In the Shamrock Marathon, I battled a force that had been absent throughout the course of my winter training….HEAT.*

As a former resident of Florida, I thought that I was pretty accustomed to running in higher temperatures and humidity – after all, my first 5K took place in August! Of course, running 3 miles is a lot different than 26.2, but I digress!

Yeah, so I can see why my foot hurt there at the end of the race! Ow, heel strike!

Anywho, what I am here to discuss today is proper hydration. Now, keeping hydrated is actually more complicated than making sure you’re drinking 8 cups of H2O, y’know – but not that much more complicated. See, when you’re working out hard, it sure feels great to take a swig of water, but in long-term sustained exercise, that sweat that’s drenching your fancy new running singlet is a yucky yet intriguing mix of quite a few different things – most notably sodium/electrolytes.

Now, I am not an expert on hydration (obviously) but if you want a point of reference, about.com recommends:

  • 4 to 6 ounces of fluid every 20 minutes during your runs. 
  • Runners running faster than 8-minute miles should drink 6 to 8 ounces every 20 minutes.
  • During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink (like Gatorade) to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes). The carbohydrates and electrolytes in the sports drink also help you absorb the fluids faster.
With this in mind, it really is no surprise that I was likely on the verge of hyponatremia (low blood salt level due to abnormal fluid retention) since I was taking water at the stations, but waited until later in the race to take Gatorade. Additionally, my one itty-bitty complaint about Shamrock was that the lanes to pass through water stations were kind of narrow, which meant it was really hard to avoid rogue tossed cups (which still contained liquids) which meant I had sticky shoes, or worse yet, soaked shoes (hello, my left foot around Mile 19ish).
In short, I determined that the best solution (for me, remember, everyone is different!) is for me to go back to carrying my own fluids. In my first Half Marathon, I ran with a Camelbak – but for a totally different reason: I thought that walking through the water stations would destroy my time!  Turns out, it really doesn’t take too long to drink a cup of water and move on (who woulda thunk it!?) but the Camelbak, in my opinion, is just too hot for warmer weather races. For that race, it was fine (January in Florida) but when I tried to train with it in the summer, it not only felt too heavy and hot, but it chafed my back to the high heavens – it’s still scarred, almost a year later!
After the Camelbak, I tried a Nathan Hydration Waist Pak thingy…like this:
Of course, I had the pink one...


 This particular accessory, while somewhat bothersome, was working out pretty well – until it met its demise in Morgantown, WV. I did, however, manage to save the bottle portion, which I take to Bikram/the gym and I like it.
Mine looks like this.


I’ve also tried the fuel belt – mixed results on that one. It kind of bothers me when I am running and I am not very coordinated in getting the bottles out efficiently without looking like a total spaz.
Based on these series of trial and errors, I have unscientifically determined that a hand-held hydration solution might be the best route for me…since a hand-held:
  1. Requires no extra coordination – no reaching/removing a bottle and having to place it back.
  2. Could carry extra stuff if needed.
  3. Might help with my bicep definition? (LOL)
Hah, really though, I want to find a good water bottle that:
  • isn’t burdensome…
  • keeps the liquid somewhat cold…
  • is easy to drink out of…
I have a few contenders…
Amphipod PURErun 16oz Handheld


 This bottle is stainless and has a really nice pocket to carry extra stuff  but at $40, it is a bit pricey. Could be worth it though….
Nathan Quick Draw Elite


The Nathan Quick Draw series is pretty popular and I do like the bottle (same one as the old triangle back from above). I have a tendency to spazz /spill water a little with the valve but it’s not too terrible. Also, there are a variety of colors with this option.

CamelBak Quick Grip


This one holds 21 oz and since it is a CamelBak brand item, it has that love it or hate it bite valve. I personally do like it, but I also personally have some spazz moments with the valve and leaking…okay, perhaps I am the weakest link in the equation, but at least I own up to it 😉

There are some more that were recommended in a recent FitSugar list as well, but I have never seen those ones in person (the GelBot seems kind of intriguing, but I’ll take a pass)

What’s your hydration solution? Do you have something you’d recommend?
*Please keep in mind that dehydration or hyponatremia can occur in any temperature, not just heat; this is just my personal experience.


  1. The same thing happened to me at Shamrock and I came to the same conclusion, carry my own water. If you find you really like a hydration belt over others, I would love to know. I just picked up and Ifitness one at the CB expo, it feels really secure and not bouncy.. we shall see. Have a great weekend. xo

    • Yeah I am interested to hear in your experience! I have an iFitness belt, but just the one to carry gels and small items, not the one for bottles. Let me know! I will post my findings as well….

  2. Figuring out how to drink at the marathon was the hardest part of training for my first BQ. The first time I qualified, was literally the first time I didn’t dehydrate during the race. And it included a cup of gatorade and water at every aid station and I carry my fuel belt so that I can take my gels on the run.

    That stainless steel bottle looks interesting. I hate summer running mostly because I hate being SO thirsty and drinking warm water. And I hate the camelback bite valve. 🙂

  3. Hi! I have the quick draw elite and LOVE it! I’ve tried a hydration belt, but hate the bouncing and I have a Camelbak, but the straps are contsntly loosening and it drives me nuts (maybe I should be ADD Runner, not Running Moose…). I got to the point where, when I hit the trails, I leave extra bottles in my car and do a series of out/backs on different trails (park at cross roads of the Ap trail out back both ways; at a park near a few points to do out/backs, etc…). I also take a salt tablet (Succeed, I think…) once every hour when it’s really hot or once every 90-120 minutes otherwise (if I can taste salt on my lips, I know I had too much).

    • Thanks for your feedback! It is great to hear that the Quick Draw Elite works well for you.

      Those pesky issues that you’ve mentioned about the other methods you have tried sound very familiar to me…

  4. I have a similar bottle to the quick draw elite and I use the heck out of it. On the other hand, the stainless bottle looks really nice – I’d say if it seems like it would work for you, it’s worth the splurge because you’ll probably use it a ton.

    • I agree with the idea of buying quality items. I am curious if I can find this product in store somewhere so I can ‘try it out.’

    • Haha, yeah warm water is not cool at all (haha I re-read this comment and it is a really bad joke)

  5. I ran Shamrock with a 4-bottle Fuelbelt and it worked very well. 3 bottles were Smartwater and 1 was Gatorade. I started drinking both water and Gatorade almost immediately because I knew it was warmer and more humid than I was used to. I took water and/or Gatorade at all of the aid stations, sipped from my bottles in between, and didn’t need to start refilling my bottles until, oh, mile 23 or so when I was getting dehydrated (I recognized immediately what was happening and knew I needed to slow down, drink more water and Gatorade, and/or eat salt). Getting the Fuelbelt to stay put is also about the right clothing. Some materials are more slippery than others, so the belt will slide around. Bottoms with flat waistbands work best for me. I honestly did not need to adjust my Fuelbelt once during Shamrock. Nathan makes a similar model to a Fuelbelt, too. It takes some trial and error to find what works best for you. Also, you might want to try salt tablets or pretzels or something else with lots of salt. Test them first to see how your body handles them. I taught myself to eat pretzels during very long runs and marathons. It seems counter-intuitive to eat something salty, but it actually helps with water absorption. You need those electroytes.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Karen. I definitely do need to do more salty stuff for the water absorption, you’re right! I did a lot of reading on it recently and I am glad to hear this confirmed by you.

      I have a Fuel Belt but I found that the water gets warm…do you have that experience? I used to fill the bottles and keep them in the freezer but they’d still be weird temperature after long runs…

      • I fill the bottles halfway with water, freeze them, and fill them up with water when I am ready to go. It takes about a half hour for the ice to completely melt, and then your water will stay cool for a little while longer. I have a couple of extra bottles that I freeze and swap out when my first set of bottles are empty. Gatorade in particular is weird. Over the winter, I had a bottle of Gatorade freeze into a slushy consistency when a bottle of water didn’t freeze at all. I have no idea why!

  6. I have the Nathan Bottle that you listed above. It’s a bit heavy at the start of a run but you get used to it!

    For shorter runs, I use the 10 oz fuel belt hand held, you don’t even realize you’re carrying it!

  7. I’ve never ran with water. Ever! And now I am intrigued that there are so many items out there to use! I wouldn’t mind carrying fluids, but I definitely would rather it be somewhere around my waist. I feel like my arm would get tired if I were carrying it in my hand.

    • Hey Mary, thank you for your comment. I thought my arm would get tired, but I have been testing out carrying regular bottles recently and it’s not too bad. Waist paks get annoying to me bc they move, even ones thata aren’t supposed to, since I really have no hips, lol….and even ones that work better (fuel belt, around waist) are not good for my klutziness (hard for me to get the bottles out/back in without dropping things).

      It’s a good thing there are so many options bc I have found that everyone definitely has their preferences 🙂

  8. I have the Camelbak Quick Draw and I like it pretty well. My hand does get sweaty against the bottle…but I sweat like a beast anyways, hence why I run with water, even if it’s just 2 miles. I drink a LOT of water, because I get dry mouth…so I might invest in an actual Camelbak HydrationPak eventually, as my mileage starts increasing again. (when I was training for my 1/2 marathon, my long runs circled my house, so I would just refill my bottle every 4 miles)

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