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August 31, 2014

How to Carry Your Fluids

Written by Dena Evans

Sports_BottleMost of us are well acquainted with the need to hydrate during long workouts.  If you need a refresher, check out what we’ve written before on some basic rules for hydrating effectively.  Once you are committed to the plan of periodic hydration during your workouts, you will need a strategy for how to transport that fluid along the way. There are many different ways of doing this, one for every personality and preference.  Check out a few great options, and find out which one will work best so that fluid planning is less a chore, and more a pre-requisite for heading out on the door.

 

Old School Bottle

There are some folks for whom this article is hardly necessary.  Grabbing a water bottle tchotchke from your last corporate retreat, the one the kids won’t need for soccer until the afternoon, or a fresh bottle of your favorite sports drink from the corner store, you can set off on an 18 mile jaunt with a basic water bottle in your hand and hardly notice it is there.  Benefits: If you bought fluid from the 7-11, you can just toss the bottle when you are done at the nearest trash can.  If you brought a bottle from home, this is probably the cheapest option out there.  Drawback: If you like your hands free, this route is not for you.

 

Hand strapped bottle

If you are unafraid to have weight at the end of your arm, but don’t want to think about gripping the bottle, this option might just be for you.  Often, these curve to mold your hand, and allow your mind to wander without worrying about dropping the goods.  Benefits: Reusable bottle is an environmentally sound choice, feels a bit more comfortable than a basic bottle.  Drawback:  These types of bottles are not typically very large.  You might need a couple or won’t have enough for an extra long route.

 

Backpack with straw

Popular with ultrarunners and those who like their hands free, this is a solution that allows a runner or walker to have a ready source of fluids while not needing to grip the goods with a hand or feel the weight around the waist.  Benefits: Hands Free, keeps weight of fluid distributed evenly across the back.  Drawbacks: Not everyone likes drinking out of a straw, and these systems are not nearly as cheap as a basic water bottle.

 

Fluid belt

This is a very popular option, but some athletes find the extra weight around the waist is a distraction if time is the primary objective.  Small bottles are secured at places around a belt, worn throughout the workout. Benefits: Hands free, can add more bottles for some models and increase the amount of fluids you have on hand.  Drawbacks: If you are sensitive to extra weight around the middle or a bit of bouncing, this isn’t for you.  Also, the individual bottles can be fairly small, requiring multiple for extra long efforts.

 

Water fountain

Although ideally, your long efforts will include some calorie replacement as well as water consumption, an option always remains to plan your route where you know you can enjoy regular interactions with water fountains.  Benefits: Hand free, no weight, water is often cold.  Drawbacks: Risky as you never know if maintenance/ construction, or other unforeseen issues might scotch your plans, requires some additional source of calories – bar, gel, etc.  Also this method requires you to stop moving for at least a few seconds.

 

As fluid replacement is such a crucial aspect of your longer training, it is well worthwhile experimenting with a solution you will stick with as your training will greatly benefit with a solid plan in place.  Whether one of the solutions above fits the bill or another one is more your style, it is worth the effort to become consistent in this practice and reap the fitness benefits.

 

 

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