Although it is not a full marathon, running a half marathon (13 miles or 21 km) is still a considerable distance. Your half marathon time will vary greatly from others and will depend on several factors including your fitness, and personal goals. That being said, it will take the majority of people over 1.5 hours or 90 minutes to complete a half marathon. Which is a long time to be exercising without drinking water. So, back to the question you may be wondering: should I carry water for a half marathon?
Yes, you should definitely be regularly hydrating throughout a half marathon or any physical activity. Especially one where you are consistently active, without breaks, for over 90 minutes.
You are more likely to become dehydrated during physical activity because of increased breathing and sweat. To maintain high-performance, it is important to replenish the fluids you have lost while exerting your body physically.
Losing just 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%.Amanda Carlson – Director of Performance Nutrition for Athletes’ Performance
In an article posted by WebMD, Water Tips for Efficient Exercise, they recommend the following:
- You should be drinking 8 oz (237 ml) of water every 15 minutes of exercise
This number will vary depending on individual size, and weight, but it should give you a benchmark to aim for.
It is just as important to stay hydrated while training for a half-marathon, as it is on actual race day. However, while training, you don’t have the luxury of hydrating at water stations that are scattered throughout your run.
In order to stay properly hydrated while training, we recommend that you run with water. More specifically, we recommend you use a hydration belt or hydration vest, as they are the most effective ways to carry water while running.
At the end of this article, we have a section that provides more details about using a hydration belt or vest.
When you carry water while training for a half-marathon, in the form of a belt or vest, you are properly preparing for race day.
It allows you to become accustomed to drinking water while running, and get a feel of how the belt or vest attaches to your body.
Furthermore, your body loses more fluids through excessive sweat while exercising, and in warmer climates. When training for a half marathon in the summer months, chances are that you can relate to both of these instances.
To ensure your training can prepare you for race day in the best possible way, it is important to stay hydrated throughout your runs. This will help you to replenish lost fluid, avoid muscle cramps, and minimize a dry or sticky mouth while running.
Half-Marathon Race Day
Now back to the half-marathon. On race day, there will be water stations set up at regular intervals throughout the route.
The distance in between water stations will vary depending on which half-marathon you are running, and who the organizers are, etc. However, you can typically expect water stations to be around every 2 or 2.5 miles (roughly 3 to 4 km apart).
The time to run these distances will vary for everyone depending on your pace. However, this should help you determine if you will be meeting the recommended water intake of 8 oz approximately every 15 minutes.
Take a look at the half-marathon course route for the race you are planning to run. You will be able to determine how far apart the water stations are to determine if you will require water in between the stations.
However, regardless of the distance between water stations, we still recommend you carry water on race day.
Carrying water allows you to drink it when you need it, not just at the locations the race organizers thought were suitable.
Side Note: be sure to check with your race organizers to confirm you won’t be disqualified for carrying water, or hydration devices, on race day.
Carrying A Water Bottle While Running
It can be quite awkward to carry water during physical acitivity, especially while running. This is because your hands play an important role in your running form, in addition to you using them for balance.
With that being said, you still need to adequately hydrate while running. Thankfully, you can rely on other parts of your body to help carry your water while running.
The easiest ways to carry water while running is by using a hydration belt or hydration vest. In both hydration belts and vests, adjustable straps allow you to securely fasten the device around your waist or shoulders for a snug fit and to help minimize bounce while running.
You can read the articles if you are interested in a full review of the top 5 hydration belts and vests. However, to save you time, we have also included our top picks for each category below.
Rehydrating After Running A Half-Marathon
While you may have been hydrating throughout your race, it is crucial to rehydrate after completing your half-marathon.
For many, running a half-marathon is an extreme physical exertion. The importance of rehydrating your body after you complete the race should not be understated.
It is important to drink water post-race. However, oral hydration solutions (ORS), also known as hydration drinks, can help hydrate your body more effectively and efficiently than water alone.
Continue to drink water after your race, but consider also consuming a hydration drink at recommended intervals by the manufacturer. In a recent article we wrote, we review the top 5 hydration drinks for runners.
Our favorite is the Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier. Each packet contains essential vitamins and minerals and mixes into 16 oz of water.
It provides the same hydration as drinking 2-3 bottles of water and is available in three great-tasting flavors. You can find it on Amazon here.
You should be re-hydrating at regular intervals during physical activity. As stated above, an article from WebMD recommends 8 oz of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.
While the race you are running might have water stations on race day, there will not be water stations throughout your training. For this reason, we recommend you training with a hydration belt or hydration pack.
Furthermore, if you race allows, you can bring your hydration vest or belt with you on race day. This way you can drink water when you need it, not when the organizers thought it was convenient to put a water station.
We hope this article has helped provide suggestions and answer the question that you might be wondering “should I carry water for a half marathon?” as you prepare for your next race.
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