself as you run in the sun:
WEAR SUNBLOCK: Wear at least SPF 30 or higher, especially if you're going to be in the sun for prolonged periods. Look for products that are made specifically for sports as they won't sting when you sweat. Be sure to put the sunblock everywhere, including what is under your shirts and shorts. Don't just apply it to exposed skin as clothing doesn't offer much in the way of UV protection. Don't forget your face, hands, ears and head. Even the part in your hair is susceptible to a burn.
SEEK SHADE: Wherever possible, try to do your runs in a shady area such as a tree-lined trail or even indoors on those high UV-index days.
RUN EARLY OR LATE: Try to schedule your runs for either before the sun comes up or after it goes down. Not only does this help protect you from the sun, but it is likely to be cooler as well. If this isn't possible, try to run before the sun is at its strongest - between 10am and 4pm.
WEAR A HAT AND SUNGLASSES: Hats are a great way to protect your head and face from the sun, especially for those of you that have thin or less hair. And sunglasses will help protect the delicate skin around your eyes, just be sure the lenses block out UVA and UVB rays.