My training plan for the marathon instructs me to sip a drink during longer runs, but I am finding this easier said than done. Common advice says that runners should drink 5-10oz every 2-3 miles, but before I haven’t tended to drink on runs less than 15 miles, partly because I haven’t yet found a satisfactory way to carry all that fluid.
So what should a runner do? I vastly prefer the freedom of running without baggage, and in the past have tried planting bottles in strategic positions under bushes/between branches of a handy tree, but this isn’t always possible. In the actual marathon of course, there will be drinks stations, with water and isotonics on demand- If only I could have a team of volunteers waiting to hand me a cup on my training runs!
In the absence of a personal support crew, I have been thinking about investing in one of the various options available for keeping hydrated. The simplest (and cheapest) option is a waterbottle that comes with hand grips or straps to make it easier to hold. Keeping your drink in your hand makes it easier to swig on the move, and the kind with a hole in the middle for your hand is suprisingly comfortable to run with, but if you would rather have your hands free there are more technical accessories to splash out on. The main options are backpacks or bum-bags, sorry, I mean ‘hydration belts’. These come in various sizes to cater for different fluid needs, and can provide space for other useful bits and bobs such as nutrition bars, gel packs, or your phone. I find these can bounce around a lot and be quite annoying, but I’m told that if they fit your shape correctly this shouldn’t be such a problem, so it is worth testing out a few different kinds in the shop to find the best style for you.
The final and most pricey option is a Camelbak pouch. These are fluid reservoirs with tubes attached so that you can drink through a straw without having to struggle with bottles. Again, the pouches come in a range of sizes, and in waist-band designs or backpacks which sit between your shoulders. If fluid sloshing around in a bottle bothers you, as it does me, a reservoir might be the answer as theoretically they allow you to remove the air pockets so the liquid can’t splash around. Sounds good to me, unless there are any volunteers for my support crew?