Hawaii Health Alerts: 6 Ways to Stay Cool on Summer Runs

Beat the heat with these exercise tips.

Medically reviewed in February 2022

It’s well into summer! If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you can still enjoy longer, brighter days. But it’s warmer, too, with an average daily high temperature above 86 degrees in Honolulu. Whether you’re training for an organized race or simply want to be safe on your workouts, here are some tips to stay cool while running during the summer.

Protect yourself, but go light
Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher is an absolute must. Visors, shades and headbands can also be helpful in keeping the sun and sweat away from your eyes. Make sure it’s comfortable for you to wear and move. Choose running apparel that’s light in color, is lightweight and has vents.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Be sure to properly hydrate throughout the day. Experts recommend listening to your body and doing what works for you when drinking water. But an average of about a glass of water (8 ounces) each hour should do the trick.

Hydration during your run depends on how hot it is outside and how long you plan to run. If you’re running four miles or less, you may not need to bring anything with you. If you’re running longer than four miles, you may want to bring a hydration belt or small sports drink pack, especially if it’s humid.

Know before you go
Check the forecast at websites such as weather.com and take note of the Ultraviolet (UV) Index at the time you plan to run. The index provides a forecast of the expected risk of overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. For example, the Hawaii index estimates you’ll experience skin damage in less than 10 minutes at noon.

Start early or go late 
When the sun rises at 6 a.m., the temperature is about 70 degrees and will climb throughout the day. If possible, it’s best to avoid the sun’s vibrant rays and start your run a little before sunrise or sunset.

Mind your body
Pay attention to how you feel and adjust your pace based on weather conditions. A slower pace is normal when it’s hotter or humid. Instead of using your running app as your measurement tool, use perceived exertion and heart rate as your guide. Know when to slow down or call it quits.

Replenish and reflect
Rehydrate with water or a sports drink. Experts recommend drinking about two glasses of water for every pound lost during your run.

After you’ve cooled down, take time to look back on your run and how you felt during it. Make changes and adjust as necessary for next time. And remember to thank yourself for another great work-out!

This content originally appeared on Well-Being Hawaii.

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