"You should probably start wearing sunscreen."
My work husband, full of the snark as one would expect, did have a point - even if he was sort of wrong and I sort of didn't care. For a redhead, my skin has become an almost unbelievable shade of tan. I have lines from my Oiselle strappy bra and others from a mesh tank I got at JC Penney. There's an odd ombre look from shorts and then shorter shorts. My face has almost reached its threshold for tan, my nose almost permanently a pinkish red.
As if my sweat-drenched clothes weren't enough of a reminder, my glow is proof that summer has arrived. And though it's easy to remember to take care in winter - gloves, tights, hat - I find it equally easy to forget to take precautions in the summer. It's warm! I only need 5 seconds to get dressed! Let's go!
We all know that there's more to fair-weather runner that that. We should put some thought into getting ready for a workout - whether it's an easy 3-miler or a long run with some goal pace miles thrown in.
Here are my summer running essentials:
NAAWK sunscreen. Red hair, pale skin requires good sun protection, and my favorite is NAAWK. I fell in love with this brand when I ran Hood to Coast last year, and it got me through many brutal miles along the Oregon countryside. Its ingredient list is recognizable and natural, the smell is pleasant, it's not greasy and it doesn't burn your eyes when you sweat like a beast. It comes in SPF 30 and 50, in lotion and continuous spray - all of which I've used. The price is right, too, at $9.99 for 6 ounces.
A good hat. While sunscreen is a necessity to protect from harmful rays, I still like to wear a hat. It keeps the sun out of my eyes. And, as a girl with short hair that can't be pulled up, it keeps my mane tamed and out of my face. I'm particularly fond of my Saucony cap (similar here) that I got free with gift during an event at my local running store. It's comfortable, has a nice brim and doesn't fall off my head, thanks to an adjustable bungee cord.
NUUN Energy. On the best of summer runs, my face might feel a bit grainy. On the worst, I look like a salt rock on the bottom of the Dead Sea. There's no denying it - I'm a salty runner. It's why I rely on NUUN to power me through longer workouts and help me recover from all of them. I typically drink a glass before and after every summer run to keep my electrolyte balanced, and I will bring it with me on longs run for extra help. (I either wear a hydration pack or split my fuel belt bottles with water and Nuun.) I am particularly fond of the Energy line, if even for the placebo effect. It has caffeine for an extra kick and B vitamins can help athletes perform at higher levels (source). Oh, and it tastes good.
Hydration source. You have to have a way to drink that Nuun, right? I have tried out many a handheld and hydration system, and my favorites come from Nathan Sports. For single-digit runs, I like the QuickShot Plus. It's easy to hold and with an 10-ounce bottle, the weight of the liquid doesn't throw off my stride. Ten ounces not enough? The bottle can be filled at a park fountain with ease. For longer runs and now triathlon training, I favor the Intensity Vest. The bladder holds 2 liters of liquid, which is more than enough to carry you through the miles on the hottest of days. I like it, too, because it doesn't rub my birthin' hips the way a belt does.
PRO Compression low trainers. Sweat + friction = Gnarly blisters. As such, wearing the wrong sock can wreak havoc on the feet. It's paramount to find a pair that is designed for running, made with a wicking material and doesn't slide around. It's a bonus if my second toe doesn't poke through. And it doesn't with PRO Compression low trainers. While many might think of the company for its over-the-knee marathon sock, the low trainers are just as awesome. They hold tight to the feet, don't slip and come in fun colors. They also come up just a tad higher than some other running socks, keeping the back of the shoe from rubbing. And, at $25 for two pairs, it's not a bad price. Use code FUN to save 40 percent and get free shipping on the lavender version. That's $7.50 a pair, folks!
What are your summer running essentials?
Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Nuun and PRO Compression but I was not required nor even asked to write this post. All opinions are my own and no compensation was received.