Here’s why sun cream is so important:

First and foremost, if you’re taking part in the London Marathon tomorrow, good luck! And congratulations on all the hard work and training that you have done leading up to your 26.2 miles. You’ve probably been eating alllllll the carbs this week, maybe been for a few short runs or light training sessions and have prepped for your kit flat lay ready to post to Instagram. But, have you got your sun cream?

Last year’s marathon through the streets of London was the hottest on record with temperatures reaching 24 °C. That heat can be too much at the best of times, but when running 26.2 miles, that’s got to be hard and the sunshine can take its toll on your body. The weather forecast for tomorrow is set to be a lot cooler, but that doesn’t go to say you don’t need to SPF up, even if you’re just spectating. We spoke to Shamir Patel at Chemist 4 U to find out just how important applying sun cream is on a daily basis.

So, what exactly is SPF? “SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of how long a sunscreen will protect you from the UV rays given off by the sunlight”, Patel told us. “The numbers that follow an SPF show the number of times longer you can stay in the sun before the UV rays will penetrate your skin”. He explained that “if your skin begins to burn after five minutes of sun exposure, an SPF 15 should mean you have an hour and 15 minutes before the UV rays seep through”. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but unless you’re planning on finishing your marathon in approximately 75 minutes (easy, right?), then you may want to invest in a higher factor sun cream for the day, as you won’t want to keep topping up during the course of the run.

You might be thinking that sunscreen is the last thing on your priority list tomorrow, but really it should be right at the top – even if it’s not going to be particularly sunny.

I would absolutely recommend wearing SPF every day, whatever the weather.

Patel warns, and the damage it can cause to your skin just isn’t worth the risk and you wouldn’t want it to hinder your run or affect your body long-term. “Sun damage can cause premature ageing, issues with your skin’s condition and elasticity and the well-known one in extreme cases – cancer. Aside from the effects to your skin, burning in the sun can also cause issues such as heat exhaustion, dizziness, nausea and headaches”. You’re putting your body through enough by running 26.2 miles, don’t add any extra strain to it by not putting your SPF on first!

So you’re not actually running the marathon, but you are heading down to the streets of London to spectate and support. Many runners will be on the course for a fair few hours and so you might have taken it upon yourself to research pubs along the route so that you can pass some time. You’ve probably assumed that as the majority of your day will be spent inside that you don’t need any sun cream on, right? Wrong. “Your skin should actually be protected against the sun on a day in, day out basis – even if you’re indoors all day. UV rays can also enter rooms and penetrate windows, so don’t be fooled into thinking that if you’re inside for a large part of the day that you should be exempt from the rule”. It’s still so important to be protected at all times.

It’s been told that crossing the finish line of the London Marathon is one of the best feelings in the world, so don’t interrupt your experience by not protecting yourself properly. Take a look at some of our favourite SPF products below to set you up for an incredible day.

Good luck runners!