Sun Exposure Tips For Triathletes

by Miguel Feuermann

Unless you decide to do an indoor triathlon (there are some), it is guaranteed that you will spend a large amount of time outdoors training and during the race itself. Depending on the triathlon distance you are training for, chances are you will be exposed to the sun rays for a minimum of 5 hours to upwards of 15 hours per week.

Should you be concerned? Yes!

Is there anything you can do? Yes!

With several years racing in the sport of triathlon from sprints to the Ironman distance, I take sunscreen seriously. As there are not so many secrets in our sport, I share a few that have worked for me.

1: Reapply. Again.

And again.


You need to get into the habit of reapplying approximately every couple of hours. Anything longer than this and your exposure increases as the time goes by.

Apply near the start of the race or training session. At transitions after the swim and the bike, reapply thoroughly. Both at the Canada and Melbourne Ironman races, they had sunscreen stations where attendants offered to  apply endless amounts of sunscreen for you!

2: Don’t Be Shy.

Ask for help.


Ask friends for assistance to apply sunscreen on hard-to-reach areas.

3: Think Clothing.

Prioritize protection.


Due to the nature of our sport, we sweat constantly, we play in the water, and are exposed to the wind. With this in mind, it is ever more critical to maintain adequate levels of protection.

Sun rays pass through clothing. More and more, sports wear manufacturers offer garments with a some UV protection. Something to consider.

4: More Is More.

Double up where you need it.


If you are like me, im quite exposed on my head. As such, I put on a nice layer of sunscreen on my scalp.

5: Wipe Your Hands.

Keep your grip dry.


Important for safety. Make sure to wipe your hands well after applying: you don’t want to get sunscreen on your handlebars as it will make your grip near impossible! Also, careful about getting it on your goggles as it will create a nice oily mess.

6: Bring Mini-Me.

Take sunscreen with you.


Take a mini tube with you for those periods where you plan to go longer than 2 hours so you can reapply while cycling (stopped on the side of the road) and while running.

If you plan to enjoy this beautiful sport for as long as you can, you’ll need to take care as much as possible. Everyone talks about training, coaches, equipment and nutrition. Sunscreen protection is right up on the list for me and a habit I pass down to my children. Get outdoors, get protected! #TriArmada

Chat with Miguel about endurance racing, juggling training with a career and family
— and even kids’ triathlons! —
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