It’s summer, and that means many things. Race season is in full gear. The Tour de France is going on. Vacations with the family are either taking away from or giving towards training time depending on who you are. And more than anything, the sun is out and it’s hot, Hot, HOT!
As the days get longer and the sun’s rays get more intense, take a second to protect yourself. Here’s 5 ways to make sure you’re fully protected from the sun.
1. Lather up!
This one is a no brainer. We were all told as children to lather up with sunscreen, but sadly, most of us still don’t. Sunscreen should be a mainstay in your sun protection arsenal. Use it every time you go out, even when it’s cloudy or “just a short run.” The sun’s rays can make it through those clouds to zap your skin and you may not notice until it’s too late. Check the label and use a good sunscreen that has UVA and UVB protection (aka: Broad Spectrum), but also know that recently the FDA pointed out that SPF’s over 50 may not actually add any more protection, so that SPF 100 is probably no more effective than your SPF 50. Also, don’t forget those often missed areas like your ears!
2. Re apply
The sunscreen you applied in the morning won’t last all day. The FDA recommends reapplying every 2 hours! It may be a hassle, but it’s worth it to avoid a painful burn from a long day in the saddle. You might want to get a travel container to put in your jersey pocket or saddle bag for that long ride you have planned, or you can even make your own by simply buying a travel liquid container and filling it from your big bottle. You might also make sure you have some with you in transition for those brick workouts. Your sunscreen may be water/sweat resistant, but some is likely to rub off when you pull off that wetsuit.
3. Wear your glasses
Ok, you got your sunscreen, but your skin isn’t the only area that needs protection. Your eyes are also in danger of being damaged by the sun. Sunglasses will not only help reduce glare and protect from road debris, but they will keep your eyes healthy and protect them from the wear and tear caused by the sun’s rays. Having a pair of tinted goggles is also a good idea for those open water swims!
4. Cover up!
Even with sunscreen it is a good idea to keep as much skin covered as practical. The temperature may be an obstacle here, but opting for sleeved shirts and jersey’s over sleeveless can add an extra layer of protection for those shoulders (which, let’s be honest, are not quite as conditioned to the sun as the rest of your arms… that’s right… we know you’re rocking a farmer’s tan!). A running hat or visor is also a good idea to add a bit of shade for your poor nose who’s sticking out in the sun more than your other body parts. Getting clothes with SPF protection is also a good investment too.
5. Keep cool
Now, hang with me here. I’m not just saying to stay out of the sun and you won’t get sunburnt (although… this will work… but kinda defeats the whole idea of exercising outside). Sunburn is not your only thing to be worried about in the sun. Dehydration and sun poisoning are both risks when being active outside on sunny summer days. Make sure you stay hydrated and take breaks if you start feeling overly warm or even dizzy. Interval workouts provide a natural break in your exercise to let your heart rate drop, drink some water or a sports drink to replenish electrolytes, and cool down before the next big set. On long endurance runs or rides, it is a good idea to break up the workout with a short rest on hot days. Another option is to simply do two workouts equaling your planned distance or even a bit longer to keep from being out in the sun too long all at once.
With these things in mind. I wish you all a great summer of training, soaking up the rays and getting your Vitamin D!