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Why I wear my belt so high and other tricks to make your water belt work great!

Posted Jul 09 2013 9:15am
It seems like I've had a lot of conversations lately about my water belt.  Not that I'm any particular expert on water belts or anything, it's just that a bunch of my friends and running buddies seem to be discussing hydration options lately.  Must be all that crazy hot weather we've been having lately. It's lovely but definitely requires a lot more thought be put into hydration, especially for those hot long runs!

Ever since I ran more than 10km for the first time I've worn a Fuel Belt .  The nice simple two bottle version lasted me for years and then when I was doing my Goofy training I also bought the 4 bottle version so that I could carry enough water for those super long training runs.

I currently rotate between these two and both have worked awesome for me.  However, neither one is perfect and since necessity is the mother of invention, I've had to come up with a few tricks to make these belts work as best as they can.  Let me share
1.  Wear it high

The biggest complaint I hear from other people is that their belts bounce around too much and don't stay put.  Which is true...if you wear your belt too low.  So here's my trick, check out the photos below - notice anything?

Take note of how high my water belt is compared to my run buddies.  Granted, I'm a bit taller than both of these ladies but you can see that mine is up much higher than down around the hips where most people wear them.

At first mine bounced around too but then I experimented with where I was wearing it.  I found that if you wear it up high, right in the narrowest part of your waist you can cinch it nice and tight and it can't slip up or down.  Voila!  Nice and secure.  No bounce.

I know, I know, it doesn't actually look as cool up there but trust me, it'll never move if you wear it high.
A nice high water belt makes Nikki a happy girl!
2.  Don't let it snag!

One of my biggest pet peeves about my water belt is that the velcro around the front closure inevitably will snag my run tops.  I've had one too many expensive running shirts ruined and as careful as I try to be putting the belt on and taking it off, that velcro seems to snag at some point during my run.  Not cool.

I had to take matters into my own hands to save my shirts and so I came up with this

What is it?  Well, it's a black trouser sock with the foot cut off of it of course!  It's now a tube of fabric that I slip onto my belt and slide over top of the whole velcro section to protect my shirt.  If you look carefully you'll notice in the pics below that there's a black piece of fabric covering the front closure of my belt.  If you tuck the sock in tightly after you do up your belt it's barely noticeable at all...

Okay, okay I've already told you to wear your belt way up high and now I'm suggesting you add a cut up sock to it too - sounds ridiculous but trust me, these two tips alone will save you tons of frustration and ruined shirts, I promise!

Something interesting to note, my 4 bottle belt doesn't snag because the velcro is trimmed with edging whereas the velcro on the 2 bottle belt is not...

3.  Add a pouch

This one's not as exciting of a tip but if you're like me, you like to take all kinds of things along on a run.  Nutrition, iPhone, chapstick, a unicorn (oh how I miss my unicorn) among other things.  However, I've heard complaints that the attached pouch on the water belt is kind of small and really only big enough to hold one big item.

I tried tucking stuff into the pockets on my shorts, into my bra or pinning things to my shirt (yes, I actually did that but baggies of jelly beans don't look cool pinned to your shirt) but none of that was very convenient or comfortable.  I finally gave in and bought an additional pouch for all of my treasures...

And I actually bought another extra pouch for extreme circumstances like marathon day of the Goofy Challenge - just look at how much crap I've got hanging off of myself!

Bottles, pouches, sunglasses all on my waist!
Anyhow, I thought I'd share these three little tips in case you were experiencing any of the same things that I was and wanted to make your water belt as convenient and hassle free as possible.

In case water belts aren't really your thing, there are tons of hydration options out there from handheld bottles to belts like mine and even backpack-style hydration vests and other things.  Katie over at  Mom's Little Running Buddy  posted a great little comparison on her blog the other day of all the different systems she's tried.  Check it out here .

Do you use a water belt for your long runs?  Have you ever had to modify a piece of gear to suit you better?
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