Running belts are a tool used by runners that fit snugly around your waist and are used for storing valuables such as keys and phones, as well as fuel (snacks) for long distance runs, and water bottles or hydration packs. Many people may assume that running belts are only useful for long distance runners, but that is not always the case. If you are in a remote or extremely hot climate, hydration belts can be an extremely useful tool, for instance.
Pros and Cons
Some marathon runners swear off running belts altogether, as they may affect your stride or become a distraction. Some just do not like the appearance or extra weight. This is typically only the case for very experienced, competitive runners, but for many runners in training or weekend warriors, running or hydration belts are a near-necessity.
If you are a more casual runner, you probably don’t have the luxury of leaving all of your personal items behind, for instance. You may not have access to water along your route and need hydration throughout your run. Also, you may want to avoid having to slow down at congested water stations during your races. There are many useful purposes for running belts and these are just some examples.
There have also been many-a-runner that have smashed that new iPhone when it popped out of their pocket or lost their house or car keys while running because they decided putting it in their pocket would be “fine”. That’s why selecting the proper running belt for your needs is critical, as there are many different types tailored for your varying needs. (Check out this popular running belt here for an example).
Tips For Wearing a Running Belt
Once you have researched and selected the running belt that is right for you, you may ask yourself “What is the right way to wear my running belt?”. Now, this may sound like a silly or simple question, but believe it or not, there IS a right and a wrong way to wear and utilize your belt. That is why we are writing this post in the first place, right?? Right!
- First, do not put your heavy items in the belt first. Get it fastened comfortably and securely around your waist. You will want it tight enough to not slide down or move around your waist as you run, but you don’t want it so tight it is cutting off your circulation or uncomfortable. Most belts will use some type of clasp or velcro. Some use small hooks. If this is an important feature to you, please make sure to take it into consideration before making your purchase.
- Fill your water bottles or containers with nice, cold (near-frozen, if you prefer) water. This will ensure it stays cool for as long as possible. You can then insert them into the proper pouches or inserts in your belt. (*Note: Different belts can hold different amounts of water packs. Make sure to check before you order to make sure you get the belt that can support you hydration needs)
- Wipe any excess water or accidental spills once your water has been secured. Many people will likely be carrying their phones, keys and other important items with them. Keep the non-water sections as dry as possible to keep your valuables safe.
- Insert your phone, keys, wallet, phone and other “must-have” items. You want to do your best to ONLY carry the items you absolutely need. You do not want your belt sagging down and/or bouncing around by being overly filled. Remember, running belts are only for your necessities. Many belts will have holes to run your headphone cords if you use them. Make sure to run these accordingly, as they will help you avoid tangles and prevent the wires from getting in your way.
- Run!! 🙂
More Advantages of Using a Running Belt
If you’ve ever had to run while carrying your phone or water bottle in your hand or your pocket, you already know where we are going with this section. Many smartphones are the size of small tablets and can easily weigh down your pants or running shorts. Carrying anything in your hands during running can greatly affect your comfort or stride. When trying to focus on a PR or long distance run, the last thing you want to worry about is carrying something bulky or distracting. Running belts can be the perfect solution to this problem.
Many runners are focused on their time. The last thing you may want to do is have to stop in the middle of a great run to grab a drink of water (or possibly a snack) to get you through the second half of your run. Running belts make it easy to store your hydration, gel packs and snacks so you can fuel on-the-go.
If you are a runner that does have to carry some personal items with you on your run and you enjoy listening to podcasts or music, running belts are great for keeping you organized. With separate pouches and storage compartments, you can keep your keys, cards and wires organized and out of the way. It will also prevent you from losing them when they inevitably bounce out of your pocket along your route or trail.
Looking for ways to build your running endurance? Click here to read our article on “How long does it take to build running endurance”.