Running with a Backpack

From our middle school days of running late for the school bus, we’ve learned that it’s pretty damn hard to not look ridiculous running with a backpack.

While that is in fact true, I’ve recently discovered that I don’t give a damn what people think. Moreover, there are several tricks to running with a backpack that make running much easier and the result a bit less ridiculous looking.

First, you need a small backpack (e.g. hydration pack with the hydration part taken out) that can be tightened up and carry most of the weight high on your shoulders. Second, you need to run without moving your shoulders too much, which is good running form anyway. There are a few more tips in the video below from one of the toughest dudes on the planet, David Goggins.

I’ve recently started running to and from BJJ training. The long route is exactly one mile. I pack light. Just my gi (single weave), belt, empty water bottle, small towel, belt, knee pads. The backpack I use is the poorly named Camelbak Rim Runner. I took out the hydration container, and it fits everything nicely, and stays real tight (no movement). Today, I ran a 6:30 minute mile to practice in jeans, on busy city streets, slowing for a traffic light twice, and it felt easy. It serves as a great warm up, and on the way back it serves as my last challenge. I imagine I’m in the finals of a BJJ tournament and running an under 6 minute mile will win the gold. Being one for efficiency, it’s a hell of a good way to get cardio in every day on top of the afternoon BJJ session.

It makes me feel great, and I honestly don’t give a damn how I look doing it. I now run to training, I run to work, unless of course there’s too much rain or ice, but it would take a lot of either to stop me.

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