One of my (many?) concerns about training for a marathon in Scotland was the lack of water. If you’re training in Chicago, for most of the year the water fountains are on along the Lakefront Path, as well as water fountains in almost every park across the city. If desperate enough you could bop into a doughnut shop, café, restaurant and they’d give you some water and probably even let you use the loo. Or when you join CARA to train for a marathon, they set up water stops for their long weekend organized runs. Here in Aberdeen, you can be on a run and not really pass any public establishments (gas stations and super markets don’t tend to have public bathrooms from what I’ve found)…and I have yet to see a water fountain anywhere. Although on one route I do run past a library and a little space-booth looking thing that says toilet. Not sure if it costs money. But it’s good to know it’s there for a worst-case scenario.
But the water thing is the hang-up. It’s not hot here, but if I’m eating an energy gel I need water, and definitely need some form of hydration when running 10 miles+. My first 9-miler I ran solo and was doing a straight out and back. I drove halfway down the route and dropped a small disposable plastic water bottle for me to pick up. I ended up running all the way home with it, but it was small.
On the group 10-miler- we were trail running so there was no way to drop a water bottle so I carried a handheld. I have an amphipod 20oz bottle. It has a nice little strap so holing on to it is easy and the strap has a pouch that can fit Kleenex or gels or anything. It’s not bad. I’ve actually used it in a couple smaller half-marathons before when hydration wasn’t ample on course
But the day after the 10-miler, my right shoulder was really tight and was a little jacked up. I can only assume because I held the water bottle in my right hand for most of the time. It worked, but it isn’t really that much water and I kind of like to avoid holding something in my hand. There are 2 other options. The waist pack option with load of little bottles around your middle or a backpack. I generally like to avoid things around my waist. I’m extremely waist conscious and I tend to bloat a lot during exercise. So I got a running backpack with a bladder and a hose type nozzle that I can sip from while I run. I got it off Amazon when I was home for Christmas. Because I wasn’t sure if I’d like this- I didn’t go for an uber expensive camel back or whatever. I went with this camden gear one on amazon:
And before last weekend’s 12-mile run, I had only taken it on one 3.5-mile test run. It’s a little adjustment and feels a little awkward, but I was pretty surprised by how little it bothered me. It can hold up to a liter so definitely no concerns about not having enough water. It secures around the waist and chest. Definitely doesn’t help my sport-bra’d uniboob look any better, but I’m not exactly trying (or expecting) to get catcalls during long runs. Or short runs. Or anytime I’m doing something remotely physical. It also has a pocket on each side of the stomach strap, which is where I put my iphone on one and either energy gel or Kleenex in the other. The backpack itself can hold more things than just the water bladder- if you take off a layer or have extra gels or money- you’ve got the space.
About 8 miles in, my shoulders were hurting. But then again, my feet were on fire and my face was burning from excessive nose blowing. The next day my back definitely felt that I had done something different. It wasn’t like a kink in my neck or anything like holding the handheld, but more that I had done a upper back workout. I was sore. It’s nothing too severe and I am hoping to develop a tolerance. We’ll see as time goes by. A friend who has the water belt has offered to let me try it out for a run at some point to see if I like it. Not sure when but it will be good to see if maybe, against my initial thought, I do like that better. We’ll have to see, but it’s nice to have the option to try before I buy yet another running accessory.