Fitness Friday: Do I Really Have to Carry Water?

February 18, 2011 at 6:15 am 6 comments

When I trained for marathons ten (okay eleven) years ago, I used to carry a water bottle standing straight up in a belt that was uncomfortable and that would move all over the place. I would constantly be elbowing it from one side of my back to the other. If I wanted it to stay put, I had to tighten it so much that I would inevitably get a cramp in my abdominal muscles.

I actually left that belt in Washington when I moved (my friend Jess still has it for some reason and happened to use it the day I arrived for a visit in the fall; we laughed at how “old school” it looked). I have no idea why she used it that day or why she uses it at all. There are so many great options available today.

Up until this week, I was reluctant to get a new belt. Hey, I could run 10 km no problem without water, so why bother? I would just rehydrate at home after the run. But now that my long runs are over an hour, I am told (and I read) that I must hydrate DURING the run.

Since the water fountains along the snowy bike paths are not functional over the winter in this frozen land, I was left with no choice but to go shopping.

On one long group run, I tried out a fellow runner’s Camelbak water bottle and belt like this one.

It was fairly comfortable, though my comparison point was the model I purchased in the twentieth century. But, I still wasn’t thrilled with the pressure on my abs from the heavy point on the back of the belt where the bottle sat.

I was cautioned that when I did finally go looking for my own belt, I should consider the velcro at the belt closure. It would be important to make sure my running clothing was well-protected from that notoriously destructive and “picky” velcro.

After speaking to my friend (and loyal blog reader) Jenn who had just tried on several options, I went to the local sporting goods store and got myself this Fuel Belt with two 8 oz bottles in a lovely shade of pink (goes with my current favourite hat) at 20% off – yay for a deal.

I wore it this past Saturday and it was great. BUT, one the coaches informed me that 16 oz, or even 24 oz if I buy the extra bottle attachment won’t suffice when the weather gets warmer and I’m running for over an hour and a half stretches.

Here’s what the extra bottle attachment looks like:

I’m not convinced that it won’t be enough. On a training run in the spring, I will often be near water fountains (please City of Ottawa, turn them on early and make sure they work). During a race, I would like to carry water so I’m not relying on race organizers, but I will take advantage of the water stops, so perhaps 24 oz of extra water will be sufficient?

What do you think? Will I be fine?

If not, another shopping trip and the resultant bevy of belts to match my outfits would not be a bad worst case scenario.

Now, my report on the week that was:

Running Rundown

I give up. Everything is posted in kilometers and will be from here on in. For those of you who only do miles, 1 km = .625 mile OR 1 mile = 1.6 km

Saturday – 15 km outside during a lovely light snow fall (mostly) with Elation Centre Run Club –  5:50 per km pace. I somehow slept through my alarm (never happens) and woke up with five minutes to spare. Luckily the routes are posted online and they are so close that I was able to meet them about a kilometer into the run. Hard to miss a pack of runners on a snowy morning.

Monday – 11.2 km easy run on the treadmill at 5:35 per km pace.

Wednesday – 11.2 km speed run on the treadmill – 1 km at 5:35 per km (warm-up); 7 repeats of 1 km at 4:45 per km followed by 2 minutes rest at 6:00 per km; 2 km cool-down at 5:45 per km pace. This run was hard. The first four intervals were manageable, but I had to slow down during bits of the last three. Finished the eleven episodes of the “Drop Dead Diva” series on Netflix. It was perfect mind-numbing television (iPad) watching for the treadmill – I need a new series like that.

Recommendations anyone?

Strength Training Stats

Monday:  On our way to Greco, Derek realized he forgot his shoes. We turned around and went home. No class for us.

Tuesday: Woke up early and went to the 6 a.m. Greco class. I remembered the two main reasons why I don’t like working out at that hour. Firstly, the first round of the circuit I feel like I’m in slow motion. My body is just not awake or warmed up enough. Then when I’m done, the rest of the day is foggy.

Wednesday:  Greco workout in Kanata (I’m usually at the Beech St. location). Yay for lots of upper body exercises! My shoulders felt the burn.

Friday:  Heavier weight training workout with Matthieu. Probably way to many low squats for my liking.

Have a great weekend!


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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Finola  |  February 18, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    You made me smile at the old school water bottle. I tried one of those back in the day, and I would always get cramps with it too. Last year for my first ever half marathon I bought a belt with 4 smaller bottles on it and it worked fine for my training. I used to use one of the bottles to dilute a gel with water and drink that one half way through. I found it enough and I think you will be fine. You could always just try with what you have and then buy more if needed later.

    During the race in May last year I chose to not carry the belt and only rely on the water stations and that worked well for me. Even though the new belts have improved a lot, I still don’t find it really comfy.

    And your training is going so well – way to go! I have not been very good the last couple of weeks so I need to get back into it. Thanks for motivating me!

  • 2. thefightandflightresponse  |  February 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Hi there! When I was recently in marathon training, I used an Amphipod handheld bottle that was quite comfy and had a little pocket in it, like this one: On hot days/really long runs I probably should’ve carried the larger version. I can’t stand heavy things around my waist – I can only tolerate the small gel belts, which I used to carry 5 gels during my race. Water-wise for the marathon (NYC), I carried one of those cheap oval handheld bottles that I could throw away when I was done (just so I could save time and not stop at the first water stations), and then used water stations. I also asked my supporters to hold out small water bottles in case I needed water – it really helped! Good luck!! 🙂

  • 3. Jenn Beyak  |  February 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    You will be fine with your belt Liisa…and remember the race hands out water and electrolyte drinks and gels, so no need to weigh ourselves with too much stuff. Water is heavy!

  • 4. Donna  |  February 18, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    you should be fine with this water belt – remember for longer runs include a sports drink as well as water to keep glycogen levels up in your muscles
    Many people suggest 3-4 ounces every 20 minutes of water or sports drink, taken in small sips.

    • 5. fitforakid  |  February 19, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks the reminder on running fuel. Last night I made a drnk for this morning. We’ll see how it goes: 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp agave nectar, 1/4 tsp coconut oil, 2 c water and sea salt to taste…

      Tastes good anyway…

  • 6. Make Your Own Lemonade Sports Drink « Fit for a kid  |  February 25, 2011 at 12:54 am

    […] 23, 2011 I wanted a sports drink for my longer run on Saturday. In Friday’s fitness post, a commenter reminded me that I need to replenish glycogen stores during runs as they get longer. […]


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