When running in Phoenix during the summer, hydration is key!! A small hand-held water bottle usually does just fine for me for my shorter runs, but when I’m going for longer than an hour, I typically need something more substantial. I’ve used the Fuel Belt during marathon and half-marathon training for a while now, but for some reason it has really annoyed me lately. If I don’t get it just right, it can bounce a little, and when I do have it just right, I typically walk away from a long run with minor bruises on my hips. Plus, if you have to use the potty during a run, you have to take it off and then on again – not a big deal, but sometimes annoying.
When I returned back from a month in Seattle, I was faced with 90-degree mornings and humidity that made me realize I needed a better hydration solution. I’m getting back into the long runs as I prepare for some half marathons coming up, and if I had to take the Fuel Belt with me, I knew my runs would just suck all around. So I did some research and decided on the Nathan Intensity Race Vest. It’s built specifically for women, with shoulder straps and a torso length better suited to those with two X chromosomes.
I’ve used the vest on three long runs now (around 12 miles each) and I have to say I am totally impressed. My biggest fear was that the backpack would bounce – and it doesn’t at all! Once you adjust the straps just so, it stays put without moving or bouncing. My other fear was that wearing it with a tank top would chafe my shoulders, but when I wore a thin-strapped tank last weekend, I walked away un-chaffed (and I didn’t use any Bodyglide or the like).
The Nathan vest holds 2 liters of water, which is plenty for even my longest runs, and if you add ice to it, the water stays nice and cold. There are also plenty of pockets for anything you might want to take with you. I stash my GU and Honey Stinger Waffles in the back pouch, my iphone in the front right pocket, and my ipod in the front left pocket. And there is still plenty of room if I needed to carry anything else.
My only negative comment about the Nathan vest is that there is no latch for the straw when you are running. I have to tuck the straw under a strap or stuff it in one of the front pockets or else it bounces around and hits me in the face. The Camelback I used to have for hiking had a little latch for the straw on the shoulder strap which was perfect and I think Nathan should add something like that to this vest.
The Nathan vest makes running with water a lot less of a hassle and less cumbersome than many other options. I have loved it on my last few long runs and plan to continue using it during my marathon training, even when the weather cools off. It retails for $90, but with my VIP card and a sale, I was able to find mine at Road Runner Sports for $65. A little pricey, but definitely worth it in my opinion.