Runners spend many hours building up their lungs and hearts in search of that elusive PB. We eat healthy, try to train smartly and use all the vitamins and supplements to help us create leaner and meaner bodies. But one thing we all often forget, especially female runners wanting a bronzed look, is protecting our skin. By not applying sunscreen you are causing skin damage that might not show now or even in a year, but eventually it will come back to haunt you! – BY MICHELLE PIETERS
Spring has arrived and the sun’s rays get stronger with each passing running day. Many of us are starting to take advantage of the warmer weather after months of cold, but we often forget to protect our skin.
A new study at the Medical University of Graz in Austria has shown that marathon runners are at a higher risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The researchers studied 210 male and female marathoners aged between 19 and 71. It found that more runners had unusual moles, age spots and liver spots that resulted from sun damage. All of these are risk factors for melanoma. It was also found that the more kilometres the runners ran, the more skin lesions they had.
Many worsened the problem by neglecting sun protection, something a lot of South African female runners are guilty of as many women are after a sun-kissed look! The researcher also pointed to another factor in runners’ increased melanoma risk: depleted immunity from all the high-intensity exercise, which
may have left them more vulnerable to skin damage.
“While marathon running is perceived as healthy, suppressed immunity and sun damage are associated with medical risks. Runners must take greater precautions, above all choosing training and competition schedules with lower sun exposure, wearing adequate clothing and regularly using sweat-resistant, high-SPF sunscreens.”
Five Tips When Running in the Sun
Run when the sun is less intense. Generally it is strongest between 10am and 4pm.
Put sunscreen on about 20 minutes before you run. This will give it a chance to absorb. Choose sport- or
Run in a hat to protect your scalp and wear sunglasses. Not only does it add skin protection, it also protects your eyes from the harmful rays.
On long races such as marathons and ultras, leave sunscreen with your seconds so you can re-apply. Sunscreen starts to lose effectiveness at about the two-hour mark.
Wear sunscreen under your t-shirt or running vest. When your t-shirt is wet it loses some of its SPF. Even better, try to wear running gear with built-in sun protection.
Remember, you can get sunburnt in as little as 15 minutes, so don’t think if you go for a short run you don’t need sun protection!
(Additional information: Skin Cancer Foundation – www.skincancer.org)
GREAT GEAR FOR GIRLS
THIS MONTH’S PICK: CAPESTORM OPTIMUM VEST
If you are starting out in duathlon and don’t want to spend too much money on expensive gear, this is a great vest to start with. It assists your body with moisture management, it keeps you cool and of course, you will look great in the photographs! The exclusive Wick Dry fabric removes perspiration, keeping you dry on those hot hill climbs on the bike. It has a rear zip pocket to keep your energy gels safe, a front ventilation zip for when things heat up and mesh panels for increased ventilation. It is as comfy on the run as it is on the bike. All this is combined with styling and fit that will make you look like a worthy contender for the podium. Available from all CAPESTORM branches in blue and dark grey.
THIS MONTH WE TRIED:
August saw me trying my hand at my very first duathlon. And I can say I am definitely hooked! I participated in Event 4 of the Domestique Duathlon Series that was held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg. We started off with a 8.4km run twice around the track followed by a 37.8km cycle nine times around the track and finished off with a 4.2km once around the track! It was a tough course, but so much fun.
The nice thing about this specific duathlon series was that it was more relaxed and not as competitive as the big duathlon series countrywide, making it ideal for any novice. Other events on the day included a sprint duathlon, a kiddies duathlon (U/8), a mini duathlon and a youngsters duathlon (U/13), an ideal outing for the whole family.
The duathlon was a challenge and something every runner with some cycling experience should try. Not only will it make you a stronger runner, it will keep you motivated, excited about your sporting passion and best of all, you might also start dreaming of taking on
the Half Ironman!