I receive a good bit of email because my blog. And I LOVE it. The majority of letters that come in are about running or they are offering me large sums of money if I simply send them a small amount of harmless personal information. Please Mr. John Smith, Banker from Nigeria, my mother’s maiden name really is Partridge and my SSN is BR5-49-Ou812. I
want need my millions from Uncle Ed!
Sorry I digressed just a bit.
Most legit “running related” emails fall into two groups. Either the authors are telling me about their running success (LOVE IT) or they are asking me about races I’ve run or training questions. Equally love these…The questions tend to fall into three categories: How do I get started, Which shoes are best and Hydration. The first two are very person specific questions. I tend to answer those one-on-one. And by no means do I think I’m some expert, I freely offer whatever advice I can strictly as my lessons learned. Always seek the advice from a professional coach/doctor or someone alot smarter then me.
Recently I was asked, What is your opinion on hydration systems? Do you prefer vests, hand held water bottles, and/or waist straps.
My preference is the hand held water bottle, but that depends on the distance of my planned run/race, the separation of the aid stations and the weather conditions.
Distance: My go to set up is a hand held water bottle for anything 10 miles in length or greater for “normal” temperatures and humidity. Living in the Virginia Beach area, that means until mid to late June or early July then I tend to carry a hand held on just about every run. I’ve carried a hand held bottle for the majority of my running career and it feels like second nature to me. I hardly notice it to be honest, routinely switching it side to side to balance the muscle fatigue. I’ve carried my trusty hand held for 12 hour runs, 24 hour events, 50k, 50 mile, 100k and 100 miles races.
I’ve never used a waist belt/strap or a camel back type reservoir.
Separation of aid stations: I’ll stick with my hand held for the majority of races up to the marathon distance. Anything longer then then I begin to consider adding my ultra race vest. I run in a Ultimate Direction AK Ultra Race Vest. Once over the 26 miles threshold I analysis the distance between aid stations to help decide if I add the vest. If I’m running/racing on a looped course and the aid stations are 6 to 10 miles apart I’ll stick with my hand held. Greater then that or if the weather/terrain is a factor I’ll add the vest, not only for additional hydration but also for extra gear to fight off the cold, wet, and dark, but to also carry extra food stuffs.
Weather: As mentioned above the weather conditions both hot/humid or cold/wet all add into my thought process on determining my hydration plan for long runs or races.
Whatever your choice for hydration, ensure you have an ample supply of water, it better to carry a little to much and not need it then to be miles away from a water supply and run out.