Five Ways to Carry Water While Running

Natalie Cecconi
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Considerations in Choosing How to Carry Hydration

How do you choose the best way of running hydration on a run?

There are several ways of carrying water for your long runs and races. You can use water belts, hand held bottles or running bottles, waist canteens and hydration packs.

If you are a beginner, you may not know which is the best way for you. If you are well-experienced, you may still want to change it up a bit or change the way you carry hydration on long runs. Check out these five ways to carry water while running.

A water belt is the most comfortable way of running hydration, especially in hot weather. It's easy to take the bottle out and put it in. Plus, water belts are readily available in almost all sports stores.

However, water belts carry less water than the other options, so you have to refill them more often and may get caught with your pants down during a long run.

The risk of sloshing is decreased, but you can bounce all over the place when you run wearing a water belt. They’re not as comfortable as hand held bottles or running bottles.

Hand Held Bottles

Hand Held Bottles are great for shorter distances. This way of running hydration is ideal for longer runs because you don’t need to stop to refill.

How to Carry Water While Running

Water is the most important ingredient for running, particularly hot and sunny days.

Without enough water, you will feel dehydrated and that will impair both your performance and your attitude towards running. It even increases muscle fatigue when you are working out.

Depending on the weather and your preference, you can carry water in different ways while running. Here are five of the most common ways of carrying water while running, so you can choose the ideal option for you.

Handheld Bottles

There are three main types of water bottles that you can use for your run: handheld bottles, waist bottles, and handheld tanks. The type you choose depends on your preference and the activity you are doing.

Handheld Bottles

If you are taking smaller sips and not planning on running for very long, then handheld bottles could be the way to go.

They consist of a bottle which is handheld, and have a clip at the top so that you can hook the bottle on to your clothing. The narrow design allows you to drink more easily.

The major downside to handheld bottles is that you will be slower while running if you have this in your hand.

Waist Bottles

These consist of a bottle with a clip belt that you can clip to your shorts or waistband. The benefit is that it’s right in front of you, so that you can easily grab it.

There are also bladder waist bottles, which are flexible and squeeze. They allow you to run hands-free, but you’ll need to periodically stop and squeeze more water out.

Waist Packs and Hydration Belts

Waist packs and hydration belts are a great way to carry water while running. They can easily be slipped on and off.

Some feature a few small pockets for storing energy gels and nutrition bars on longer runs.

There is a wide variety of waist packs and belts for just about any activity, whether you’re cross training in the gym, running long distances, or participating in shorter races such as 5Ks, half marathons, and marathons.

Vest Packs and Backpacks

People tend to either love or hate running with waist packs. If you haven’t quite taken to them like a duck to water, there are still other ways to carry water while running that might work better for you.

If the weight of the water bothers you, a backpack can be a better option.

As you’d expect, the downside is that you have to be aware of the risk of falling with a heavy load on your back.

Some packs, like the FuelBelt Dyad, help to alleviate this issue by restraining the waist straps.

Some users have also mentioned that the extra bit of support feels fine and they have no problem running with the weight.

You can also opt for an all encompassing hydration vest to avoid having to run with a pack at all.

The North Face Trivent 2 is a top choice for people who don’t like the feel of a pack or the idea of having something between them and their bodies.

Thigh Holsters

The first form of carrying water while running is through the use of a thigh holster. It is basically a pouch which is fastened to the thigh, and it is secured by a belt which can be worn over or under clothing. Some models come with a strap around the ankle or calf as well to ensure stability while running or walking.

The major benefit of the thigh holster is that the weight of the water is not concentrated in one area. Also, thigh holsters are easy to use, and you can just pull the water out when you need it.

The primary disadvantage of the thigh holster is that when it’s filled with water, the weight can pull your pants down. This can be especially bothersome when you’re cycling. Another con is that when you’re running on an incline, your weight may push the water out of the holster.

Tips For Carrying Water While Running

You get thirsty, your breathing becomes labored, and your body starts shutting down. So you really need to stay hydrated while you’re out for a run. But how do you carry that heavy bottle of water? The natural inclination is to loop the bottle on your finger to get it out of the way. But this is bad for two reasons – it’s impossible to reach for a drink with a water bottle secured to your finger and it also throws off your balance. You may even end up pouring water over yourself.

And believe it or not, runners are more susceptible to dehydration than the average person because they not only sweat more but they are also more active. It’s really important to stay hydrated while you exercise. Read on for some interesting water bottle carry ideas.


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