You have probably noticed a lot of serious and high performance runners wearing backpacks. These are increasingly common during training runs and races. But you might be wondering how these could be comfortable and why they don’t decrease performance.
These are very good questions to ask. You are probably like so many other runners, in that the less you are carrying the better you believe you will perform. Let’s face it, extra weight cannot possibly get you better results, or can it? And you probably don’t like the idea of something bouncing around on your back.
Your observations are indeed correct, but only if you consider the traditional style backpack for everyday use. Even specialty products for hiking will really not work well when you are actually running.
So, how can something that looks inconvenient possibly be able to improve your performance? Make sure you continue reading to find out more.
One of the best ways you can ensure you improve your performance is by staying hydrated and energized. This is the case for training as well as races and it is something professionals take very seriously.
The longer your running distance is the more you will need to refuel in order to keep going at your target speed. There are smaller hydration belts and vests available but they have two very limiting factors. Firstly, running belts have a limited water capacity, and secondly, hydration vests do little more than store your water.
If you have run in a marathon or you are training for longer distance races above 5 miles, then you can give yourself a serious boost. By storing small snacks and energy gels in your backpack you can plan to take in extra fuel at regular distances or times. You will also be able to take small sips of water when you need them, rather than when they are available at water stops.
By staying on top of your hydration needs and keeping your energy levels up you can significantly help overcome that mental wall you will encounter. Having that extra confidence that tells you that you can deal with fatigue and pain will make sure you do not slow down your pace.
Given all the choices and options out there, you might be confused about which product will best suit you. Our research and customer feedback has shown that there is one stand out product that will really work well for you.
Highest Rated Product
One of our favorite products we recommend runners of all levels is the Osprey Rev 6 Hydration Pack. Osprey have long been providing fantastic products for professional and amateur runners, and you will not be disappointed with this product.
The customer reviews at Amazon are extremely positive and you can check out what other runners like you are saying about it on the designated product page.
So what are the most important features?
Built In Water Storage
There are many running accessories that will allow you to bring small to medium size water bottles on a run. In general, these will work pretty well for you and they are better than not having any liquids at all.
What this Osprey hydration pack will give you though, is an integrated water storage system. You simply draw water through a hose that you can access directly at the front on one of the straps.
What is really great about the design is the internal baffles of the storage pouch. These essentially stop the water from sloshing around. If you buy one of the models with large storage capacity, then this becomes very noticeable.
When it comes to running with a back pack comfort is what you should look out for the most. The straps are highly adjustable to different sizes and body shapes. They also have a lot of padding and use breathable materials. This makes them ideal for running where body contact should not cause you any discomfort.
Easily Accessible Pockets
We have seen many runners store their energy gels and snack bars in the small side pockets where you will be able to access them easily. These pockets are attached to the straps at the front and the side of the pack itself.
You will even find reaching to the back ones is very easy and once you have done it a couple of times you will not find it distracting or awkward.
In addition to the built in water bladder there is enough space to store some essentials, which could be other refreshments or items of clothing to deal with different and changing weather conditions.
How much you will be able to fit in is dependent on what size liquid bladder you go for. The smallest size is 1.5 liters, with 6 liters of storage space. Your choice of water storage will be a personal decision that depends on how long your runs usually are and how hot it can get.
When To Use A Running Backpack
While this is entirely up to you, here are some recommendations from experience and feedback from professionals.
For short running distances where you do not need much gear, food or water, it might well be a good idea to leave the back pack behind. Running with no extras can make you feel very liberated and motivated.
But if you are training for a race where you will be using your new gear, then you should get into the habit of wearing it all the time. This helps you get used to it and eventually you will not even notice that you are wearing one.
The more natural the bag becomes to run with the better you will perform at a race event.
Professionals in many different running disciplines are increasingly using wearable hydration gear. While belts and vests will give you quite a bit of practical storage, they do not come close to what you can easily pack in a backpack.
The above-mentioned Osprey product is ideal for giving you that performance boost, and you will notice marked improvement within just a couple of training sessions.