• Martin Spierings

What's a FuelBelt for? No, seriously...

Updated: Nov 12


A picture of the useless thing (flickr crab68)

The hydration belt, of which FuelBelt is the best known, is a ridiculous invention for triathletes and runners that consists an elastic strap with tiny little holders that fit tiny little 7 oz (200 ml) bottles. The most pointless use for them involves filling them with fluids. After fumbling with each of your various four bottles you'd probably have enough fluids to sustain you for about an hour of exercise. In this time, if you were using it for racing, you probably would've passed by two or three aid stations, offering similar sugary substances, handed straight into the palm of your hand by a volunteer.


BUT ALL THE PROS USE THEM!

Yes. Yes they do. Mercifully for them they are paid to. But how do they minimize the damage? Well, I couldn't find any evidence of their sponsored athletes actually using any FuelBelt products (aside the elastic band) while racing. If they do use them, they're using the two bottle over the four bottle version (interesting) and they fill them with gels. So, yeah, at least that way the contents of the bottles will last them the entire event. At the end they lug an empty belt of empty bottles over the finish line for the cameras. Personally, I suggest using whatever is on the course unless you're getting paid to.


OH, NO BUT I *MUST* HAVE THE STRAWBERRY FLAVORED GU BRAND I'VE BEEN SPECIFICALLY TRAINING WITH.

Grow a pair, ironperson, vanilla is not going to kill you. Or, if you're really that sensitive to various food flavor additives, find out what flavor gels they are giving out on the course and train with those. Try and get the most out of your over priced entry fee.


BUT WHERE AM I GOING TO STORE MY GELS?

In your pockets. They have them built into your tri suit now to justify charging you $150 for a piece of lycra.


HANG ON, DOESN'T HEATHER JACKSON WEAR AND WIN IN A FUEL BELT?

Well, she wins in a belt. There's not actually any fuel attached to it and in reality she seems to prefer taking fluid from paper cups at an aid station. Still, that doesn't stop FuelBelt sponsoring her. I'm waiting on the wind tunnel test results to see how much faster that piece of elastic is compared to others.

BUT WHERE AM I GOING TO STORE MY GELS?

In your pockets. They have them built into your tri suit now to justify charging you $150 for a piece of lycra.


BUT MY RUN LEADER AT THE FLEET FEET RUNNING GROUP TOLD ME WE NEEDED ONE FOR OUR TRAINING RUNS?

Shut up.


SO HOW SHOULD I DRINK DURING MY WORKOUTS, WISE GUY?

You probably won't perish of dehydration for any run under an hour. If you're going longer than that you might very well know of water fountains along the way. Train how you race. Take gels and wash them down with water if you plan on doing gels race day. If you plan on drinking your calories, or there's no water on your route, I like to train with the handheld water bottle which conform to your hand and holds 12-16oz. You'll notice this is what most of the serious ultra runners go for. They take a little getting used to but after a while you hardly notice them. Having said all this, a recent 2020 study showed no differences in the performance of any of the hydration carrying options. So do what you like if you must carry your own water. It's not gonna make any difference.


© 2020 by TriCoachMartin. Website by: Spierings Communications

  • Facebook
  • Instagram