8 Sun Protection Tips for Runners

Written By: Jeremy N

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

  1. Keep Track of the Weather

  2. Never Forget Sunscreen

  3. Pick the Perfect Time of Day

  4. Never Run Shirtless

  5. Protect You Face & Head

  6. Water is YOUR Best Friend

  7. Consider Using Lip Balm

  8. Pick the Right Location 

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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  • SUPERIOR ENDURANCE VS. SWEAT & WATER — From family fun to hardcore competition, Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen provides strong sun protection that stays on so you can play on
  • CLINICALLY PROVEN UVA/UVB PROTECTION — This SPF 50 broad spectrum sunscreen lotion protects skin from the sun's harmful UV rays
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, BREATHABLE FORMULA — Non-greasy feel won't weigh you down

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 Lip Balm - Pomegranate, Lip Moisturizer With Responsibly Sourced Beeswax, Tint-Free, Natural Origin Conditioning Lip Treatment, 4 Tubes, 0.15 oz.
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  • MOISTURIZED LIPS: Each balm is infused with responsibly sourced beeswax, nourishing oils and butter for a conditioning lip treatment that keeps your lips happy, healthy and juicy
  • TROPICAL FLAVOR: Delight the senses with a delicious pomegranate flavor that will encourage you to apply this flavored lip balm over and over again

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 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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