Here Comes the Sun


By Megan Cox

As this mama of two little ones puts herself through the paces and has started the hard work of preparing for a half marathon, she’s had to learn (and relearn) all kinds of things about training for a road race.

Between conditioning muscles, eating right, and picking the perfect training plan, I’ve had quite a bit of homework. And that’s wedged into playdates, nap times, and watching The Muppet Movie at least once a day.

Waka waka waka.

Anyway, one of the things that’s starting to really hit home now that I’m in my thirties is the subject of skin care. Runners are outside. A lot. Long distance runners are outside even more than that.

So it’s no surprise that I am candidate numero uno when it comes to sun-damaged skin. And as someone whose body has refused to understand the meaning of tanning, sun means freckle explosion. That means I’m super sensitive. Yay for me.

That’s why I, and pretty much any runner, need to keep sun protection a high priority. It’s not only about protecting against skin cancer; slathering on the white stuff goes a long way toward slowing the aging process.

That is, I am getting ready to fight the battle of me versus the wrinkles. And even though we know how that’s going to end, it doesn’t mean I can’t slow it down while also protecting myself from more harmful things, like UVA and UVB rays.

I checked out some sources to find out exactly what I should be slathering on my skin before hitting the pavement. My usual routine is some SPF 15 lotion on the face and an OU hat (Boomer Sooner!). But that’s not enough, and I know it.

Certainly I don’t want to negate the good health effects of running with bad ones. So what’s a good rule of thumb for the running guy or gal who gets more than the average exposure to sunshine?
According to a little research, here are a few things you shouldn’t step outside without.

Sunglasses

Make sure you’ve got ones that block those pesky UV rays.

Sunscreen

Slather on something that is at least 30 SPF, is waterproof, and blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

More sunscreen

How long do you plan to be out? If it’s more than two hours, you’ll need more sunscreen. This is an interesting time frame for us halfers—right on the line for some of the longer runs.

Long, light clothing

When possible, where lightweight, longsleeved shirts. Sure it’s nice to work on that tan (or in my case, that slightly uncomfortable-looking red color), but you don’t want to pay for it in spades.

If you need a little sun-protection inspiration, check out this article about someone who learned the hard way.

Besides, running makes our bodies look good, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of our skin! So it’s time to go hunt down the Banana Boat…

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

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