Another weekend, another new long run. The schedule calls for a 7-miler, which will put me well over the 1-hour-run mark for two weeks in a row. And with a new long run comes a whole new set of issues to ponder, specifically nutrition and hydration. In the little bit of research I've done, it seems that the nutrition aspect--in the sense of consuming energy products during a run--can be put aside for now. Looks like quite a few runners don't bother with the gels, beans, etc. until they're in the double-digit miles or multi-hour runs. However, I don't think I can ignore the issue of hydration any longer.
Spring has sprung, as they say, and next week's high temps are projected to stay in the upper 50s to low 70s most of the week. BRING IT ON. However, the combination of warmer temps and longer runs means water is going to be a must-have on my long runs from now on.
I've asked some runner friends, polled the interwebs, talked to Mr. Google and...I'm still not sure what to do. I figure I've got a few options.
- Fuel Belt: Probably the best quality, most well designed option. Reviews are all positive, and my friend M says she's used hers with no issues. However, at this stage in my running life, it seems like overkill. Since I only have the half mary on the horizon, as far as long races go, will I really need it much after April? Granted, I don't plan to quit running so it could get more use as the season wears on and I'm forced to run in even hotter temps. And I assume that it will last for many years, so it's a buy-once option. An "investment." But cost is a factor--big time. At $30+, they aren't cheap. Can I justify the cost for what's essentially a water carrying device that I might wear only four times this year?
- Fanny-pack style: A little less runner-friendly, as I imagine there could be some flopping around of the whole pack/device unless you get a perfect fit. But bonus points for it having a little pocket to carry a cell phone, key, a bit of money, ID, etc. I don't really think I'll need multiple bottles for different types of fuel (I don't plan to carry energy drinks), so having space for one bottle is really all I think I need at this time. I could also potentially use it in non-running activities--at the zoo, outdoor festivals, regular walks, anytime when I want to have some liquid handy. One major drawback is that it's A FREAKIN' FANNY PACK! Cost is much more reasonable at $20 vs $30 for the fuel belt).
- Hand-held bottle holder: This is waaaay down on my list of options, simply because when I run, my hands get hot and swell and the thought of having to hold ANYTHING (even if it is strapped to my hand and not really being "held") makes me KEE-RAZY. But they must work for some folks, as I've gotten a few recommendations. One benefit is nothing around the waist that could increase chafing or flopping or anything annoying like that. Cost is even MORE reasonable ($12ish)
- The Stash-n-Dash: Leaving a bottle of water at some point on the route or in the car and doubling back halfway through for a quick drink break. Possible but unlikely. My routes usually start and end at home and don't often cover the same area twice in the same session. But it could work if I made it work. Cost: FREE.
So here I am, overwhelmed and confused. If I go for the fuel belt, will my husband kill me for spending $30+ on a stupid water bottle belt? Will all the "real" runners make fun of me for trying to be part of the cool crowd? Is it even really necessary? Do I try the fanny pack and hope the flopping isn't crazy annoying? I've pretty much written off the hand-held option as I know it will make me nutsoid. Am I overthinking all this stuff?? (Yes, probably.)
Tomorrow I'll make a trip to my local running store and seek the advice of the friendly folks there. They've never steered me wrong. Then I'll take my new purchase out for a 7-mile spin and see how it goes...and hope the store has a generous return policy if it all goes to hell.