I started wearing a water belt when I trained for my first marathon because I was training in the suburbs and there weren’t many water fountains along my routes. I decided to wear my water belt in my first marathon even though there were water stops because I liked to take small sips of water whenever I wanted versus depending on the water stops. I also didn’t like having to slow down and stop to drink in fear of my legs freezing up. For me, keeping movement was and is important.
All of my marathons pre-injury were run with my water belt….ironically with the exception of the Boston Marathon that was like 90 degrees out. My rational for that was that my goal was to finish and I knew I’d stop at whatever water stops to fully drink the water. After my injury, I started wearing a Camelbak–it was more convenient for holding my phone and fuel than the water belt, but many of the major marathons won’t hydration backpacks during the race for security reasons.
I’m currently switching back to a belt because I plan on carrying my water with me for Chicago Marathon and it will be important to train with my water. Wearing a water belt can be really uncomfortable and irritate your stomach, so I need to get used to that feeling again. The trouble with that is that I also like to carry my phone for purposes of meeting up with Dave after, safety and for if I want to snap a photo. In the past I used to carry my phone but since wearing my Camelbak, I find carrying my phone annoying. Most water belts don’t really accommodate water, fuel and a phone.
When I ran NYC marathon in 2017, I ended up wearing my water belt AND a little fanny pack with my phone in it. It worked, but wasn’t the most ideal. I may look into wearing an arm band with my phone to relieve some of the stress around my stomach–especially now that I have the iPhone X which is smaller than my 6s Plus. The bonus of wearing a water belt is that I can carry water and Nuun. I liked alternating drinking water and Nuun during NYC and found it helpful in replenishing electrolytes.
Thinking of trying a hydration belt? Here are a few tips that I recommend when giving a water belt a try:
Wear it for 10-15 minutes before run.
Fill up the bottles, load up your water belt and put it on before you head out for your run. Walk around a bit and get a few errands done around the house. Sometimes the water belt around your stomach/waist can irritate your stomach and make you have to go to the bathroom. It’s good to try to get that out of your system before you get out for your run!
Test it out on shorter runs.
Maybe you don’t need all the water you have for that 3 miler, but it might be good to test out wearing the belt fully loaded for a shorter run so your body can slowly get used to it versus wearing it right away for a double digit run. I’d recommend trying it out on a route that has bathrooms you know you can pop into if you.
Try putting the belt at different positions.
I like my belt higher up on my waist or sometimes I will even have higher up on my ribs. I see a lot of others who like the belt more on their hips. Test out a few different positions and see what works for you!
Do you prefer to run with your water? What’s your favorite hydration accessory?