Fuel Belt Comparison

When you start off running, the distances are so short that you don’t need to carry extra stuff with you. Of course, running 1 mile may seem like a lot when you’re starting out. However, the time it takes you to finish this distance doesn’t require you to carry things like water with you. I didn’t think about carrying anything with me until I got past running the 10K distance.  Last year, when I reached the 10K distance, I wasn’t carrying anything, even though I probably should have.  As I have mentioned before, when I signed up to run in the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon, I did so with every intention of training seriously. However, last fall, the wheels fell off my training after completing my first 10K in early October. So, I never got a training run much past 6 miles before taking on my first half marathon.

After completing that first half marathon and with plans of running the Disneyland Half Marathon, I knew that I would need to make an investment in running gear. One of those gear related items was a getting a proper fuel belt to carry water and other items to fuel my runs.  After buying my first running shoes at my new favorite store…Run With Us in Pasadena, I kept going back for more things. All of the staff are runners. So, I asked about which fuel belt to buy. After talking it over with one of the staff, I purchased the Nathan Speed 2 Waistpack with Two 10 – Ounce Nutrition Flasks.

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While I wasn’t super thrilled with the grey color, I figured that it would only be used while I went on long runs.  Here are some of the specs for this fuel belt option…

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The Nathan Speed 2 pack ensures that fluid is one-hand accessible, close at hand, and never in the way. The belt is engineered for a bounce-free fit with a limited stretch elasticized waist belt with moisture-wicking backing for comfort. The Speed 2 comes with two 10-ounce flasks for hydration that are easy to access in the molded holsters. Additional details include a water-resistant pill pocket in the front, an incorporated, waterproof medical ID card, reflective elements, a powerstretch mesh pocket, and an interior flat pocket.

 
Key Features:
  • Limited-stretch elasticized Velcro-fastened waist belt
  • Two 10-ounce (300 mL) nutrition flasks
  • Molded holsters
  • Front water-resistant pill pocket
  • Power Stretch Mesh pocket
  • Interior flat pocket
  • Incorporated, waterproof ID/medical emergency card
  • Reflective detail
Size Specifications:
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Small: 26 to 32 inches
  • Medium: 32 to 38 inches
  • Large: 38 to 44 inches
  • X Large: 44 to 50 inches

I used this belt from the time my training run of 8 miles while preparing for the Dumbo Double Dare. The first time I took this belt out for a run, I found out that the main pouch and water bottles needed to be in front. I started of that first run with the bottles in the back. However, both water bottles ended up falling out of their holster within my first mile. I think that because of that, I was constantly worried that the bottles would fall out. Having the bottles in the front was much better. Although, unlike the claim of the belt being “bounce free,” I found that the belt bounced a little at the start of my training runs with the bottles full of liquid. However, once I used the bottles once in the run, the bounciness went away. Other than that, I found the belt to perfectly fine. The front pouch had enough room for the various fueling options I tried out, including Gu‘s, Sport Beans, and Blocks. In addition to that, after my 9.5 mile run from hades, I added a paper towel for wiping off sweat if needed and there was plenty of room for that. The pouch was, as advertised, water-resistant.  All in all, this was a good running fuel belt and fit what I needed at the time.

However, as I’m now preparing for a full marathon, my needs have changed. As I run longer distances, I need to have more fuel with me as I go. Also, since I’ve never done the full marathon at Walt Disney World, I’m not sure how much fuel, outside of water and Powerade, there will be for us. I know that the two runDisney half marathons provided one Cliff Shots station on the course. So, I’m not sure if I will even need extra fuel for the full marathon. I’m preparing for that scenario. Therefore, I need a fuel belt that had the ability to add water flasks, but where those flasks could be removed. After all, I know that runDisney does a fantastic job at providing more than enough liquids for their races. As I’ve read various blogs and reviews online, I came across the Fitletic Ultimate Race Belt II.

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Here are the specs for this fuel belt…

Fuel Up with ConFITdenceEngineered for the Endurance Athlete, our superior, patented design lets you comfortably carry enough fuel to unleash your performance.

• Exclusive Dura-Comfort Technology and ergonomic design contours to your body to ELIMINATE BOUNCE
• Water Resistant Neoprene Pocket for phone and essentials
• Fits Most Phones, including iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S4
• Interior Pocket to secure ID /Cash
• Versatile Extra Mini-Pouch for keys, additional fuel, and more
• 5 Exterior Energy Gel Loops for On-the-Fly Access
• Ultra Soft Dual-Adjust Waistbelt
• High Visibility Reflectors
• Race Bib Toggles

· Belt Dimensions – Adjustable Band (24 – 42 inches)
· Pocket Dimensions: (6 x 3 Inches)

 
At the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon Health Expo, I saw that this was one of the vendors. So, I made sure to stop by their booth. I’m glad that I did. After all, this belt is one that not only has a larger storage pouch, but has race bib toggles which will allow me to wear this during a race and not have to put pins into my race shirts. This belt is exactly what I was looking for in that the water flasks can be added to the belt and also removed. So, I ordered a set of two for this last week’s 17 mile long run.
 
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With my bottles ordered, I was ready to give this new belt a try. So, the downside is that the water flasks are smaller than the ones I was using prior. Once I got them in the mail, I was worried that I would need to refill them during my 17 mile run and boy was I right about that. There is an easy fix to that in that I could order another set and should be fine for these long runs. I did like that the flasks had a band that held them down in their holster. So, unlike the Nathan belt, I didn’t have to worry about the water bottles falling out. The bands are easy enough to use that I did not have any issues getting the bottles in and out of their holster. The pouch for this belt was larger than the one I had in the Nathan belt. I really liked how much room there was in this pouch to store what I needed. I used one of the outside pockets to hold my paper towel (for wiping sweat away) and stored my ID, a credit card, some cash, and 4 packs of Gu in the pouch for my 17 mile run. They do have loops on the outside that I think are supposed to be used to store things like Gu. However, I couldn’t get the Gu to fit in the loops this time around. However, I really liked having the loops to store the empty Gu packaging until I found a trash can. Lastly, unlike the Nathan belt, this one didn’t bounce at all during my run! Score!
 
So, which one was better? Well, in my opinion, the Fitletic belt is the superior belt. I like the flexibility of being able to use the belt with or without water flasks, the fact that does not bounce at all, the ability to use this belt during a race with race bib toggles, and the color of the belt. I’ll be using this belt on Sunday for the Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon to test out the bib toggles. Can’t wait!
 
It should be noted that I have not been paid by either Nathan nor Fitletic for this review. I purchased both fuel belts. So, the views I express here are my own and based on my exprience with these two fuel belts.
 
You can purchase the Fitletic Ultimate II Running Belt here.
 
You can purchase the Nathan Speed 2 belt here.
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My Next Race
Rock n Roll San Diego 5K and Half MarathonJune 3rd, 2017
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2017 Disneyland Half MarathonSeptember 3rd, 2017
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Official PR’s
5K - 32:46 - 2012 Pasadena 5K

10K - 1:15:42 - 2013 Pasadena 10K

Half Marathon - 2:43:25 - 2013 Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon

Full Marathon - 6:21:46 - 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon
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