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Hydration options for a long run

  • 19-10-2021 5:22pm
    Registered Users Posts: 44

    Hi all,

    Well I took the "couch to 5k" to extremes since I started running again 6 months ago and now I'm doing runs up to 20kms easily enough. However I've hit the point where I feel I need to start bringing water/electrolytes with me, because on my last long run (admittedly it was 18 degrees), I started to get sharp headaches in the final 2 kms, which I put down to dehydration. An electrolyte drink when I got home refreshed me and I was good to go after. I've kept my runs under 15kms since as I need to figure out a way to carry water without annoying the bejaysus out of me. I've trialled carrying a water bottle but I feel (maybe its just psychological?) that I'm running lopsided, even if I switch it from hand to hand. Plus I get a cramp in whatever hand is holding the bottle due to gripping it too tight.

    So I'm looking at hydration belts and vests. The vests don't appeal as I think they might cause nipple irritation from rubbing (I'm male btw). This happens to me sometimes on long runs if I get caught in the rain and my top gets heavier from the rain. So I'm veering towards a running belt. However I don't want one where the bottle and/or belt is bouncing up and down as I like to go all zen and chill out on my runs and wouldn't like the distraction. One belt I've considered is the Salomen Pulse belt and some of the Salomen collapsible bottles. They seem to get good reviews and could hold up to 500mls of water and some gels. Does anyone have one and what do you think? Are there other options I should consider?




  • Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭Yermander

    I’ve used a 2L Camelbak backpack for most of my long runs, once it’s tight and sitting correct on your back and the bladder is airtight, it is not really a hindrance, bar the extra weight at the start. I’ve since got a trail running vest/bag with 1L bladder and the straps are more comfortable.

    Separately, I use tape or nip covers for long runs, but the backpack wouldn’t be the cause of this for me anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 940 ✭✭✭Unknownability

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,094 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    Lots of options for vests which then gives you more options for carrying more things like snacks and extra layers etc once you get going really long or if heading into the wilds. I've not had problems with chafing from vests, more often it's been when racing a marathon in the rain wearing only the singlet on top. None of my backpacks have caused problems though and I have accumulated a few of which different ones get used depending on the duration of the run and what else I need to carry.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,571 ✭✭✭Ceepo

    Tbh you shouldn't really need to bring some hydration with you on a 20k run. Let alone bring a 2 litre or even a 1 litre hydration pack. If you're properly hydrated before you start your run.

    Most people actually over hydrate rather than under hydrate and being a little dehydrated isn't necessarily a bad thing as your body can easily abapt to it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 583 ✭✭✭FinnC

    I’ve tried nearly every way of carrying fluids and keep going back to wearing a vest. I’m a very heavy sweater even in cold weather so found being able to carry an electrolyte drink mix a great help and definitely helps me being able to stay going.

    The vest I have is one from Decathlon and it’s a great job. Anything over 10 miles I’ll wear it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,455 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    I don’t carry water anymore on long runs, but in my first few years I used a belt with room for 2 or 3 small water bottles. Usually I’d put a zero tab in one of them.

    Just Google water belt running, and don’t pay more than about 20 euro.

    The key thing is comfortable carry.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,007 ✭✭✭Lambay island

    If you are doing loops or and out and back, I often stash a bottle of water somewhere hidden enough at waist height(avoid bending down and stopping) along the route. Its a very basic option, but you are only ever carrying it for a short distance that way.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,094 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    Waist height also reduces the chances of a dog weeing on it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,173 ✭✭✭BKWDR

    Half marathon plus is where I consider bringing water. Otherwise decent hydration all week should see you right, and your body will adapt. But saying that , everyone is different. When I started running i used to stress bringing water for 10k runs. Not necessary for anyone in my opinion.

    If I go for anything in and around 25/26km+ i tend to bring a 500ml flask with me and anything longer i tend to bring the hydration vest from Decathlon with 1litre with and i maybe sip from about 40 mins onwards on my run. A steady flow of liquid will help cramp keep away on anything 18-20+ miles i figure. By the time you have cramped, its too late so that's why i start hydrating early on the longer runs.

    I found a plaster cut into segments over the nipples works grand and if wearing the hydration vest, it keeps everything in place.

  • Registered Users Posts: 953 ✭✭✭oinkely

    nipple rub was a curse for me until i got myself some runglide. Never leave home without it now. Quick dab and off you go. Also have Lanacaine and the decathlon anti chafe cream, all of which do a great job.

    Hydration vests - Decathlon have loads at reasonable prices that don't bounce at all. The also have a tidy looking belt that's about 20 yoyo with no buckle, looks very secure. might grab one next time i'm there to try it out. I'm a bit if a sucker for bags though!

    That said, i would head off for up to 30 km without anything and then slam a pint glass with an electrolyte tab in it when i get home and it keeps the headaches away.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 44 NCC1701

    Thanks to all for the replies. I sweat a lot and need to keep the electrolytes topped up or I'll cramp. Did 22kms today but as it was cooler, I didn't get any headaches and my running watch stats showed no drop off in performance (average 5 mins 10 secs per km and average heart rate of 126bpm). I want to go further now as I know I have it in me but feel I'll need hydration or I'll pay for it. I'll look into the options above and try a few out. Thanks again

  • Registered Users Posts: 753 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    These are great, highly recommended. Also the hydration flask-carrying running belts are fab(cant link as Im a newby(ish) I can get 2 x 250ml soft bottles, gels, sun glasses and a phone into one of these for long runs if needed. The salt tablets in Decathlon are reasonable too. Vaseline for the nipples

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,571 ✭✭✭Ceepo

  • Registered Users Posts: 753 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    Ah 😊, how I wish I could link,I would have linked to the salts capsules in decathlon, they are a cheat electrolyte. 100 tabs for 11 euro.

    Any run over two hours especially in the summer I would take one. Over three hours or 30k two.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,571 ✭✭✭Ceepo

    Do you not get enough salts from the food that you eat?

  • Registered Users Posts: 753 ✭✭✭marathon2022

    Go on then😔, I can tell you want to show some magic knowledge about hydration. Out with it.

    Tell me why I don't need to hydrate or use electrolytes on long runs?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,571 ✭✭✭Ceepo

    Nothing magic about it really.

    The vast amount of people get enough salts for their daily diet and don't neet to supplement it with salt tablets.

    As for hydration, there is a common held believe a small % of dehydration will have a detrimental effect on performance and that we should drink x amount of fluid to replace it during exercise. Some myths would have you believe that you should weigh yourself before and after exercise and calculate the replace to fluid loss, or the the even bigger myth, than you pee should be clear otherwise your dehydrated.

    Of course you don't have to take my word for it, so I'll link this for you to have a read of.

  • Subscribers Posts: 689 ✭✭✭FlipperThePriest

    Every litre of water you lose via sweat is 1% salt. So wouldn't it make sense to replace it in this ratio? Saline solutions for IV rehydration are 0.9%. Yes there is a fair difference in dehydration from a clinical sense and a sports sense... But even the HSE recommends oral rehydration sachets if you have "sweated too much after exercising"

    After a long run I tend to put a tablespoon of honey into a litre of water along with a drop of orange cordial and a little shake of salt. If not yes I'll just drink water, but I always find myself craving the former.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,571 ✭✭✭Ceepo

    "Every litre of water you lose via sweat is 1% salt. So wouldn't it make sense to replace it in this ratio? "

    Yes it probably would, if you only drink water and don't eat any food, you need to consider that you're also replacing salt from your daily intake of food.

    There's no doubting that dehydration can occur, but the reality is that it isn't very often unless you really really neglect to drink fluid throughout the day.

    We have this great inbuilt mechanism to alert us to drink, basically we get thirsty

  • Registered Users Posts: 271 ✭✭Kander

    I feel like a shriveled up prune if I didn't have water & electrolytes for my long run. I'd be seriously suffering as well by the end.

    Depending on the length of time out & temp I would have a hand held water bottle or I would plan a route that had loops in it that I could have a couple of bottles stashed somewhere.

    I wish i could be one of those that didn't need to to this but anything over 15k or if it's warm out I can't not do it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 10,455 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    I suppose what Ceepo is saying here is that it's no harm to think a little more critically about some of these practices, whether we are talking about pronation, hydration, salt replacement etc. etc. The fact is, if some of these practices turn out to be unnecessary, or if they can be reduced in time as we become more experienced and more adapted, well that's one less thing to worry about, and one less thing that can go wrong.

    I used to bring water on long runs, but I don't anymore, I don't miss it and I'm happy not to have to carry it. Same goes for buying stability shoes - another 'necessity' I was happy to jettison once I knew more about the (non) issue. We may think we need or have to do certain things when running, but it's OK to discover that we were wrong!

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,094 Mod ✭✭✭✭robinph

    I'd happily do 20 miles without water, unless it's a hot daytime run in which case I'd have water to drink for cooling down purposes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,400 ✭✭✭ger664

    As above I would only take on water/nutrition or electrolytes on very warm/humid days for runs. I have got to the stage that I can comfortable do 3 hours on empty at a relatively easy pace.

    Also the salts you lose during a run do not evaporate from your skin. Your salt tablet is on your face so no need to carry one.

  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Regional South East Moderators Posts: 28,490 Mod ✭✭✭✭Cabaal

    Would be much the same, though I prefer bring water.

    Last two 26mile training runs I did I brought only 500ml, def no need for any water on a 20km run

  • Registered Users Posts: 271 ✭✭Kander

    TL;DR become a camel 😂

  • Registered Users Posts: 44 NCC1701

    Ok my 22kms is a warm up to some of you guys?????:). Well even though I've been a cyclist for the past 10 years doing spins up to 100kms no bother, when I switched to running, I could barely manage a few kms without having to stop. It brought home to me that there are different muscle groups involved in both sports and fitness in one area does not switch over to the other. However even on the bike, I'd bring an electrolyte drink as I've been caught out a few times with awful cramps in my calves from salt loss. I don't add salt to my food and as I only eat fresh "non processed" food, I get minimal salt intake from what I eat. I am amazed that your training run of marathon length is done on a half litre of water. That goes against everything I've read about hydrating. I drink plenty of water through the day and fresh smoothies made of berries, seeds, nuts and fresh greens which also keeps me hydrated. I think I'll experiment on pushing as far as I can without hydrating during the run by doing a 10km loop up to 3 times so I can cut for home if things tour sour.

  • Registered Users Posts: 583 ✭✭✭FinnC

    Don’t mind anyone else, if you want to bring hydration on a run then do that, posters answering your question of how you can carry water on a run by telling you that you don’t need water on a run isn’t helpful at all IMO.

    If you like to have water/electrolytes etc then bring them. Like I said above I find the vest the best option after trying all the other methods. It’s not really an inconvenience at all once you get used to it and there are days on long runs I’d barely drink it but there are other days I’ll empty the the whole pouch but it’s always nice to have the option.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,571 ✭✭✭Ceepo

    I wouldn't say that doing 22k run is only a warm up for most of the people in here, it would be about the average distance for a long run for most, with the exception of people building up to a marathon.

    And I'd totally agree with you, cycling fitness and run fitness are completely different types of fitness. As someone who was a runner turned triathlete, running off the bike took a lot of getting used too.

    I for one wasn't saying "not" to drink water on your run, but more a general point that most people probably drink more than what is required on their run.

    There is a lot of misinformation around hydration, mostly put out by company's with a vested interest in getting you to buy their products. Of course that doesn't mean that hydration isn't important, it is but maybe not in the quantity that they would have you believe.

    We have an inbuilt "alarm" when to drink, namely "thirst". We should rely on it and be guided by it. This will be different for everyone, depending on conditions fitness etc.

    Most people find that the fitter they get the less they need to drink while training. Personally I wouldn't say I was a great runner or triathlete, but when I was at my fittest I would do 100k on the bike and only drink 250ml of water and very rearly use a sports drink, unless I was doing 120k or more,

    Have a read of what I linked in an earlier post, or have a listen to this podcast.

    Some good impartial information in them, and the best of luck in your running journey.

    Post edited by Ceepo on

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,455 ✭✭✭✭Murph_D

    I wouldn't agree with you at all that it's unhelpful to tell people they don't need to carry water. The thread is about long run hydration options, and certainly hydrating appropriately in advance, or adapting through appropriate training, is one of those options. In the meantime, of course, carrying water is certainly OK, and there have been plenty of suggestions on how to do this.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,458 ✭✭✭brick tamland

    Is there anything to be said for Electrolite before a run or is it only for after a run?