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If you're new to this handy tool, you'd want to get yourself up to speed with its features. Here's a guide to help you get started.
What Is It?
As the name suggests, the hydration belt is a waist pouch with some slots - all of which are equipped with small water bottles so you're able to drink on the go instead of having to queue and wait at hydration points during any race. This is very useful for runners who're serious about timing.
Hydration belts aren't exactly new to the market, and over the years, different types of belts have been created to suit every runner's needs. For instance, depending on your propensity for hydration, there are single-bottle, double-bottle, or multi-bottle (3-4 bottles) belts.
The capacity of these bottles can range anywhere from 6oz. to 20oz., whereby bottles with higher capacities are typically bulkier. Start by asking yourself two questions. How far or how long do you usually run? (The standard gauge is 1 litre or 33oz of water for every hour of running) Next, how much water do you personally guzzle when you run? These questions will help you to determine the type of belt you need.
Now that you've decided on how much water your hydration belt should hold, you'll want to ensure that it is comfortable on you. The bottles should in no way hinder your runs, and your belt mustn't be too heavy. The reason? Well you don't seriously want to be seen pulling your shorts up every 3 minutes, do you?
Many critically-acclaimed belts, such as the Fitletic 16-oz. Hydration Belt, utilise innovative technology like ergonomics to minimise, if not, eliminate that annoying bouncing feeling when carrying full bottles.
"A hydration belt is to runners like an extra tank of gas is to a car."
Wicking is also an important factor to consider, seeing as wearing a belt with some weight naturally induces a ring of sweat around your waist. This is due to the heat and the condensation of your initially-cold, 100-Plus-filled bottles.
To avoid a (excuse the pun) sticky situation, ensure that your hydration belt has a wicking feature to minimise that moisture build-up. Belts like the Fuelbelt Revenge that come with thermofoam padding will go a long way in keeping your waist cool.
A hydration belt is still a belt after all, and it should also fulfil its secondary purpose: carrying your barang barang. Does your belt have space for your bulky smart phone, EZ-link card, emergency cash, and other assorted items that you may have? Be sure of what you're bringing along with you on your runs, and then check if the belt has enough room for all of them.
Like shopping for clothes, you'll want to look at the size of the belt before splashing the cash. Some hydration belts are elastic and come with Velcro fasteners; they are one-size-fits-all belts. Some however, are made for a specific range of waist sizes, and may even be gender-exclusive.
One important tip when picking the right size is that the belt shouldn't be worn on your hips or it will interfere with your running stride. Rather, it should be sitting on your waist and over the shirt. Well-fitting belts stop the bottles from bouncing, and they also minimize the risk of chafing.
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