As Julie ramps up her training for her 1/2 marathon on September 13th of this year, she had to acquire a few items to help her achieve her goal. Last week, you read Julie’s review on her TomTom Multisport GPS watch. This week, Julie shares her thoughts on hydrating while running using the Nathan Hydration Belt.
By Julie Chartrand
This summer I have been training hard for my very first half marathon EVER! The whole idea of running a half scared me and then I was told I picked a rather difficult course for my fist 1/2 marathon, Yikes!
Training in summer also scared me because it’s difficult to run in the heat and humidity. How was I to run up to 23 km as layed out in my training plan? For me, long runs were anything longer than 10 km.
I ordered the Nathan hydration belt from Sport Check . I have to admit, I chose it for its colour mostly. Blues and greens are traditionally “my colours” where as Lucie’s colours are pinks and reds. I was excited to try it out.
For my first 13 run I packed some honey zingers for energy in the little zippered pouch. Strapped on the belt around my hips and started running my planned route. Not 500 m in and already I was looking for a place to stash my belt. It was bouncing and slipping around my hips. I would need water sooner or later since it was pretty hot out for an evening. This was not going well.
I slowed my pace and adjusted the belt. I moved it up much higher around my waist – the smallest part – and tightened it. Ooh too tight! I loosened it a bit so I could breath. I liked that it was easy to adjust while running. Now snug around my waist, the bouncing stopped and I was able to finish my 13 k run without thinking about the belt too much.
I have yet to master drinking on the run. I usually walk a few steps while I take a drink. I plan my drink breaks around milestones in my run. Let’s say I am running a 19 km long run, I think of it as 3 x 5km +4 km, so I drink at every 5 km mark as a little reward.
One hot day, I found my water getting warm and tasting like the plastic from the bottle. Ew! My 12 year old suggested I put a bit of water in my bottles and freeze them over night to keep it cold longer during the run. Sounded like a great suggestion. I had the belt properly adjusted but the ice inside the bottles was bouncing and a bit of ice water was splashing all over early in my run. That was very annoying. During my 16 k run, the ice melted and the water got warm. I have come to the conclusion that I prefer warm water to bouncing ice water.
After a few long runs with my hydration belt I started correlating side stitches with drinking on the run. I do not normally get side stitches, but I also do not used to drinking while on a run. I even developed a kind of aversion to water when running because of it. I ran a 16 km without the belt and was fine, no stitch. I drank lots of water after my run and seemed to not have suffered from dehydration.
After discussing this with coworkers who are seasoned runners, I was convinced that this was not a good practice. I would need to hydrate during 21 & 23 km long runs of my training. I just needed to train my body to take the hydration as I’m running. They suggested I try Gatorade in the bottles instead of water.
I have to say I prefer the Gatorade while running. Maybe my body is now used to hydrating on the run but I have not developed an aversion to Gatorade. Maybe the electrolytes are what I needed.
To sum things up, I am very happy in general with my hydration belt. It only took some adjustments to learn to run with it. That being said, running with a belt too soon after a meal is uncomfortable with the belt tight around the waist. Hydration belts, in my opinion, are an essential tool for long runs for half marathon training.
Julie is my identical twin sister. She’s been training hard for her first 1/2 marathon this summer for the September 13th event. I want to wish Julie, speed, endurance, nice weather and the best of luck on her big day. Please leave her a little note of encouragement in the comments. Julie, your whole family is very proud of you! I wish I could be there to cheer you on myself.
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