- Jenn Gill
Chances are, throughout the course of the summer, 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. Deen a has had bouts with serious skin cancer year after year starting in 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 help protect yourself as you head outdoors for hot, sunny runs:
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 as you sweat. Be sure to put the sunblock everywhere - including what is under your shirt 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 that are prevalent in the DC area.
RUN EARLY or LATE. Try to schedule your runs 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 much 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 & GLASSES. Hats are a great way to protect your head and face from the sun, especially for those that have less or thinning hair. And sunglasses will help protect the delicate skin around your eyes, just be sure the lenses block out UVA and UVB rays.