How sunglasses can help your running performance
You may think sunglasses are a fashion accessory rather than a piece of running kit that can help performance. But as your running improves and you spend more time on your feet, you need to consider the extra exposure your eyes will have to the elements. So how you can protect them and get more out of your running? Check out the benefits a good pair of sunglasses can bring below…
They protect against ultraviolet radiation…
Ultraviolet (UV) protection is paramount for anyone spending a lot of time outdoors and runners are no different. UV exposure is damaging to the eyes in the same way that skin is damaged – wearing UV protective sunglasses is like sun block for your eyes. UV radiation from the sun can cause eye cancers, cataracts and ultimately loss of sight.
Seasons and time of day can affect the risk of UV. When the sun is low in the sky in winter or at the start or end of the day, light and UV rays can directly enter your eyes horizontally, which can be more damaging than when the sun is high above in the sky.
…and extreme changes in light
Light protection is different to UV protection as this protects your eyes from visible bright light that is not damaging like UV but causes stress and strain. This is what makes you squint and uses up energy and causes tiredness. Lens tints affect the amount of light that can enter your eyes and darker tints are better as light levels increase. The colour of a lens can also change your mood. Generally a red-tinted lens is better for road running, as contrast is increased giving better vision, as well as making you feel more powerful!
They shield dirt and debris
A good pair of sunglasses can offer you physical protection from dust, dirt, insects and pollen flying into your eyes as you run. Hay fever sufferers in particular need to keep dirt and pollen out of their eyes to avoid discomfort.
They help you to see!
If you need to wear glasses in everyday life, investing in some specially designed lightweight prescription running sunglasses that offer wrap-around protection is a good idea, as your usual pair may well be too heavy for running, or become uncomfortable or loose as you move around. If you wear contact lenses you can help prevent them from drying out by donning sunglasses over the top.
They prevent eye fatigue
We tend to squint even on overcast days as general light levels are still high, and this causes tension which can result in headaches and tight shoulders. Wind can makes the eyes stream with water as they try to stay moist (which is made worse by wearing contact lenses) and dry eyes can become incredibly painful.