Some of you who have been reading my blog for a while may have already come to realize that, up until recently, my preparedness for race training has been pretty amateur. I trained for my first marathon without ever wearing a running watch and without ever carrying water or fuel with me.
I drank water on my long runs of course, but I relied on the two water fountains along my out and back route for a total of four water short stops – even when I was running 20 miles.
I have always known that I could probably run better and faster if I hydrated and fueled more properly while running, but because I was never training with concern for pace in my first races and because I hated carrying excess stuff with me on my runs, I took advantage of the fact that somehow my body stores water and energy like a camel’s and just went without.
A few weeks ago I had to face the ramifications of my stubbornness when I went for a 10 mile run in the North Carolina humidity and found that the first water fountain on my route was not working. Instead of go the entire run without water, I ended up jogging/walking an extra mile or two more than I had intended just so I could make it to the second fountain before turning around and exhaustively running back to my car.
I came home and immediately (and begrudgingly) began searching the internet for a fuel belt that wouldn’t drive me completely insane.
I ended up settling on the Amphipod Full Tilt Airstretch Velocity. It had great reviews and I liked the idea of there only being one bottle and it being on my lower back instead of bouncing around at my side.
So far I have run with the belt twice and I am still struggling to adjust to it. The first time I wore it low around my hips but it was too loose and didn’t stay put. The second time I wore it tighter and higher up, close to my belly button, and it stayed in place but felt restrictive and uncomfortable. I am really hoping I’m able to get the fit right and get used to it in my next few long runs. Apparently Run Outlet only allows returns of unused products with all the tags still on and I really am not excited about the prospect of reinvesting money and trial runs into another belt. Boo.
As for the question of what to hydrate with, I have been doing some experimentation with that as well. I was lucky enough to win a four pack of cherry limeade Nuun from Run Far Girl. It is my first time trying Nuun and I am totally loving the taste (good flavor but not disgustingly sugary like Gatorade or other sports drinks), the added benefit of caffeine in this particular variety, and knowing that the electrolytes are really helping balance me out after I sweat so much. So far, I think I prefer having a cold glass of Nuun post-run instead of carrying it with me during runs. It gets really carbonated, foamy, and warm shaking around in my water bottle and, in general, water seems to taste better to me mid-run than anything else.
It’s all a work in progress! And maybe when I finally get hydration figured out I’ll experiment with fueling during runs. I’m sure that will inspire some interesting stories…
How do you carry fluids and fuel during your long runs – fuel belt, Camelback, nothing at all? What do you like to drink during your runs?