I don’t have the best hair. It’s fine, easily knotted, and despite years of trying, impossible to grow past my shoulders. Regardless, I’ve come to accept my hair and dare I say most days I think it looks pretty good. At least, I thought it looked pretty good until I went to my hairstylist a few months ago and she told me I was developing a bald spot in the back of my head. Say, what now?!
Turns out, while running may be great for your heart, lungs, muscles, and psyche what we do to our hair while running may wreak havoc on our locks. Let me explain. I wear my hair in a ponytail when I work out or when I run. I am not alone. According to a recent online RocktheRun poll, a whopping 70% of respondents said they also rock a ponytail while running. It keeps the hair out of our faces and off our necks. It looks cute. What could be the problem?
Pulling your hair into a ponytail does a few things. If you have fine hair, as I do, and even if you don’t, the pulling can cause breakage. This practice is especially true if you are a serial ponytail wearer. I am a victim of this one, for sure. You can also develop thinning and potentially a bald spot where your ponytail sits on your head.
Don’t despair! I have a fix! My hairdresser’s comments sent my into a tizzy, and I became determined to find a solution while also keeping my ponytail during my run. I just don’t like headbands and question whether they stay on anyone’s head because they never stay put on mine. My hair isn’t thick enough or long enough to rock a braid either so that was out.
So how did I fix the problem and still keep my pony? I’ll tell you.
My strategy was two-pronged: change my hair care routine to repair the damage I’d done and make my hair stronger and find a safe way to rock a ponytail.
Daily shampooing is not a great thing. Of course, sweating six days a week makes it tough to skip a wash. It was the hardest adjustment to make in my new routine but totally worth it, I promise. When you wash your hair with shampoo, you strip the natural oils from it, and that makes your hair weaker. Conversely, the conditioner helps to strength your ends and prevents damage. It took a couple of weeks to adjust to my new schedule, but now I love it!
New Haircare Routine
Day 1: No washing. Use dry shampoo.
Day 2: Rinse in the shower and apply conditioner to ends.
Day 3: In the morning wash out the conditioner and then shampoo with a strengthening shampoo
Once a week I use a coconut oil treatment in my hair or Moroccan oil hair mask. I usually do this the night before a wash. The coconut oil treatment is an easy kitchen beauty secret. Just apply unrefined coconut oil to your hair, concentrating on the ends. Wash out in the morning.
I added a daily vitamin that is supposed to strengthen my hair, and I take with my morning breakfast, just in case.
There are several options.
- Rotate where you place your ponytail from back to either side so it isn’t always sitting in the same spot. This method doesn’t
work for me because I don’t like to feel any hair on my neck when I run, but it might work for you so try it!
- If your hair is long enough and thick enough, try making a braid.
- Wear a hat and put your hair through the hole. I’ve found this strategy to be most helpful for me. It’s my go-to hairstyle for almost all my workouts.
- Take your hair out of the ponytail as soon as you are finished working out and don’t place it in the pony until you are ready to workout.
- Feel like a kid again and wear pigtails.
So how do I know my strategies are working? On a recent trip to my hairstylist, she commented that my hair felt thicker and looked better! I hadn’t told her of the changes I made until after that comment. Hooray!
How do you wear your hair when you run? Do you think you’ll change it up? Comment below!