Don’t Make this Dangerous Training Mistake – Running with Weight

Just wanted to check in real quick as I am seeing a dangerous training habit going on out there.

Hopefully we can get the word out now and avoid some potential injuries:

Are you running with a Heavy weight vest? DON’T!

Running with a Heavy ruck? DON’T!

Running with ankle weights? DON’T!

Running from a pack of wild Alpaca’s? OK

Get my drift?

Running with heavy stuff (weight vest) can be hard on your joints and ligaments – leading to serious injury.

I would only run with a 20lb weight vest for 400 meters if your body has been slowly conditioned and built up to it. I would start with 10 lbs and run 200 meters. Over time I would increase that load and limit it to 400 meter runs during a CrossFit style workout.

I would only run a mile for Murph with a 20 lb vest a few times a year if you have a large base.

I would hike fast (not run) with a weighted ruck (20 to 30 lbs) in hills.

Putting on a 20 lb vest and running with it for 3 plus miles – several times a week – is not going to be good for you in the long haul. It will shred your ligaments, cartilage and tendons and you will be injured in the long run.

I would rather see you pull a sled or concrete filled tire for a mile as it will build your body and not break it down like running with a vest.

To quote Ian Sharman (Ultrarunning coach)
“There’s definitely a slightly higher risk of injury if a weight vest is used for running, so a very gradual progression of weight is best. Personally I don’t run with a weight vest, just walk or power-hike. To get similar benefits when running I use an hydration pack which fits better, bounces less and only has a small increase in weight compared to running without it.”

So drop the weighted vest for long runs — drop the heavy ruck for long runs.

Run further with no weights. Get out on a trail run. Get on a C2 rower for 30 minutes plus. Pull a sled for distance.

There are alternatives that will keep you in the game when you are older and wiser

If you’re training hard for an upcoming event (Kokoro, GORUCK, etc) stop running with heavy weights and start following one of the SGPT Prep Courses now. You’ll be in better shape for the challenge and have a better chance of avoiding injury.

Check them out here.

Question: I’m running with 20 lb vest right now and want to work my way up to 50# when running weighted should I be concerned it my knees?

I would not do that as you are putting undo stress on your knees. Put 20 lbs in a ruck and hike for distance in the hills.