Staying hydrated while running is incredibly important for your health and to help you achieve your best times. The good news is: it’s never been easier to keep hydrated while running than it is right now with the availability of good quality hydration bladders like the Crystal Creek 3L Hydration Bladder.
Hydration bladders enable you to sip from a tube near your mouth while running. No need to stop running or hiking, no bottle caps to fiddle with, no backpacks to rummage around in, just sip as and when you need to with minimal fuss.
Water is the best fluid to take with you to keep hydrated. But it can get a little boring and there are manufactured hydration bladder drinks that taste great, can deliver the electrolytes you need and give you a boost in energy. It can all get a little confusing and it’s easy to overthink what you should be drinking.
Sports hydration bladder drinks that are designed for runners will include the basic ingredients:
A lot of them also add additives and preservatives that you could do without. So making your own fresh drink blend is often a better idea. Overall I’d recommend trying a variation of sports drinks, homemade drinks, and water to keep things interesting and see how your body responds to different types of drinks.
Here are 5 different drinks to try out in your hydration bladder. There are some ideas to help you use household ingredients which is fun, see which you prefer most and feel free to experiment a little. If you have any recipes I’d love to hear them, just drop me a comment at the end of the article.
It’s an obvious choice but I have to include water on the list of the top drinks to use in your bladder. Water can’t be beaten overall. Some sports drinks are more effective at hydrating you quicker, taste better, and deliver more nutrients, but you can’t beat good old H2O for a natural refreshing drink.
Beet juice is known to be a great endurance-boosting vegetable. It’s packed with good nutrition and properties that keep you hydrated and energized. Here is a simple way to make a beet juice drink to sip on from your hydration bladder while running:
- Beet Juice
- A squeeze of lemon
- A pinch of salt
Coconut and Honey
If you’re after something sweet and tasty then a coconut and honey drink is going to hit the spot. Just add the following to your bladder:
- Coconut water
- A squeeze of honey
- A pinch of salt
There is a lot you can do with apple juice to make different drinks you will enjoy sipping on as you run or hike. Here is a mix that’s packed with minerals and hydrating nutrients.
- 1 cup apple juice
- 3 cups water
- 2 lemons juiced
- Pinch of natural sea salt
As I mentioned earlier, most sports drinks have been specially formulated to deliver those much-needed electrolytes and keep you hydrated. I’m not going to recommend a specific brand, my advice it to sample a few and see which you enjoy the most and which work for you.
Keeping Your Hydration Bladder Clean
Keeping your bladder clean is important to keep it smelling fresh, your drinks tasting fresh, and to extend its life. You should clean it after every use, even if you’re just using water. Otherwise, bacteria can start to breed inside the bladder and it will taint the taste of your drinks. It’s not much fuss though so don’t worry, here are some basic steps to follow.
Check If Your Bladder Is Dishwasher Safe
Some bladders can be put through a dishwasher cycle, such as the Crystal Creek 3L Bladder. If this is the case and you have a dishwasher then this is the easiest solution. Be sure to let the bladder dry out naturally afterwards.
Cleaning Your Bladder Manually
If you don’t have a dishwasher or your bladder isn’t dishwasher safe then you need to clean it by hand. Here is a basic solution you can mix that’s really effective at cleaning a bladder, including all the hard to reach places like the bends in the tubes.
Step 1 – Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with some hot water and flush the solution through the bladder. Make sure the solution travels through the entire bladder and give it a little shake to stir it around the main body.
Step 2 – Leave the solution for around 30 minutes.
Step 3 – Flush the bladder through with warm water a few times making sure all of the solution has been completely flushed out. You can use a little soap if there is any stubborn grit or staining in the bladder you need to shift.
Step 4 – When you’re satisfied your bladder is clean, place it somewhere to dry out naturally. It’s important it dries out completely as stagnant water is what causes bacteria to form, which can cause the bladder to smell and cause drinks to taste ‘off’.
Bonus Tip to Keep Your Hydration Bladder Clean and Hygienic If You’re in a Hurry
Stagnant water is the main culprit for cultivating bacteria and even after cleaning out your bladder following the steps above it can be hard to completely dry out the bladder. The tubes, particularly any bends in the tubes, can be hard to dry out completely.
A simple and effective tip I have to help out is to store your bladder in the freezer. After washing it just place it in the freezer, including all the tubes and any other pieces. The ice-cold temperatures stop any bacteria from forming. Meaning you have a cleaner, fresher, more hygienic, and odor-free hydration bladder with no fuss.