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Breaking Race Day Rules

2012 May 7
by Jess

I broke a race day rule and lived to run a p.r. on a challenging half marathon course.

So, maybe the pr was only by a few hundreds of a second, but it still counts!

The “big rule” I broke: Don’t try anything new on race day.

See that water bottle in my hand in the awkward photo above? I hadn’t ran with one prior to race day. It was also my first time drinking nuun during a run.

Running with the water bottle wasn’t risky. If I found I was hitting myself in the chest due to my flailing arm swing I could have just ditched it. Drinking nuun was a little risky, but luckily it didn’t cause any issues.

I ended up drinking almost the entire contents of the bottle and managed to run 13.1 miles with it attached to my hand.

As someone who doesn’t like running with stuff, I was surprised it didn’t drive me batty. While at times I couldn’t decide which hand to carry it in, I was so happy to have it with me.

Initially I chocked down the swigs of the lightly carbonated nuun, since I wasn’t use to drinking on the run. By the end of the bottle I’d gotten it down pat.

I’m not sure how I feel about drinking nuun on the run, but I loved the water bottle and will definitely be running with one again soon.

Before flying out to Nashville, I searched high and low for a 12 ounce bottle, but could only find larger bottles. At each store I kept hearing the same thing over and over again “If it’s hot enough to run with a water bottle then 12 ounces isn’t going to be any help. You should run with a larger bottle.” And they were right!

If you’re considering running with a handheld water bottle consider the following:

  • Keep your arm swing as natural as possible.
  • Find a bottle that fits well on your hand so that you don’t have to actually grip it for it to stay on your hand.
  • Alternate the bottle between hands throughout the run.
  • The weight of the bottle wasn’t noticeable to me since I was drinking from it beginning at mile 4.

¬†What “stuff” do you run with during races?

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15 Responses leave one →
  1. May 7, 2012

    I love my water bottle – it is 12-16 oz and has a handle similar to yours but there is also a decent sized pocket in the front. I usually keep my iPod nano and gatorade powder (the red kind is my favorite and no races ever have it!) in there.

    I drink a lot of water during races, I usually go through my whole bottle by the midway point of a half marathon and refill it with cups of water from the water stops after that!

    I don’t run with too much other stuff – usually just my keys; everything else gets checked at races or left at home!

  2. May 7, 2012

    What brand is the water bottle? Where’d you find it?

    • Jess permalink*
      May 7, 2012

      It’s from Athleta. I bought it there because you can return something even if you’ve used it. It’s amphipod, but I’ve heard there are others that are even better!

  3. May 7, 2012

    I need to get me one of those. I run with the least amount of stuff possible but sometimes I do carry a regular water bottle that needs constant gripping. Luckily I haven’t run anything longer than a 10k so it was do-able. But for longer distances something more ergonomic like the bottle you have would be a better option.

  4. May 8, 2012

    That is a ballsy move! I’m very glad you managed through, great tips on how to run with a bottle.

    To be completely honest, I don’t understand why people run with bottles during races, since the course is filled with stations – unless you’re trying to smoke a PR I guess. Just my opinion.

    I do however fully support belts and hand-helds for all my training runs!

  5. May 8, 2012

    I use that same water bottle on my runs (except for races because then it annoys me to hold for some reason). Its a great bottle but I wish there was something in between my hand and the plastic material. My body heat and sweaty hands heat up the water so it doesn’t stay cold for too long. Otherwise I really like that one because of the strap… you don’t have to grip it the whole race!

    I’ve seen others but they don’t seem as light as that one so I’ll stick with it. I use my iFitness belt to carry anything else I run with: phone, ID, gels.

  6. May 8, 2012

    Congrats Jess!!! What a great accomplishment!

  7. May 8, 2012

    I always run with my phone in my hand, so I’ve always been used to carrying something. That said, I can imagine it would really change things up to add something in that you’re not used to on race day! I’m glad it all worked out for you. Great job on the half!

  8. May 8, 2012

    Ive only ever run with a fuel belt. Thanks for sharing your experience. I might get a hand held knowing it wasn’t so bad! ;)

  9. May 8, 2012

    I run with the Nathan water bottle that has a strap and pocket. I love it, it holds 20 oz and between alternating it from hand to hand after a few miles, it is quite comfy. Congrats on that PR too

  10. May 8, 2012

    Ha I saw this picture of you on facebook and I honestly thought “Woah is jess holding a water bottle!”. I remember how you always told me that you hated it “I just look for water fountains around the park”…kudos on trying something new =) and double kudos on PR!

    (see because of fb detox, I can read blogs again! ha)

  11. May 8, 2012

    Awesome job!
    On my long runs, I always run with water or gatorade. But during races, I try and ditch the bottle, and I think it makes me feel lighter and go faster! I also always race with my amphipod fuel belt so I can keep my phone/clif shots/money accessible. I have to try this nuun everyone raves about!

  12. May 8, 2012

    i use a belt that holds 2 10 oz bottles…doesn’t bother me a bit, brand is nathan…

  13. May 9, 2012

    Love this idea but don’t think I could carry it. I hate drinking Gatorade would love to be able to use nuuns but again, I am such an “arm” runner I worry. Maybe when I’m doing long runs this summer I’ll try (in practice first haha). Glad your rule-breaking went well. Nuun on the run makes me smile :)

  14. Beth permalink
    May 9, 2012

    Congrats Jess! I may need to try this handheld bottle thing. I have a fuelbelt but have stopped using it. It’s cumbersome and gets in my way. That was fine all winter but as it get warmer, I need to go back to carrying water. Any other suggestions for another belt-type holder? I might give that one more shot before trying to hold anything while running.

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