Woman runs in the sun

Texas Summer Runners Must Mind the Heat, but Don’t Forget About the Sun

Texas summer runners know all about the heat. But where is all that heat is coming from? The scorching Texas sun. In addition to taking precautions against heat exhaustion, runners should take care to protect their skin against the sun’s rays.

Texas barbecue tastes great. But barbecued skin? Not so hot.

Experts disagree, but some studies indicate that runners may face a higher risk for skin cancer. Furthermore, anecdotal stories, like that of elite runner Deena Kastor, support this concern.

Even if you never develop skin cancer, baking in the summer sun does can cause premature aging, including wrinkles, sun spots and more.

However, for Texas summer runners who prefer a sweat bath to the dreaded treadmill, sun exposure becomes a fact of life.

For Texas Summer Runners, Timing is Key

With afternoon heat indexes currently soaring past 100, ┬ámost Texas summer runners know better than to head out at high noon. However, while morning and evening hours bring lower temperatures, they also bring higher humidity, which can interfere with your body’s ability to cool itself.

Nevertheless, these times of day offer a respite from the sun’s damaging rays. According to The Weather Channel, the sun reaches peak intensity from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. With a little experimentation, runners can find the “sweet spot” between peak sun exposure and the highest humidity.

Think Like an Aussie: Slip! Slop! Slap!

Even during morning and evening hours, Texas summer runners need protection from the sun’s rays.

Australia slip slop slap campaign imageSince wearing a full body suit likely holds little appeal, Texans would do well to heed some advice from down under. Australia has some of the highest rates of melanoma in the world. As a result, the government has created a public awareness campaign to combat this threat. The campaign urges children and adults alike to Slip (on a shirt) Slap (on some sunscreen) and Slap (on a hat) to protect themselves against the sun.

Consumer Reports provides advice on the best sunscreen products. However, whichever product you choose, be sure to reapply it frequently, since as a well-acclimated summer runner, you should by now be sweating early and often.

With just a few days before the first run in the World’s Toughest Challenge, the next post will explore what to expect when racing in the summer heat. In the meantime, keep your cool and keep on running!

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