Monday, 8 August 2011

Differences running with a backpack

Again this morning I ran to work with a rucksack containing my work clothes, shoes, wallet, key, phone etc.  It is becoming quite a commonplace practise now.  The pack does not bother me too much, but there are a few differences in my running technique when I run with a pack compared to when I run "au naturel" (without a pack).

What I noticed is that I tend to bend my knees more when running with a pack, and to take smaller quicker steps.  This helps to reduce the shock on my knees from landing with a little additional weight.  I don't even have to try to alter the way I run though, it just happens naturally.  The pack does have a tendency to bounce a little bit, and usually it bounces in the opposite direction to which I am moving, but by tightening the straps I can keep the amount of bounce to a minimum.  The most annoying thing is when the weight in the pack is not distributed evenly and the pack keeps falling to one side.  I make a conscious effort nowadays before setting off to make sure that everything is packed well inside.

If I feel that my knees are becoming sore then I will try to cut it down, and to run without a pack.  For instance I can leave a pair of shoes and a spare change of clothes at work.  For the time being however it is great training for the MDS and my body seems to be coping fine with it.

In my mind I have broken the MDS training down into the following areas, which I want to make sure I cover in the months ahead of the race:

1) Running with a pack - already in progress
2) Heat acclimatisation - I plan to go out to Morocco early to get acclimatised
3) Running long distances on consecutive days - once I get back from South America I will start increasing the weekly mileage and time on my feet - I will do some back to back long runs.  Although the Vuelta Sudamerica is a bike ride not a run, it will get me used to exercising for 5 or 6 hours a day
4) Running on sand and uneven ground - I generally run on the road at the moment, but once a week I do go running in the forest - as time goes on I will increase the amount of trail running I do - running in the sand will be hard to do in Switzerland but running in the snow will be easy to do and is fairly similar in terms of the extra effort required.  I can make lots of trips to Einsideln and run in safety next to the cross country tracks without the danger of falling on hard ice - last christmas I really enjoyed running in the snow back home in Wales

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