Running With a Backpack
|January 10th, 2023|
There was some discussion on how to set up your backpack to reduce bouncing. Tips:
Some backpacks have straps you can buckle across your front, or you can get add-on ones. Wear them super snug.
Put your water bottle inside where it's more central and less likely to fall out.
Figure out if there are things you don't need to be transporting so you can have a lighter pack.
Use a fancy backpack with good padding and a rigid back.
Hold the shoulder straps as you run to absorb jostling.
These all seem like fine ideas, but I don't do any of them. My backpack is relatively low-end ($27) and non-rigid, without any sternum or waist straps. I keep my water bottle in the outside pocket, I have many little things in it that I could probably carry fewer of, and I don't hold the shoulder straps. And yet I probably do the majority of my running with a backpack on: I'm commuting and I have things I need to bring with me. Even when I was trying to run fast and repeatedly beat my personal best times I had my pack.
What works for me instead is that I've learned to run with a gait that doesn't bounce my backpack. I take a lot (~190 bpm) of short strides which means I have less time to fall between steps, and I generally stay pretty level. I think this is probably also beneficial from a perspective of minimizing the impact forces on your joints (ex: a paper I skimmed). Whether my backpack is heavy or light, it mostly stays put on my back.
It's still less pleasant to run with the extra weight of a backpack since it's more work, but if I think of it as intentional exercise (a bit like a weighted vest you already have with you!) I don't mind it too much.
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