Friday, February 12, 2010

Fueling of Other Sorts

After giving you a preview of how I fuel my runs with food, it's only fair to give you a preview of how I fuel my runs with water.

I have the terrible problem of not drinking enough water in general, especially when I'm out on a run. The three lakes in Uptown that I run around all have water fountains at points along the trails, but from about November to April the water is turned off so the pipes don't freeze and burst. I don't feel I have to drink as much water in winter as I do during the humid summer months, but I know this is a terrible misconception and that water is just as important. Thus, I try (TRY!) to carry water with me on runs of longer than 4 miles during the winter.

I have tried a couple different products, and both have their ups and downs.

Helium 2 Fuel Belt
  • The reason I was first drawn to Fuel Belt's Helium 2 was because it's PINK! (They also have orange, green, and red/black.) I thought the color was adorable, and I figured I would be more likely to drink water during my runs with a cute product I was willing to wear.
  • I really like that the Helium 2 has a pouch to carry my key and some Sports Beans. The actual belt portion of it comes in handy, too, as I clip Cupcake (my also cute pink iPod Nano) on it instead of inside my waistband. Getting rid of any unnecessary skin rubbing is always good.
  • Another reason I got the Helium 2 is because it has two 8oz. bottles. Some other Fuel Belts have four bottles, and I've even seen single-bottle belts as well. I like that I can carry 16oz. of water and have the weight equally dispersed around my body.
  • The Helium 2 has a bunch of reflective material, which is always good for morning, dusk, and night runs. Fuel Belt was smart to incorporate this into their logo, the stitching, and the fabric.
  • The first time I brought the Helium 2 out for a run, I realized that it was tricky holding the water bottles on the front of my body. It didn't bounce like I expected it to, but I have problems slouching forward when I run, and wearing the extra weight on my front made me want to slouch even more. I started wearing the Helium 2 on my back, which amazingly helps my posture when I run, but the accessibility to the bottles is not efficient. I was born to be a back-water-bottle-wearing model:
  • The caps on the water bottles leak. I find that I always lose a little bit of water (not only the minor amount out of the spout which is to be expected, but out of the twisting lid) every time I pull the bottles out of the belt. A few drops doesn't make a big difference, but it does get little annoying when it spills every time I am trying to screw the lid on, even when I'm filling them.
  • The actual belt traps sweat on hot, humid days. Fuel Belt tried using a breathable material, but it still traps sweat. Sure, I am already warm on runs during the summer, but having any additional heat trapped -- especially sticky sweat under your clothing -- gets very uncomfortable.
Amphipod Hydration Handheld
(Shush. I get paper cuts daily at work -- I might as well wear fun Bandaids.)

  • The main reason I purchased the Amphipod Hydraform Handheld bottle was because I am more likely to drink water when I'm running if it's right under my nose. And when the water bottle is in my hand, it's eventually going to make its way under my nose because of the my arm's swinging motion.
  • The Handheld has an extremely ergonomic design. It straps to your hand so you don't have to actually grip it (I used to carry large bottles until I learned of this sweet invention), which relieves me of a lot of wrist strain. The shape of the bottle is very natural to relax my hand around. It's perfectly designed to grip well in both hands, too.
  • I absolutely love the large lid. When I'm refilling at a water fountain, less water gets wasted because I'm more likely to actually get it in the bottle. It also easily accommodates throwing in more than one ice cube at a time. Below is a picture of the Handheld's mouth versus the Fuel Belt bottle's mouth.
  • The Handheld's squeeze-to-flow ratio is very efficient. I don't feel like I get a lot of air when I'm squirting water into my mouth, and for whatever reason that is really nice. :) The water flows easily from the spout, and I've never had any issues with water leaking out.
  • This water bottle holds 20oz., and it's always good having more water when running. The weight, though, does get mildly bothersome and I find that I want to switch hands a lot to redistribute the weight. Maybe that's a secret pro, because I'm equally working out both arms instead of one.
  • The are no color options for the handheld besides yellow. Boo.
  • There is no built-in reflective material and there definitely could be. It's not a big deal to have reflective gear, but again it's always welcome when you're out running where there are cars. There are places for Amphipod to put this material in the stitching or on the Velcro hand closure.
Drink up!

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