So-called "serious" runners always look at me funny when I'm out on a long run wearing a hydration pack for my beloved Cytomax. If these camels can get by carrying only one 20-ounce bottle or nothing at all, great. But I'm a guy who needs my fluids on a 20-miler.
I was heartened, therefore, to read about a recent study, published in Running Times magazine, that shows that wearing a hydration pack is your best bet, performance-wise.
The study by the High Altitude Performance Lab at Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., showed that, even though wearing a hydration pack is heavier than carrying a bottle or a fuel belt, it "did better than the hand-held options based on performance data of heart rate, perceived exertion, VO2 and ventilation rate (ease of movement of lungs)."
The reason the packs, which sit higher on the back, performed better?
According to the study: "Because bottle or bottles carried in hand are held away from the body, as opposed to the on-body pack, there was an increased effort from the torque and arm momentum. That requires greater consumption of oxygen, and raises heart rate and breathing more than when a load is closer to center mass."