How to Keep Sweat out of your Eyes while Running

Posted on Sep 23, 2009 under Running Tips | 7 Comments

I read an article on Runner’s World not too long ago (awesome magazine btw, really feel bad for neglecting it recently..) about running in the heat and how hot weather affect runners. An experiment was conducted where a runner ran an hour at 8:30 min/mile on consecutive days, one at 53 degree temperatures and the next at 90 degrees. “On the hot run, my heart rate, temperature, and sweat loss spiked to levels that diminish performance while increasing health risks” I can totally relate from a run just the other day and another reason why I prefer running at night.

The topic of this post is about the sweat loss that occurs during a run and how to avoid getting that sweat in your eyes, which always seems to burn for some reason. According to that same article, at 53 degree temperatures, the runner lost 27.05 ounces during that hour run. But at 90 degree temperatures, he lost 54.10 ounces. I just pictured a regular, 20 ounce bottle of Gatorade and was amazed that I lose 1-2 bottles of sweat, how crazy is that?! Anyways, as I have been increasing my mileage, I have noticed how often sweat will get in my eyes and burn, making it hard to see. I have to keep wiping the sweat out of my eyes throughout the run, which just gets annoying. So I posed the question on Twitter and DailyMile and got some great responses.

Bandana or Headband – lightweight and washable. You can tie it around your forehead or hold it during run and wipe when necessary.

I think I look like a gangster wearing one, and it can only absorb so much sweat.

Running Hat or Visor – Great for sun protection and usually has a band inside to help absorb sweat.

I never wear hats, so I probably wouldn’t be used to running with it.

black-do-rag

Do-Rag – Like a combination of a hat and bandana. Wick dry fabric, much better than cotton. “The extra materials flapping around at the back gives more surface area for sweat evaporation.”

Sweat Gutr – “Ultimate Sweatband” works well to divert sweat from your eyes.

  • Channels sweat from eyes
  • Never saturates, ie bandana
  • Ultra comfortable
  • Great with bike helmets
  • Built to last and easy to clean

chapstickvaseline-petroleum-jelly

Chapstick or Vaseline – Interesting strategy: rub a thin line of either above your eyes and it’s supposed to keep the sweat away. I’ve never tried it personally, but other runners can definitely vouch for its effectiveness.

What I Used to Stop Sweating

Bandana
So the first solution I tried was the bandana, since I already had one from a team building event that I participated in with my company. Aside from it being lime green color, I felt that I would look weird wearing one and you can see below as proof.

Bandana or Headband- lightweight, washable. Tie around forehead or hold during run and wipe when necessary.
I think I look like a gangster wearing one, and it can only absorb so much sweat.
Running Hat or Visor – Great for sun protection and usually has a band inside to help absorb sweat.
I never wear hats, so I probably wouldn’t be used to running with it.
Do-Rag – Like a combination of a hat and bandana. Wick dry fabric, much better than cotton. “The extra materials flapping around at the back gives more surface area for sweat evaporation.”
Sweat Gutr – “Ultimate Sweatband” works well to divert sweat from your eyes.
-Channels sweat from eyes
-Never saturates, ie bandana
-Ultra comfortable
-Great with bike helmets
-Built to last and easy to clean
Chapstick or Vaseline – Interesting strategy: rub a thin line of either above your eyes and it’s supposed to keep the sweat away. I’ve never tried it personally, but other runners can definitely vouch for its effectiveness.So the first solution I tried was the bandana, since I already had one from a team building event that I participated in with my company. Aside from it being lime green color, I felt that I would look weird wearing one and you can see below as proof.

green-bandana

But I have to admit that it worked out pretty well in keeping sweat out of my eyes. Most of the sweat was absorbed in the bandana, and it was pretty gross to actually take it off after my run to see and feel how soaked it was. But because it seemed fully soaked, I wonder what would happen if I had run another 5-10 miles. Would the banana be able to absorb any more or just give up and let loose on my face? I haven’t run into that situation, just yet.

sweat-gutr-fitting

Very helpful guide on how to wear the Sweat Gutr

Sweat Gutr
The only other solution I’ve tried is the Sweat Gutr, which I was kindly offered to test out and review. Some people have complained about it being uncomfortable to wear, but I don’t see why. It comes with three different sized elastic bands that varies depending on your head size. And there are Velcro straps that are adjustable as well. So if it is too tight, simply change the elastic band or adjust the Velcro. The first time I used the Sweat Gutr, I didn’t notice any sweat get near my eyes, with the exception with a few drops that would jump over the gutter part and hit my face while running. But overall, it did what it was supposed to do, channel sweat from the eyes. But something that I did notice, which probably isn’t that big of an issue is that since it doesn’t absorb any sweat, but just diverts it, it all goes somewhere else. So after that first run, my hair was a lot more soaked and my t-shirt was a lot heavier with sweat. I’m not going to go as far to say that the extra sweat slowed me down, but just an observation I found. In the end, the Sweat Gutr does what it claims to do, and I’ll definitely keep using it, in addition to the bandana.

Chapstick/Vaseline
The only other thing I wanted to try (but haven’t) was the chapstick, which seems like a good idea. Whenever I would put chapstick on my lips, I would always notice that does not wash off right away with water. So using it on your forehead to block sweat from crossing actually makes sense. When someone suggested using chapstick, I jokingly responded with, “Interesting tip. Now what if I only have cherry red chapstick? Going to definitely scare away the competition.” The only thing about using chapstick and rubbing it on your forehead is would you really want to use it on your lips afterwards? You’ll probably need a new one just for this situation, but still not a big deal price-wise.

So now, in addition to my running watch, Nike+ and heart rate monitor that I have to take with me on my runs, I have another piece of running gear to add to that list. That list is getting longer and longer as I get more and more into running, but MOST of these things are necessary to make running as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. We’ll see what is next to be added to that list.








7 Responses to “How to Keep Sweat out of your Eyes while Running”

  1. lindsay Says:

    chapstick/vaseline is very interesting! at least it’d go on clear? maybe not cherry though. i run with at hat but i still get eye-burn going on. it sucks! gonna give that chapstick trick a shot.

  2. ironmanlongrunr Says:

    I used bandanas for many years and can speak from experience, once they reach full saturation some sweat does start leaking through. some will be diverted and drip out the back of the bandana from the tail of the knot so it isn’t as bad as running without, but it is far from perfect on the longer runs especially in hotter weather.

  3. Anne Says:

    I’m a big fan of the Halo visor. Bought one a few years ago at an expo and use if often yearround (because, of course, it’s hot here yearround). Works really well and cleans up nicely in the wash.

  4. Philippe Says:

    I run in the tropics, and sweat pours off within the first 10 minutes of running. I have used bandannas, vaseline, Halo headbands and ordinary absorbent sweatbands. I have found that by far the most efficient are ardinanry towelling-sweatbands, which absorb all eh sweat which runs off your crown down towards your face – when it is saturated, you simply whip is off and squeeze it dry, and return it to your head, for another 10 or 15 minutes of absorbing, then repeat. Vaseline is OK but sweat if itchy on your forehead, so you have a tendency to wipe your forehead with your hand, and then smea the vaseline all over your forehead and hand – a mess ensues. Bandannas are OK by they heat your head up, not allowing evaporation ot occur, and Halo bands don;t really work like they say – there is too much furrowinging on one forehead.

  5. Shirley Says:

    I loved your article – it was some great information. I think you and your readers might be interested in another article I found, about Dry Eyes.

    http://Www.whatistheeye.wordpress.com

  6. cheap jordans Says:

    I think I look like a gangster wearing one, and it can only absorb so much sweat.

  7. Miguel Runner Says:

    Great article! I sweat too much and my eyes start burning which in turn causes my nose to start running! It looks like I’m having an allergy attack or something! LOL! A friend mentioned petroleum jelly on the forehead and I may just try that. I can totally see me “forgetting” that I have it on and wipe my forehead though. We’ll see…

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