Are you a visiting Maui runner? A long time resident wondering why you aren’t recovering well from your workouts? Or maybe you aren’t making strides in your training? Here are a few tips to optimize your Maui running. Every runner’s body responds differently to the conditions in Hawaii, so these are simply general guidelines and things to keep in mind as you prepare for your next run on Maui. In upcoming “On the Run” posts, I’ll highlight some of the key factors to take into account and give some recommendations to help you enjoy your Maui running and training more!
Maui Running 101: Humidity
Step off the plane and feel like you walked into a sauna? Hop out of the shower, towel off and five minutes later you’re reaching for another towel? Yes, welcome to the warm humidity hug of Hawaii. The average annual humidity in Hawaii is about 68%. High humidity can make your breathing feel heavy, like you’re body isn’t able to cut through the thick air and process the oxygen as well. So what can you do about it? In response to the humidity, your body well sweat at a higher rate than normal. There isn’t much you can or should do about that- sweat is your body’s natural cooling source so by all means, let it do its thing! But what’s most important here is to make sure that you are replenishing the fluids and electrolytes that are lost in your sweat.
The distance or duration of your run will determine the timing and amount of water and electrolytes to take in. If your run is shorter than 60 minutes, you may or may not want to carry water with you- whether in a handheld, hydration belt, or stashed along the route if you’re so lucky and able to plan ahead. For runs over 60-75 minutes, I highly encourage water. I carry a handheld which is around 10oz and take sips every 5-10 minutes. For runs longer than 90 minutes, you will want to make sure you’re replenishing your electrolyte stores. To accomplish this, I carry food that includes electrolytes, the top three being potassium, magnesium and sodium, aka. plain old salt. Another option is an electrolyte drink. Again, you want to make sure that the drink contains the same primary electrolytes. I prefer food as I need the calories to fuel my longer runs but also because I feel the most refreshed with good ‘ol water. Pick the method that’s best for you.
After your run is a key time to make sure you replace all that you just sweated out. When I’m done, I make sure to have two bottles (at least 16oz) waiting for me- one of water and one of an electrolyte drink. While I’m stretching after my run, I drink these two bottles. Again, play around with the right amount for your body and sweat rate. (In a future post, I’ll write about how to test your sweat rate to help determine how much fluid to make sure you replace.) Depending on the duration and timing of your run, make sure to continue to drink water and possibly continue with an electrolyte drink to help your body recover easier and set yourself up better for your next run.
What are your methods to combat the humidity? Favorite electrolyte and hydration products to keep you running happy and strong?