One of the things I didn’t show you last week in my marathon outfit post is the most important part! No, no, not the pink visor (though sun protection is quite important also)! 🙂 I’m talking about my hydration belt:

Please excuse my dazed look- it was 6am!

The one I use is the Amphipod RunLite 4. A lot of people hate hydration belts because they bounce, can chafe and are a downright nuisance. I live in such a rural area that having one of these belts to carry all my fuel for training is a necessity. I learned that to prevent bounce all I had to do was position it lower and tight on my hips. The muffin-top effect is desired in this case, the fat spillage prevents bounce! 😀

I used this belt when training for my first marathon but didn’t wear it during the race. I relied on the aid stations and luckily they were well stocked. Since I’ve heard horror stories about races underestimating the needs and this marathon is inaugural, I’ve decided to wear my hydration belt during the race this time around. If it becomes too cumbersome and it looks like the aid stations are good, then I’ll attempt to hand it off to family and friends that plan to be spectating.

I’ve learned through trial and many errors that fueling is incredibly important and what works best for me. After my 20 mile training run for my first marathon I was really dehydrated and felt awful. I actually paced back and forth near my car feeling slightly delirious. I also have to be especially careful with the intense heat and humidity in the summer. I always make sure that if I plan to be running for 7+ miles that I have water, gatorade and something to eat (Gu, Sport Beans, Shot Blocks, etc). I drink water when I want it (which is pretty often), eat every 5 miles or so and drink gatorade every 2 miles starting after 5 miles. This is what works for me and it took me an entire marathon training cycle (18 weeks) to figure out.

If you’re still looking for what works best for you I suggest trying a little of everything. When in doubt always carry more fuel than what you think you’ll need. For really long runs keep in mind that you might have to refill bottles along your route. Don’t worry about the odd looks when stopping at McDonald’s or CVS for a refill (cuz let’s face it, hydration belts aren’t exactly the new black), it is well worth it!