When I first began running (here in SoFL) I did not drink anything before or during a run, which was fine because my runs were usually around 5 to 8 miles. At that time I knew very little about running and I felt that drinking anything would make me feel bad, so I didn't. Even when I started training for my first marathon, I did not drink anything for runs up to 12 miles. Even in our SoFL hot and humid summer! I only began drinking during runs when I started doing longer long runs, more than 12 miles. I ran alone mostly and not on A1A where there are drinking fountains all along the path, so I would go out early before my run and stash water bottles (which I had put in the freezer the night before) along my running route. I also did not use any sports drinks or gels for those first couple marathons. And I had no problems. I ran 3:56 for my first marathon (at age 39)--New York City 1993, which was the warmest NYC Marathon on record, up in the high 70's I believe; and 3:37 for my second--again NY the following year, 1994, and the second warmest with temps in the low 70's. (No chip time then, by the way!) I remember trying to drink some at each water stop, but missing several, as I wasn't ready for it when it came up and would be in the middle of the road or on the wrong side so I would just keep going. I did just fine in both marathons. Of course I had trained all summer in South Florida, so 75 degree temps with 50% humidity felt great!
Fast forward many, many marathons later, when I began doing ultras, I learned to carry water with me, as a lot of ultras at that time had long periods (many miles) between aid stations. I started out with a single bottle in a pack around my waist, which I did not like at all (it bounced), then went to a Fuel Belt, with four little bottles evenly spaced around the belt, which I also didn't like. I eventually started using a handheld, and got so attached to it that I now carry it on all my runs... it has become a part of me. It just works for me. I like to be able to drink when I want to. It's not that I drink a lot, it's just that it's there when I want it and I can take sips instead of having to take in as much as I can at the water stops.
|Me in my huaraches with my handheld|