Keeping drinks cold on long (2-3+ hour) runs has always been an issue for me. Running performance dramatically decreases as temperatures rise, so staying cool and hydrated is extremely important.
I’m sorry this tip is coming after the summer months as the weather is finally starting to cool down. But after struggling all summer, I finally figured it out!
In the past, I’ve tried filling my CamelBak with Gatorade and a bunch of ice cubes. This works for shorter runs (60 to 90 minutes) and the cold feels great on your back! However, on longer 2-3+ hour runs, the liquids just didn’t stay cold.
Eventually I decided the CamelBak just wasn’t for me and I tried the Fuel Belt Helium. I feel in love with the Fuel Belt, but still struggled with how to keep the fluids cold. There is nothing worst than hot Gatorade at mile 20.
After a particularly long and dehydrating run, I was trying work out “hide coolers along my route” or “meet me at this intersection” with my wife. She simply asked, “Why don’t you just put them in the freezer the night before?”. Hmmm. I’m not sure why. It never occurred to me!
My only concern was that these frozen blocks wouldn’t melt fast enough and I’d have nothing to drink. But I decided to give it a shot and threw my Fuel Belt containers in the freezer. I froze two with water and two with Gatorade G2 (for the later miles). The next morning I put these frozen solid blocks into my Fuel Belt and headed out the door for a 19 miler.
I try to take at least a few sips every 3 miles, so at Mile 3 was the first test. Did the ice melt enough for a drink or am I out of luck? I tried for a drink and was granted an icy cold mouthful of water! Success!
Awesome, the ice is melting fast enough. But is it melting too fast? Over the next 10 or so miles every drink was cold and refreshing and I could still hear ice rattling around in the containers. Finally, by Mile 18 (almost 3 hours in the sun) the ice had completely melted, but the liquid was still pretty cold. Success all around!
I think the small size of the Fuel Belt containers (6 oz) allows for the fast (but not too fast) melting. Maybe this is some engenius design by the Fuel Belt engineers, but probably not. Either way, I love my Fuel Belt that much more now!
I’d have to say that having cold fluids on these long runs has really made a difference. I’m frustrated that it took me so long to find such a simple solution. Oh well, live and learn!