Running with a backpack is an added difficulty but a necessity in some cases. If you’re doing a multi-day trail running route with overnight camping or certain running workouts, you may have no choice but to carry a loaded backpack on your back. Knowing the tricks of running with a backpack will allow you to run safely, efficiently and comfortably.
1. Use A Front Running Backpack Whenever Possible
If you need a running backpack to carry a few basics, a front pack is the best choice. It will support the load better, won’t alter your center of gravity as much, and won’t hurt your back. With the added advantage that it will be more convenient to access at all times and without having to take it off what you carry inside; drink energy bars, your cell phone…
2. Choose A Comfortable Backpack, Appropriate For Your Size And With Good Support
This is especially important if we are talking about running in the mountains or combining trekking with trail running. Trail running backpacks often need to carry camping gear for backpacking as well as food and drink for several days. In addition, running on uneven and hilly terrain increases the strain on your back. For this reason it is important that you choose a backpack that is appropriate for your size.
It is also important that you can secure the backpack to your shoulders, waist and/or chest, so that it swings as little as possible. If it dances on your shoulders, it can cause chafing and a rattling in the kidneys, which is not recommended. At Columbus we have a perfect backpack in the shape of a vest, which adapts perfectly to the body without any problem.
3. Be Scrupulous With Your Choice Of Footwear
Wondering what this has to do with running with a backpack? Actually, more than you might think. When running with a backpack, it will change your center of gravity and so that a bad step does not damage your feet, it is important that you are more careful than ever with the choice of footwear and appropriate socks. In addition, it is recommended that you use petroleum jelly to lubricate your feet and avoid chafing.
4. Pack Your Packing Right
A running backpack will require little to carry but a trail running backpack with camping can have a lot of extra weight. In both cases, but especially the latter, it is important that you pack well. This means first and foremost that you leave out everything unnecessary. Do not carry extra weight unnecessarily. It is also important that you keep an order in it. Try to have a balance of weights in it so that the load is balanced on your back and does not swing to one side. And make sure that there are no elements that get stuck in your back when running.
5. Work Your Core Muscles Well
If running with a backpack is something you do or are going to do regularly, it is important that you make an effort to work your core. Try to tone it properly. Dedicating two workouts a week to working it will be a great decision. The reason? When running with a backpack your center of gravity will shift and the body, unconsciously, will tend to want to return to its natural running position, which will generate a greater tension of the core muscles. If this is not properly toned, it can end up suffering.
6. Choose A Running Backpack With An Integrated Hydration System
Running with a backpack is much easier when you use one that’s right for you. It will also make it easier for you to decide to use one that has an integrated hydration system. This will make it easier for you to drink while running. In addition, these systems are usually prepared to distribute the load related to the drink. Models such as the Lake 4 or the Amanzi 10 are ideal for carrying everything you need in a stable and comfortable way and also have a good hydration system during the race.
7. Improve Your Technique
Improving your running technique is necessary so that running with a backpack is not a problem. It is important to keep your head facing forward and your chest up, with your shoulder blades back. A strong core, as mentioned above, is vital. Squeezing your glutes will help you stride powerfully without dragging your stride.
8. Be Prepared For Backpack Running
If from now on you are going to do it in a race, the ideal is that you also train with a backpack. You can start with small weights and short distances. Gradually add weights and increase distances.
If trail running is your thing, start by running with a backpack on terrain with little elevation gain and few obstacles. Gradually you will be able to run on longer and more demanding terrain. Also start with a light weight and gradually increase it.
9. Strengthen Your Back Muscles
Toning and strengthening your back and shoulder muscles is a necessity rather than a recommendation. It will help you to avoid injury and to feel less fatigue from running with added weight. It is a workout that will also help you to have a more balanced body, as toned in the lower body as in the upper body.
Putting these simple tips into practice will help you to run with a backpack in a comfortable and safe way, avoiding the possible injuries that can be caused by carrying it incorrectly.