"I'd rather be seen on my bicycle than on a park run" - Quote from the dark side

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Carrying Water

I’ve always taken some water on my longer training runs. I don’t run more than 10km without taking water with me. I’ve done this for many years so I’m really used to carrying a bottle while I run. I have two bottles that I use. The one is a 350ml “running” bottle designed with a grip to hold the bottle while running. The other is an old mineral water bottle, 500ml, which I use when I run more than 15km. This at the moment is 18km or 21km and I’ll also do some 25km runs in the next few weeks. I’m not planning any training runs longer than 25km on my own at the moment.

I take one of these bottles with me and would not easily try to carry two (a bottle in each hand). This has been fine for training runs up to 18km, but for 21km and more during the summer it is not enough. Yep, I know I’m not in shape yet and all the things that go hand in hand with that, but if I want to do 25km runs on my own I need more than 500ml water with me.

I’ve been looking at various hydration packs for some time now and so far the price has been the only reason I haven’t bought one. Paying R400 to R600 to carry water is just too much for me. I think you pay a lot more for the names on these packs than for the pack itself. There are also some alternatives like carrying water on a belt around your waist and some pouches for water bottles that fit in your hands and make holding the bottles easier, but none of these really appeal to me to solve my long run water problem. Most of these also have some pricy label attached which I just won’t pay. That was until I visited the local Mr Price Sports store last week and came across their hydration packs for R70.00! This was on sale with the normal price around R130. Now that’s more like it for me. No fancy name, no fancy price…perfect! Seventy rand was worth spending to try the water on the back idea.

The packs sell with a 1 liter bladder and this is also available in 1.5, 2 and 2.5 liters. The bladders go for R65 each. Not bad at all. So I took my chances while stock lasts and bought a pack with an extra 1.5 liter bladder. I doubt I’ll ever carry 2 or 2.5 liter with me. After all, this is 2 or 2.5kg to run with!

I didn’t expect too much from the pack under test. With a R70 price tag I honestly expected some bad design flaw to hamper my running and explain the low price compared to the “designer” packs of R400 to R600. I was very surprised!

My plan was to do my 21km training run with the pack on Sunday. I took the pack for a short test on Saturday morning to make sure I can run with it at all. I ran 4.2km with the 1 liter filled. I didn’t even feel the pack! This was great and made me really happy. Maybe the fact that I carry a heavy back pack up 6 flights of stairs every morning and run down with it after work has something to do with it or maybe some army memory is still buried somewhere in my brain. Anyway, I did my 21km run on Sunday with 1 liter of water on my back and had no problems at all. Nothing irritating, no chafing, no bouncing around or anything. I did set it tighter on the left side once, but that was all. The rest was perfect.

I’m really happy about this as I will now be able to comfortably do my 25km runs on my own. One down point is that you don’t really know how much water is left. I had some of the 1 liter left after the 20km run. For the 25km I’ll take the 1.5 liter and that should be plenty. I’ll probably do away with the 500ml bottle and only use the 350ml one for runs from 12 to 18km. Anything longer and I’ll be carrying my water on my back. This was a really good buy!

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