Hydration and Nathan Speed 2 Review

by Carissa

Hydration is serious business for me.  I had a start-stop relationship with running in my twenties.  Attempts at longer distances or harder efforts would leave me with bad stomach cramps for hours upon hours.  It took years for me to make the correlation between my cramps and hydration.  I was surprised that though water made my cramps lessen, my body never cued me by feeling thirsty.  Once I started understanding my body as a runner, I learned that I must hydrate before, during, and after my run to feel my best. 

I took baby steps with my mid run hydration needs.  First I used a handheld bottle.  This was convenient though not all that comfortable once my runs reached double digit mileage.  By the time I was training for my first marathon I knew a hydration belt was a must.   I bought one with a single bottle that slid on its side into a holder around my waist.  This belt required adjustments during running and had the annoying habit of unexpectedly propelling itself onto the ground mid-run.  Turning around to retrieve my water bottle a few steps back while in the middle of a twenty mile run just didn’t work for me.  I brought the belt back to the store and exchanged it for another belt.  This belt secured a water bottle in an angled holster.  Problem solved, right?  Not really.   
My water bottle graveyard.  Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to find the right product.
My new belt wasn’t comfortable.  The whole run I would be fiddling with it trying to find the perfect adjustment.  One day I went for a long run with Tanya.  She was wearing the Nathan Speed 2 hydration belt.  As I ran along side her it blew my mind that she didn’t touch her belt other than to take a drink of water.  What was it about her belt that kept it in place and feeling comfortable? 
Front view of the Nathan Speed 2
Further inspection revealed an elastic waist with velcro closure.  Even though I already owned a belt I was willing to fork over $45 for one that was comfortable.  It was love at first run.  I spoke so highly of it to Jodi that she bought one too.  Like me, Jodi had tried many different water bottles but nothing was both practical and comfortable. 

Jodi has the next generation of the Speed 2 called the Speed 2R Auto Cant.  (I’ll refer to it as the Speed 2R.)  The main difference between these two belts is that the Speed 2 has a back pocket for storage and the 2R has a front pocket.  I think I would prefer having the pocket in the front.  It’s always a little awkward having to dig around in the back pocket.  Another difference is that the Speed 2 has two 10 oz. bottles and the Speed 2R has two 8 oz. bottles with race caps.  The race caps look cool but in Jodi’s experience they weren't water tight. 
Back view of Nathan Speed 2.  I've got my iPhone and 2 Gus in the pocket.
If you are interested in owning one of these belts, one warning for you...don’t do what I did.  I was so excited about getting a new comfortable belt that I failed to notice they come in different sizes!  I was very disappointed when I realized that I had brought home a Large by accident. 

Last but not least, be careful when mixing running skirts and the Speed 2 belt. The belt can stealthfully suck the running skirt up around your waist and your cute little tush with the short running shorts will be hanging out for the world to see.   
Don't make this mistake.  Oops!

How do you stay hydrated on a long run?  What do you think of the Nathan Speed 2?   


  1. I have an Amphipod hydration belt, and I love it! It has 4 (8oz) bottles, but they can be removed individually to fit your needs. I usually only keep two on at a time. It also has a removable pouch that can be wherever you want it on the belt... in front or back. The bottles "pop" onto a bracket to stay secure. I have accidentally dropped one twice (didn't get it on all the way and it popped off). Also, don't put the bottles & caps in the dishwasher... I melted the cap the first time. Luckily the nice people at Portland Running Company had an extra cap they could give me. This belt also comes in different sizes.

    1. Sounds like a great belt Niki. I like that the bottles can be removed and that the pouch is movable. I agree about the people at Portland Running Company being nice. I LOVE stores with good customer service.

  2. Did you have any opinion as to whether the auto-cant feature is worth the extra money? I was going to buy one from Amazon, but the auto-cant version is almost $15 more and is not free-shipping eligible. I was not sure if this feature made the belt significantly better or not. I like having the pocket in the front, but am undecided whether the bottles work better in the front or back. In the front the angle might actually make it more difficult to use.

    1. We can't speak to that since none of us have the auto-cant feature. My Nathan's hydration belt is one model newer than Carissa's so my pocket is in the front and the bottles are on the side. It stays put and I have no problem accessing the pocket or the bottles. I hope that's helpful?