Everyone knows a good run largely depends on wearing the right shoes.
But, did you know running sunglasses can have a significant impact as well?
Sunglasses help runners relax and protect them from many different conditions on the trails.
They transform the entire experience for you, making it more enjoyable to meet any of your training goals.
Don’t believe us?
Let’s take a close look at the ways running sunglasses can change your life as an athlete.
Discover the Benefits of Running Relaxed
It’s a shame to go for a run on a beautiful sunny day only to be squinting the entire time.
The most noticeable downside of this is not being able to see where you’re going or missing out on the views of your favorite trail.
Take a moment to consider how the rest of your body reacts, though.
When you squint, you’re tensing up the muscles in your face.
This can cause you to tighten up in other areas like the neck, shoulders, and hands. Suddenly, you’ve gone from a perfect training opportunity to a stiff, uncomfortable run.
Beyond the irritation that’s sure to pop up, you’re missing out on all these other benefits of a relaxed run.
Relaxing your body as you run allows you to focus on your stride.
This is valuable considering a good stride can determine your pace.
Over time, it should start to feel effortless and natural. This means you can enjoy your run much more, and reach your goal faster, too.
Remember, running is an exertion of energy from the whole body. Although your stride is noticed in your legs and feet, running sunglasses can have a major impact.
Proper Form Protects the Body
Speaking of impact, a tense running form can do more harm than good.
Some areas of the body will absorb more shock than necessary, causing noticeable damage over time.
The areas most prone to this are the heels, knees, and lower back.
The less you relax, the more you risk an injury like runner’s knee, shin splints, or long-term back pain.
Protection from the Sun
As far as protection goes, running sunglasses for outdoor training is like sunscreen for a beach day.
It should be a no-brainer.
Otherwise, you risk exposing your eyes to long-term damage.
Here’s how it all works.
Different Kinds of Rays
Common knowledge of sun rays usually identifies them all as UV, or ultraviolet light.
Yet, UV light actually comes in three different forms.
These are the most harmful of all and can cause significant damage.
Historically, the ozone layer has protected us from these rays. This could change, though, as time goes on and the outer layer loses strength.
These have a mid-level strength, which is still reason for concern for eye damage.
These are what can cause a slight tan or a harsh burn on the skin. The eyes can experience sunburn as well and it looks like an inflamed cornea. Optometrists call this photokeratitis.
Symptoms of this include:
- Red eye
- Gritty, dry feeling in the eye
- An unusual amount of tearing
- Strong sensitivity to light
UVB ray exposure over time can also lead to cataracts or growths on the eyes.
These are aesthetically unpleasing to look at, but even worse for the person enduring them. Vision becomes blurred or distorted, making it hard to complete simple tasks or get around.
These are the lowest on the UV scale, but still strong enough to create eye problems.
UVA rays also lead to cataracts and can damage the cornea directly. At times, they go as far as to reach the retina and cause permanent damage.
Other Weather Conditions to Endure
With the risks of different UV rays in mind, it’s not hard to see the value of wearing running sunglasses.
But, these can protect you from even more conditions on a run.
Sunglasses keep pollen and dust particles from getting in your eyes.
These make you squint just as much as bright light can, and have their own set of risks. If these particles get lodged in the eye socket, they can create infections or long-term irritations.
Protection from the elements can also be as simple as running in a light rainfall.
In this case, sunglasses help you to better see your surroundings and watch out for any dangers ahead.
How to Choose the Right Pair of Running Sunglasses
It’s one thing to understand the value of sunglasses for a run, but it’s another to buy the right pair!
Look for these features when shopping for your new running sunglasses.
Opt for Wraparound Lens
You know all those UV risks we just mentioned?
They can creep in through the sides of your shades without a wraparound lens.
Make sure you’re protected from all angles and try to find a pair like this you approve of. There are many in the market, and it pays to choose protection and comfort over style.
Check the Lens Strength
Protection isn’t just about coverage, though.
Check your running sunglasses of choice for a sticker or tag that mentions their UV strength. Some will offer 100% protection from UVA and UVB rays, while others may only be 80% or 50%.
If you run near water or snow, go for a polarized lens.
These tend to be a bit pricier, but they’re worth it to fight glare from the sun’s reflection.
Colors also play a role in the kind of protection you get.
Some shades are made for bright conditions while others work better in low-light or moderate areas. Others are made with depth perception in mind as well.
Complete Your Look: The Training Gear You Need for Your Next Triathlon
Your list of training essentials doesn’t stop at shoes and sunglasses.
To best prepare for an upcoming race, you need all the right gear from head to toe.
Click here to discover all the must-have accessories to stock up on.