Friday, July 11, 2014

Relaxed Hair Care and Running

Recent 5K race with my friend Ashley
My passion for road running and racing sparked in 2007. I was struggling with depression and I truly believe that God used running to help save my physical and emotional health.

In 2007 I ran nearly every day and it didn’t matter much what my hair was doing. I knew nothing about hair care or that it was possible for me to have healthier hair. 

My hair was shoulder length, dry, and my ends were always splitting. I thought that’s just the way my hair grew.

In 2009 I met the man of my dreams and running took a back seat. I didn’t abandon it totally, but my weekly mileage decreased over time. I was focused on dating and of course looking attractive. I fell into the trap that many black women have fallen into.

I can’t run or exercise because of my hair.

So I rekindled my visits to the hair salon, slept pretty, and jumped through hoops not to perspire so that my style would last from one salon visit to the next.

In 2012 my drive to run again was strong. I missed competing in races and I wanted to do another half marathon.

But then something else happened in 2012…I started a hair journey! So there I was with two desires that seem to conflict each other. I wanted to run again and I wanted healthy hair.

What’s a lady with relaxed hair to do?!

At first I thought my only alternative was to transition to natural hair. Why? Well, every other African American woman seemed to be doing it.

After marrying the man of my dreams, I joined a gym in my new hometown. Now that I was living in a predominantly African American community, it was hard not to notice the trend of natural hair. This was especially the case at the gym.

I saw women running hard, pumping iron, and aerobicizing it up in their natural curls. I was guessing that their routine was exercise, sweat, wash, and go. Natural hair and running sounded like a match made in Heaven. But there was one problem....

I really enjoy having relaxed hair. Right now I do not want to transition. That time will come, but it isn't now.

Today, I am happy to say that my hair is healthier than it has ever been before and I am running at least 50 miles a month. Yes, I ran more miles back in the day, but I’m a wife now and pursuing other passions as well. Thus, I am very happy with my 50 mile average.

Here is a short synopsis of my relaxed hair care regimen with regards to running.

~Before my run I apply a moisturizer to my hair. I then spray on a heat protectant and finger comb it into a high bun. The heat protectant protects my hair from the sun’s rays. This is only takes a few minutes for me to do.

~If I am away from home, I carry a separate small jar of my Elasta QP, the travel size of Silk Elements Olive Oil heat protectant, and hair ties in my gym bag.

~After my run I walk to cool down and loosen my bun. My hair is not dried out from the sun or my perspiration. Oh how I love Elasta QP!

~When I get home I completely take my bun down, apply coconut oil for my pre-poo, and start dinner. Lol

~ Next, I cleanse, deep condition, rinse, and air dry during dinner and family time. If it is a weekday wash I’ll proceed to do a protective or low manipulation style.

~A weekend day is usually my full wash day. I try to schedule my long runs on those days because I know I will have plenty of time to pamper my hair afterwards. Ninety percent of the time I roller set my hair and wear it out for the weekend.

~ On cold days or days I do a short run, I don’t perspire much. I take my bun down and let my scalp breathe. I then restyle my hair and tie it up for the evening.

I cleanse my hair 2 to 3 times a week and deep condition at least twice. It sounds like a lot but this routine is now just a part of my life. Also I choose styles that are easy to create and manage.

This running hair regimen is helping me keep my hair well conditioned and it is still getting thicker, which is my number one hair goal. Adding coconut oil to my prepoos and deep conditioners is aiding big time in making my hair strong and easy to manage.

I hope this helps anyone who feels that their relaxed hair is holding them back from being physically fit. To compromise health for a particular hairstyle of any kind is just crazy ladies. Let’s not go there. ;)

If you have any questions or comments, just leave them down below!




  1. Hi Candra, I wrote a comment and clicked submit and think it vanished. :-( In the event that it did, let me paraphrase what I said previously. God is awesome that you beat depression, find your passion and the man of your dreams. I too work out and sweat horrible! It's not easy to deal with but I make it work.

    1. Thank you Jay! It took some time, but God has made my life much brighter. :) ...and this hair journey is more icing on the cake. I have some frustrating days but overall this journey has been so educational and so much fun.

  2. Amen! Through God all things are possible as you & I know. Keep having fun as that's what it suppose to be about. However, the frustrating days kinda overshadow the fun days.