8 Sun Protection Tips for Runners

It’s the weekend and you’re almost ready for your run. You’ve put on your running shoes and prepared your playlist.

However, stepping into the sunny morning needs extra planning. Therefore, we’ve put together our top 8 sun protection tips for runners.

Let’s dive in!

Our Top 8 Sun Protection Tips for Runners

As you know, when someone spends too much time in the sun, they might suffer several health issues. These include:

Also, UV rays can have negative effects on the skin, having been linked to skin cancer.

Of course, as a runner, you should put your safety first and look for ways to protect your body from overexposure to sun rays. Luckily for you, the following list should include everything you can do in this regard.

1. Keep Track of the Weather

The first rule that any doctor would probably give you is to check the weather before heading outside. 

This will help you determine how much time you can spend outside until you need to get into your house.

Wondering how to do this? It’s as simple as downloading an app for your smartphone. 

Luckily for you, most weather forecast apps include this feature. They’ll provide you with data on the amount of time you’re allowed to spend in the sun based on the condition of the weather.

Also, smartwatches have made this easier. All you’ll need is a quick glance at your wrist and you’ll be able to figure it all out.

2. Never Forget Sunscreen

This tip goes without saying. Make sure that you apply sunscreen on your exposed skin before stepping outside your house.

It’s best that you put it on about 20 minutes before going on your run. Also, reapply it every two hours that you spend outside.

The majority of people tend to use sunscreen only on sunny days, which might not be the correct thing to do. Even on cloudy or rainy winter days, many harmful sun rays can reach your skin.

Therefore, don’t be tricked by the chilly weather and always put it on while running or jogging.

When you purchase a sunscreen, make sure it’s a water-resistant sports formula. This way, it shouldn’t run down your face the moment you start sweating.

We recommend Banana Boat. Good price, not oily and it works!

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Banana Boat Ultra Sport Reef Friendly Sunscreen Lotion, Broad Spectrum SPF 50, 12 Ounces
  • Clinically proven UVA/UVB protection : Broad spectrum protection protects you from UVA/UVB rays
  • Lightweight breathable formaula : Non greasy feel won't weigh you down
  • High performance Sunscreen : For active outdoor use

3. Pick the Perfect Time of the Day

Here’s another piece of advice when it comes to the weather. Common sense, and research for that matter, says not to go for a run at the peak of the day.

Instead, you can do the following.

  • Avoid the 3-5 hours around noon (here are the benefits of running in the AM)
  • Go for a run early in the morning
  • Schedule your run a couple of hours before sunset

This way, you’ll be steering clear of the harsh, direct sunlight.

Also, at these recommended times, the sun rays will be at their weakest. However, no matter what hour of the day it is, don’t forget to apply your sunscreen.

4. Never Run Shirtless

We understand the appeal. It can be pretty hot in the summer as it is. Imagine if you’re exerting your body and adding to the heat.

However, the more skin you cover, the safer you should be from the effects of sun rays.

You can invest in other types of clothing instead.

  • Wear lightweight cotton clothes
  • Go for tightly-woven garments to prevent a large percentage of UV rays from getting to your skin
  • Pair sleeveless shirts with sun-protective sleeves if you’re not ready to give up on them. 

5. ​Protect Your Face and Head


Naturally, sunscreen isn’t some magical treatment for everything sun-related. You can’t apply it everywhere. Therefore, you’ll need more protection for your scalp and the area that surrounds your eyes. 

Since your eyes are sensitive, some doctors don’t recommend 
using sunscreen around them. You should always make sure to pick a safe formula to use under your eyes.

For this reason, don't forget to wear a cap and shades on your run. These should pick where the sunscreen left off.

Using a cooling towel helps protect your neck and keeps you.. well you know COOL. Here are our two favorite

6. Water Is Your Best Friend

As we mentioned before, long exposure to the sun might lead to dehydration. Also, when you’ve been running for miles, your body will lose a lot of water due to your sweating. 

Either way, you’ll need to compensate for this lack of water in your system. Therefore, always remember to bring a water bottle on your runs and drink every time you rest.

Remember how we discussed the importance of applying sunscreen even on cold winter days? The same goes here. Remember to drink water even then.

This is because winter dehydration is a thing, too, although you might not sweat as much as you do in the summer. Running in the summer can really do a number on your body. Here are some additional summer running tips

7. Consider Using Lip Balm

At first glance, your lips might be the last thing on your mind when it comes to sun protection. However, they’re still prone to sunburn, too.

You can always use sunscreen on your lips, but most of us tend to forget about them when we apply sunscreen. Also, some people don’t like how it feels on their lips.

Therefore, you can pick a lip balm with SPF from your drugstore. You might need to try out several products until you find your favorite. I like Burt's Bees as it does not leave a flavor on my lips, it protects my lips and it flat out works. 

Burt's Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm, Pomegranate, 4 Tubes
  • LIP CARE: Renew your lips with Burt's Bees Moisturizing Pomegranate Lip Balm packed with antioxidant-rich Pomegranate Oil that moisturizes and gives a hint of color
  • MOISTURIZER: Hydrate and sooth dry lips with Beeswax and powerful fruit extracts packed into every tube of Burt's Bees lip balm
  • SMOOTH LIP BALM: Just one swipe of this conditioning lip care leaves your lips smooth and refreshed all day long

8. Pick the Right Location

Our last tip is to give up on streets or roads with no shade. Instead, you can look for paths that might provide enough coverage from the sun.

You can even choose forest trails. These tend to be a favorite of many runners, and the canopy overhead can provide the right protection from the sun.

Also, being surrounded by greenery and nature can lift your spirits and pump you up.

In Conclusion

Many people prefer running as a sport, a hobby, or a way to work out their bodies. No matter what your perspective is, sun protection is one of the things you should keep in mind while running.

Hopefully, if you follow our 8 sun protection tips for runners, you should be ready for your next run!


Last update on 2020-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API