A hydration belt and a fuel plan are two of the most important things runners need for a race. To quench their thirst, some runners go to silly extremes, like hiding water in shrubs along the race route. Their water bottles are often mistaken for trash and thrown away. Additionally, runners risk their bottles being tampered with or soiled. Relying on the next water stop is unpredictable. A water belt for running lets you drink WHAT you want WHEN you want it.
The Importance of Staying Hydrated
While running, a runner needs fluids to carry oxygen to their muscles. This provides their muscles with the fuel they need to continue working. If you consume too little during strenuous activity, especially in summer, you can easily strain your cardiovascular system. This increases the chance of a person getting a heat-related injury.
What some runners don’t know is that even the mildest form of dehydration has a negative effect on performance. Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body’s ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands. “Being more than two percent dehydrated in warm environments causes a decline in performance,” says Robert W. Kenefick, Ph.D., a physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.
The body uses perspiration to regulate its core temperature. A lack of fluids means that not enough sweat is available to allow the body to cool down. For optimum performance, athletes should drink at regular intervals before they feel thirsty. Thirst is an indication of dehydration, and athletes who remain hydrated do not get thirsty.
- Fueling up
Just drinking water is not always sufficient. A sports drink with carbs and electrolytes will replenish sodium and other important ions. For a tough race lasting more than 30 minutes, consider a sports drink instead of water to give you an energy kick at the end.
What to look for in a water belt for running:
- Easy to drink
A water belt for running should have bottles that are easy to drink on the fly, like having a quick-flow race cap for one-handed drinking. Other things to look out for in running water bottles are having a contoured grip, being BPA Free, and being dishwasher safe.
The water belt should hold the bottle securely to prevent bounce and be comfortable enough to prevent chafing. The better water belts are designed to contour to your body and use silicon grippers to prevent the belt from moving. For added convenience, a water running belt should have a quick draw holster to allow you to take out and put back bottles smoothly and easily. Some belts also use cord loops over the bottle caps to keep bottles secured and prevent them from falling out.
- Type of fabric
When considering buying a water belt for running, look for a material that is water resistant for sweat and light rain, like a neoprene belt. This fabric is designed to prevent moisture, such as sweat and light rain, from penetrating the belt. It is always recommended to put electronics in a plastic bag if you sweat excessively.
Consider whether you need two 6 oz. bottles, two 8 oz. bottles, or one 12 oz. bottle. Pick your water belt for racing based on the distance and weather conditions.
It’s extremely important to avoid dehydration. Even mild dehydration can make you feel sick and prevent you from making it to the finish line. A well-designed water belt for running can save you precious seconds and help you get to the finish line feeling healthy and hydrated.