Why You Should Never Run Without Sunglasses

This important piece of gear is often overlooked by runners

You wear sunglasses at the beach, while you drive and even while you’re just strolling down the street on a sunny day, and if you run outside on a regular basis there are a few reasons why you should never perform your workouts without a pair of shades.

Shielding your eyes from the sun will not only protect them from harmful UVB and UVA rays, but it will prevent you from squinting and furrowing up your face which will allow you to avoid creating extra tension in your body and allow you to run in a more relaxed state.

In addition to keeping your shoulders back and down, letting your arms hang loose (forearms should be just about parallel to the ground) and keeping your fists unclenched, running relaxed includes softening your face by making sure your brow is not furrowed, your eyes aren’t squinting and your jaw is not clenched. Avoiding all of these behaviors will allow you to run more calmly and comfortably.

“Great athletes aren’t straining their bodies with their minds. They’re just moving,” says Tara Stiles, a yoga guru and owner of Strala Yoga in New York City, “They do what they do with power, grace, fluidity.”

Learning to run relaxed is an important component of becoming a better, faster and overall stronger runner because if your muscles are tense while running your performance will suffer.

Running in a strained state with tight muscles will force you to expend more energy and hinder the fluid motion of your natural movement. Remaining relaxed will help you avoid injury, move more efficiently and it can even help improve your mental state, too.

An excerpt from the New York Road Runners’ blog explains:

“A general sense of relaxation can have a positive psychological effect on runners by promoting feelings of ease, comfort and control. It can also improve performance by saving the body's supply of oxygen for the muscles needed for the running motion. Releasing tension also allows the joints increased range of motion for fuller, more fluid movements.”

In addition to keeping your face relaxed by eliminating the need to squint, a good pair of sport sunglasses will also keep dirt, dust and pollen out of your eyes and maybe most importantly of all, help you be better able to see where you’re going.

Check out our round-up of The 12 Best Sports Sunglasses to find the pair that will work best for you.