The second worst sunburn I ever got was during the spring of my junior year as a student at Virginia Tech.  I wasn’t running, but I spent the day at the track volunteering at the Virginia Special Olympics Track and Field Games.  I was out in the sun the entire day – without sunscreen.

At the time, sunscreen was a relatively new product that I didn’t give a second thought.  In fact, it wasn’t until years later that I realized the importance of wearing sunscreen – after it was too late, and I’d unnecessarily over-exposed my skin to the damaging rays of the sun.


Runners take note: A recent study showed that marathon runners are at higher risk for melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. ~ Skin Cancer Foundation


As a long-distance runner, I’ve spent countless hours in the sun both during training runs and races.  Over the years I have made changes in my training to take care of my skin.  One of the biggest changes has been in running earlier.  Fortunately, I’m an early riser and enjoy bringing up the sun while on the running trail.


I’m often asked what sunscreen I recommend, so I recently asked my dermatologist what his current recommendations are (they change as new products come on the market).  For faces he recommends Tizo3 Solar Protection and for the body he recommends Vanicream Sport.  I had been using Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch for my face, and Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Spray for my body for several years and had good results with both.  The advantages of Tizo and Vanicream are that they don’t need to be applied 30 minutes in advance of going out into the sun. (Note: The blue links are affiliate links. Please see lower right sidebar for details.)

Applying sunscreen while getting dressed for my run has become as second nature as brushing my teeth.  Just in case I missed any spots when I applied my sunscreen earlier, I add a second layer of Neutrogena spray once I get out of my car and ready to run. 


So there you have it – what this once tanning goddess turned big-time skin cancer advocate does to stay as protected as possible when running in the sun.


  • Questions:
  • What time do you run?
  • Have you ever gotten a bad sunburn while out on a long run or hanging out at the pool, etc?
  • What are your tips for staying safe in the sun?