Serena and Venus Williams seem to have no problems with long loose or beaded hair when they play tennis, though most of us watching wonder if they are going to put an eye out or suffer neck strain if they turn their heads too fast in one direction.
Human beings tend to put a lot of emphasis on hairstyle. Even men worry about whether their hair looks good, but sometimes how you wear your hair, while running or playing sports, can make a difference between comfort and irritation, and even winning or losing.
Swimmers wear swim caps for good reason, not to just keep chlorine out their hair, but to keep hair out of the eyes and mouth as they turn their head out of the water to breath. If you have ever had long hair and turned your face to breath and discovered your entire mouth and nose were encased in a thick layer of wet hair, or gotten your long hair stuck under your arm pit as you moved into your next stroke, you will know that long hair can actually be dangerous!
Runners tend to bob up and down a bit more and are never still. Sweaty hair drips and clings and let’s face it, head bands, no matter how stylish, are not something most people can pull off without looking retro unchique!
Running caps add a bit more style while still keeping sweat from dripping in the eyes, but if you are a woman with long hair, it can be uncomfortable putting your hair up in a cap.
Running caps are different from regular baseball caps. They tend to be lighter weight, sweat wicking, more elastic and flexible.
Running visors are a step cooler (literally and figuratively) than headbands and serve the same purpose.
Bandannas may work for some, but can give headaches if applied too tight and mark you with the biker clans, plus they are not as absorbent as newer materials. It is always a good idea to try a new head covering on before you run to make sure it will stay in place and do what you want it to do.
If you have long hair and don’t like caps or headbands, how you wear your hair can also factor in to the comfort of your run. While piling your hair on top of your head in a loose bun, may look stylish, as you run and your hair flops back and forth on your head, it can be irritating, like carrying a throw pillow on your head!
Ponytails are definitely the most popular form of keeping hair out of the face and contained, but loose fly-away hairs can be just as disturbing and can actually irritate the face, especially if they become sticky with sweat or you are constantly swiping at them and trying to tuck them out of the way.
Most women will have stray hairs in front. A good way to keep them in place is with a lightweight flat hair pin that will not pull or bounce, or braid the hair loosely along the brow line so it all stays tucked neatly in place.
If you want to know what is stylish and what looks good, join a running group and see what the professional runners wear. Most of them in Savannah wear the stylish Nike and Brooks running caps or nothing at all…on their heads that is!
Even if you wear a cap, you need to wear sun screen if you are going to be running after 10 a.m. Make sure you use a dry sports sun screen that won’t run in your eyes and mouth if you sweat.
If you have really long hair; mid back or longer, you may want to braid it or twist it back into a loop and tuck it in a pony tail holder so it does not slap you in the back as you run.
Be careful when trail running with long hair as it is easier than you would think to get your hair stuck in a low lying branch and if you are doing a cross country course or mud race, keeping your hair tucked up and out of the way is even more important.
How you wear your hair and if you wear a head covering is really up to you, but there are definitely some styles that just don’t work with running. A friend with an Afro used to joke that when she ran in the rain, the water would collect on top of her head and when she leaned forward it all came running off. You might also experience this if you run in the early morning fog and if you use hair products a little too liberally, having them stream down into your eyes is not a fun event!
The lower on your head your pony tail holder sits, the less likely it will pull on your scalp or irritate you by bouncing up and down, though some women like the feature of having their hair sway as they run, so again, the style you choose is up to you.
If you love your white terry cloth headband, it doesn’t matter who makes fun of you, but there’s nothing wrong with trying a new more modern style to see if it works for you. Still, keeping your hair contained and out of your face will make your run more enjoyable even if it won’t make you run faster.
With the Rock N Roll Marathon coming to Savannah in November, you will have the chance to try on new hat and headband styles and see what they look like on you and your friends at the big expo before the race, or visit Georgia Game Changers in Richmond Hill or Fleet Feet Sports in Savannah and they will advise what works best and what looks best on you!