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Marathon training: Ways to Live SunSmart while on the run


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A study from dermatologists at the Medical University of Graz in Austria found that marathoners have an increased risk of developing melanoma. Frustrating, right? Running is good for the health of your heart and lungs, but not so much for your skin. Fortunately, there is no need to throw those running shoes in the closet. Here at Live SunSmart, we are committed to teaching you practical sun safety. We want you to enjoy the outdoors and stay active. We just want to make sure you have the knowledge and tools to be SunSmart while you do it.

The following are sun protection tips that will keep your training schedule on track and reduce your risk for skin cancer. 

  • Run in the morning - The American Council on Exercise in San Diego found that in terms of performing a consistent exercise habit, individuals who exercise in the morning tend to do better. Good for your skin and your training schedule The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so it is best to minimize long exposure during this time.  
  • Use sunscreen everyday – You need to use SPF even when it is cloudy. Up to 80% of the UV rays that cause sun damage penetrate clouds.
  • Use the right sunscreen – When out running, you should be using at least an SPF 30, but SPF isn’t all you should look for. That number gauges how well a sunscreen fends off UVB light, but not UVA rays. To ensure your sunscreen protects against both, scan the label for the word broad spectrum and more than one of the following ingredients: avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Mexoryl, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. (Hint: Write a note about these ingredients in your phone so you don’t forget when you go shopping.)
  • Use enough sunscreen – Most people do not use enough sunscreen. Apply liberally and under clothes. The average white cotton t-shirt provides only SPF of 10 or less. If you are outside for more than two hours, bring your sunscreen with you and reapply.
  • Cover up – We know it gets hot when running, but cover up what you can. Wear a hat to protect your scalp, wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes and wear long sleeves or pants if you can bear it. Even better, look into getting clothing with UPF protection. UPF clothing has come a long way in the last few years. Today, there are plenty of stylish and practical options.
  • Use technology – If you love to have “an app for that” check out the Wolfram Sun Exposure Reference App app in the iTunes Store. It tells you how much SPF to use and how long you have before it wears off depending on your location, skin type, and your surroundings.

We know this all sounds like extra work, but it is worth changing your habits to protect your health. Keep sunscreen on hand and use it every day; soon it will just become a part of your daily routine.