How To Carry Water While Running

How to carry water while running. Whether you’re a recreational runner or a professional triathlon athlete, you must promptly replace the water you lose from perspiration and urine as you run. Otherwise, you’ll lose a large amount of water and your body will get dehydrated.

To avoid getting dehydrated while running, you may drink sufficient water before and after an easy run. But if you’re going to do a more intense run, you must bring along a sufficient water supply.

This is necessary, except when you’re running an official marathon race where there are water stations you can readily obtain water to drink.

When you’re working out on a trail or in an isolated running area where there are no water stations, you may bring as much water as the intensity that your workout requires.

This means that (depending on your specific level of health and fitness) you’ll need to bring along more water as you run longer distances. There’s no cut and dried rule to set how much water you must carry. But runners had been using various ways of carrying water while running.

Ways Of Carrying Water While Running

Your running fitness and preference may fit into one of the ways runners typically carry their running gear including water- while running. Here they are:

Hand-Carried Water Bottle

how to carry water while running

Most short-distance runners hand-carry small bottled water. Runners-on-the go prefers water in disposable plastic containers. Others use a hand-carried water bottle attached to a glove.

While carrying bottles by hand appears comfortable, it hampers balance by adding weight into the holding hand.

This makes you recruit and develop more muscles on the side of the holding hand thereby creating an imbalance in your arms. It’s recommended that you alternately use both hands in carrying your water bottle.

Water Belt-bag

ways of carrying water while running

Medium distance runners typically carry water bottles in belt bags. There are variations
in water belt-bags you can choose from:

  • There is a single bottle that you can pull from the bag and bring it to your mouth. This entails a negligible delay in your running although you need to slow down a bit to hold the bottle.
  • There is also a single bottle with a straw suspended near your mouth. Positioning the straw in your mouth takes a shorter time and lesser distraction than drinking directly from the bottle
  • There are belt-bags that feature two bottles. This type of bag allows you to fill one bottle with water and use the other to carry energy drinks. You may also connect the water bottle to a straw placed near your mouth.

Most belt bags provide a space for some personal cards and keys. Some runners position water belt bags at either side of the rear of the body. Placing the bag at the side may hamper your hand swing.

Putting it at the rear tilts you backward and may unduly cause you to overly lean forward and tend to land on your toes. It’s recommended that you carry the belt bag on your stronger side.

Belt bags tend to bounce and loosen from your waist. Make sure that the bottle fits securely in place and the bag itself embraces snugly your hip.


Long-distance runners prefer carrying water in a backpack. This carrier pack allows the user to bring larger bottles and more personal items (smartphone, car keys, snacks, personal items).

Carrying water in backpacks is more comfortable because it doesn’t interfere with your hand swing. However, carrying a backpack tends to let you lean forward and shorten your stride.

Moreover, it exerts additional pressure on your knees and heels; consistently carrying a heavy load while running will either strengthen your entire leg and core or give you sore knees and feet.

Vest Pack – Our Preferred Choice

hydration backpacks

Triathlon athletes tend to prefer carrying their gears-including water containers- in vest packs. The pack tends to pull the user forward. This works for the user when biking as well as when ascending an elevated ground, but it works against the same user when descending down the road.

Carrying a heavy vest pack consistently has a similar effect on the user of a heavy backpack. Doing so will either develop your back, core, and legs or give you back pain and sore legs.

Having identified the possible ways you may carry water while running, You may now figure out how to tell which is the best way to carry your drinking water while running.

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What’s The Best Way To Carry Water While Running

Based on the data we have already established above, we can fairly say that the following conclusions are true:

1.) Running causes your body to lose water and that you need to promptly replace the lost water to be able to continue running. However, you may simply drink sufficient water before an easy run and drink more after the workout.

2.) Not all running workouts are the same. A running workout may be a short distance, a medium distance, ora long-distance run.

3.) Not all runners are the same. Some are short distance runners while others are medium or long-distance runners.

4.) We now know that:

  • A short distance runner may carry a small water bottle by hand or by a water belt-bag.
  • A medium or a long-distance runner needs to carry more water. Hence, he needs a larger carrier like a backpack or a vest pack.
  • A short distance runner may carry water in a backpack or a vest pack. However, these packs are not absolutely necessary to enable him to carry a sufficient amount of water he needs for a short distance workout.
  • A medium or a long-distance runner may carry by hand or belt-bag one bottle of water. However, he needs to carry more amount of water for his type of workout. Hence, he must use either a backpack or a vest pack.

What Works For You Is The Best Way Of Carrying Water While Running

ways of carrying water while running

Now you can tell us what is the best way for you to carry water while running. Whenever you run a short distance, you only need to carry as much water as you need.

You do not have to carry more water than what the particular workout requires. More weight entails more effort on your part and exerting more effort means more fatigue for you. More fatigue requires greater recovery time, more food, and more rest.

Hence, it’s for you to decide whether to carry a bottle in your hand, drink directly from a bottle, or drink-thru a straw connected to a bottle in your belt bag whenever you have a short run.

However, whenever you run longer distances, you must carry more water. Hence, when you do a medium or long-distance run, you may choose to carry water with either a backpack or a vest pack.

Final Words

Now, we know that you need to promptly replace the lost water while running but there is no single correct way of carrying drinking water while running for everyone.