Run with Your Pump
Updated: Dec 20, 2020
I always prefer that athletes keep their insulin pumps on while exercising or playing sports. Even though you are exercising, your body still depends on insulin to deliver energy to cells! This is especially important for endurance athletes, whose events and practices can last two or more hours without a water break, time-out or half-time to reconnect.
You may find a bouncing pump unbearable to run with. Not to mention, pulling your shorts down. Running with a pump in hand isn't ideal either. Even worse, a waterproof pump clipped to a swimsuit can create unwanted drag.
This past summer, I sampled a few different belts to keep my pump on and out of the way while swimming, biking and running. Here are the pros and cons of each.
The SPIBELT is an elastic band with an added zipper pouch and buckle.
Pros: There's a variety of features you can choose from based on your goals. There is one that includes a race bib toggles, another with a second pouch for glucose and fuel, and one even includes 6 oz. water bottles. Cons: This belt didn't really solve the problem. My pump was still bouncing everywhere when I ran. My second complaint is that the elastic band was digging into my hips and stomach--and that was before I tightened it to solve the bouncing problem.
The FlipBelt is a low profile belt with hidden pockets throughout its circumference.
Pros: Lots of pockets, low profile (important for swimming), and even a key hook!
Cons: This isn't a very durable product and based on the reviews, I don't think I was the only one with issues. I had a pocket ripped out when removing my insulin pump, and others reported that the zipper broke. It was comfortable when on the hips, but it would frequently ride up to my waist, which made it itchy. I might have benefited from a larger size.
Nathan's Belt has two zipper pockets and two flip pockets. This is the belt I settled on by the end of my triathlon season. Despite how wide it was, it was the most comfortable of the three, even in hot weather.
Pros: Low profile. Stays in place so well, I forgot it was there. The two zipper pockets are on opposite sides, one for the pump and one for fuel.
Cons: The flip pockets are pretty much inaccessible while in motion. The material is a little thicker so it held more water when transitioning from swim to bike. This one is a little more expensive.
Our pup if finally old enough to run with me, so-of course-I have all the gear for it. This includes a proper running belt. It has a pouch that comfortably fits an insulin pump, glucose snacks and keys. It is not as comfortable as the Nathan running belt, but it's a great way to keep my running buddy with safe and close.