I wanted to write a post to incite some discussion on reader’s preferences for running hydration. Do you use anything while running? If so, do you like a handheld bottle? A bladder style pack? A waistbelt?
Up until this year, the only time I ever carried hydration was on longer training runs, and I used a waist belt with 2 small flasks. I found this was enough fluid, but never really got comfortable with the belt.
This past winter I picked up a handheld bottle that was on sale thinking it might come in handy this summer. At the time I couldn’t really imagine running with something as heavy as a full water bottle in my hand. I found that I really liked the handheld for certain running situations – medium to long runs where I was aiming for a slower, moderate pace. I liked that it reminded me to drink and gave me somewhere handy to keep a car key and gel.
I also tried running with two different styles of packs in the past couple of months (see my Gear Reviews for my feedback on the 2 Salomon packs I have tested). Again, at first I really couldn’t imagine running with a pack. I expected it to be very uncomfortable, and thought it would make a normal stride difficult, especially with a litre or more of water in it. I gave it a try and found it to be quite comfortable. Of course, this was also on long runs where I wasn’t planning on setting a super high pace. I have even used my larger pack to run to work with my lunch and a few other things on my back and found it to be quite manageable.
I am comfortable with both a handheld and a pack, and use both interchangeably. On shorter trail runs I will bring the handheld, while for longer runs I use the pack. I definitely prefer both of these to the waistbelt flask carrier that I have used, although I’m interested in trying some of the newer brands to see what they are like.
My advice to people that don’t currently use anything, or are new to trail running, would be to try and get your hands on a couple of options and see what you like. You might be surprised with just how comfortable these things are. I know I was.
How about you – what do you prefer? Do you use the same hydration in training and racing? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section.