When I started running I knew nothing about fueling or hydrating. All I knew was from hiking: I like to have water handy. As I started my running journey I did not like being without water. Even 2 miles required me to drink. I kind of smile at the thought of it now. I’ve gone a long way. I’ve learned a lot about what my body can and can’t do. I also still have a lot to learn.
The Fanny Pack
When my husband realized I was taking running seriously (aka I signed up for a 5k). He got me a camelback hydration fanny pack.
Yes I know it’s not called a fanny pack on their website but that’s pretty much what it is isn’t it? When I think about myself training to run for a 5k with this around my waist in the park I just want to give myself a hug. I must have looked ridiculous. I even ran my next 5k with it. I was thankful for the water it provided but let me tell you: this is not made to run.
It’s bulky, I constantly had to adjust the straps, it would move around on my waist. After a few months I gave up. I decided that it was a great water option for day hikes (and it is) but not a running accessory.
The Hydration Belt
It was already working a lot better. Less water but also less bulkiness and movement. I loved that it still had a little pouch in which I could store keys, cell phone, running directions, etc. The two bottle options (and more can be added) allows to have water on one side and an energy drink in the other.
But… it still wasn’t doing it for me. My two main issues were that first the fuel belt still slides around my midsection. I don’t know if it’s designed for men and not women or maybe it needs some sort of sticky fabric but I don’t like having to slide it back to how I want it all the time. The second thing is that for the bottle to hold they have to clip it. I almost lost one during my first 12k and ended up holding it in my hand for the rest of the race because it was wet and I feared it wouldn’t hold. I also dropped them several time during training run because I wasn’t putting it back in right. So that was a bit frustrating.
The Handheld Bottle
After speaking with my brother-in-law (who happens to run marathons and sweat more than anyone I know) I decided to give a try to handheld water bottle. I got an Ultimate Direction bottle because it was on sale at my local outdoor gear store and I’ve just used it since. I love that it’s easily accessible. During the marathon it was also fairly easy to unscrew and refill at the aid stations. It does get smelly but I can throw the hand held attachment in the wash and hand wash the bottle itself. My phone barely fits in there but as long as it does and that I can put my keys there too I’m ok with it.
The only issue with the bottle I have is that it’s not insulated. As a result I can’t put too cold a water in there or my hand feel frozen. Any water does warm up faster due to my hand being in contact with it. However they are coming up more and more with insulated bottles or even a neoprene cover that fits all around the bottle to insulate it from the hand.
It can get heavy on your hand. Personally I switch hands from time to time and see it as an additional arm workout.
During a race with aid stations my hand-held water bottle is enough. During my long training runs (16 miles and above) I combined the hydration belt and the hand-held bottle to be self-sufficient. I was able to put iced water that way in the belt and have cooler water longer.
I yet have to try the hydration packs that go on your back. But I think that will wait until I put my legs into ultra running.
What are your favorite hydration devices. Pro and cons?