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Any Runners Out There?
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Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Any Runners Out There? on 11/29/2005 21:21:42 MST Print View

I enjoy throwing in some running when I'm on a long trip. It breaks up the pace, uses different muscles and lets me cover a lot more ground than when I'm just hiking. Typically I run most downhill and level when I feel like it. Unless I'm out to set some sort of record running accounts for 10-20% of my mileage, but these miles are twice as fast as my hiking ones.

I have found several important differences between hiking and running on trails. First my pack needs to have good support including a hip belt and sternum strap so it doesn't bounce. I also need to build a stronger frame to prevent pack compression of the load onto my shoulders. When I'm moving this fast I prefer to use external water bottles as they're easy to get to. My favorite pack has been the GoLite Speed, but I've recently modified the G6 Whisper to make it more suitable for running (added waist belt, sternum strap, and painted the back of the pack with silicone to prevent slipping). I'd like to hear of others experiences with packs.

I find on running trips I need fewer clothes since my movement generates more heat than hiking. Clothing needs to vent really well if it's raining (which is a great time to run).

I do need more calories when I'm running and I find a hot dinner the best way to easily get them. I use an Esbit or alcohol stove for trips up to three days along with the 1L MSR titanium teakettle. I pack things in tightly so they don't bang around (noisy and potential for damage).

Training for a running trip is also different--it's good to get in quite a few miles with a pack on as the running style (a slight crouch to prevent pack bouncing) is different than regular running.

I'd like to start a dialog with others who run a portion of their backcountry miles to exchange experiences and techniques.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Any Runners Out There? on 11/29/2005 21:43:08 MST Print View

I get running sometimes while backpacking, but not much, only when going down trials that are not too steep.
Id say in a 25 mile day, I jog equal or less than 2.5 miles.
but you inspire me to do more running while on the trail, I will keep this in mind, mabey not plan for it, but when hiking and my legs dont hurt too bad, I may change gears and run a few miles.

and any pack designed for adventure racing will work for running.

Edited by ryanf on 11/29/2005 21:46:15 MST.

Mark Larson
(mlarson) - MLife

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Any Runners Out There? on 11/30/2005 17:45:29 MST Print View

Runner here. I've done "running hikes" before, running about 5-8 out of the 12-18 total miles on multi-day trips. Normal hikes are longer, but I haven't yet integrated running into those longer 20, 30, or xx mile days. I need some more long-term training before I take it to that level. One thing that's great about running hikes is that you can really expand your day-hikes into something pretty special.

I think the pack is one of the biggest challenges. I personally can do without all the back-side mesh that many adventure packs offer, along with many of the other 'features.' That's a lot of unneeded weight for me. I agree on the basic features you highlighted: sternum and waist straps, strong frame, external water bottles. I also like good compression to keep things from jouncing around. Aside from water bottle pockets, I'm really not too interested in outside storage. I tend to stop less on running hikes and don't need frequent access. I prefer to load things up and cinch it down in the main compartment for a nice, tight load.

I think I'd be very happy with something like a GoLite Vision, in a lighter fabric with a smaller front pocket, and minus the back-mesh. I'm also intrigued by the Aarn pack designs with the balanced loads, but haven't been able to try it out.

As for technique, a slight crouch does help me mediate the bouncing. I find that I have to keep mindful of my posture when 'sitting in the bucket' though, making sure to keep my back up and chest strong to help the shoulder and sternum straps do their job. Crumpled form makes for too much slack in the straps, I think, and changes how the pack rides. Having the straps 'dialed in' for walking is a bit different than 'dialed in' for the running bits.

Ryan Faulkner
(ryanf) - F

Locale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
Re: Re: Any Runners Out There? on 11/30/2005 18:10:04 MST Print View

For runners, uhh I mean crazy runners, there is a 100 mile single day race in George Washington National forest Virginia. I have hiked the 71-mile Massanutten trail, and it is great. well the race is along this trail with a few extensions to make it 100 miles.
the current record is 18:12:59. think you can beat it?
more info Here

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Racing on 12/01/2005 09:34:22 MST Print View

I ran 20:05 in that race back in 1997 and have done 12 total "100 miles in a day" races. I do more miles running in a year than backpacking even though I spent 36 days backpacking last year.

I find that if I am in good aerobic shape for running and carry a lightweight pack that breathing never limits my ability to hike even at elevation. With this kind of fitness I can go all day without getting very tired. If I mix in some running it still doesn't kill me. I do make sure that I run on big hills (I have a state park behind my house loaded with trails and with a 4000' mountain--I live at 600'). I also do some training running with a pack of the weight I'd use in a backpack trip.

Most of the gear needed on a backpack trip where I'll be runnning is the same as if I'd just be hiking. Do other runners make any other modifications to their gear? Do you run (?with a pack/?on hills) as part of your training? What combination of shoes/socks/gaiters for wet weather? (Currently I lean toward light shoes with gore-tex liner socks and no gaiters.) What have you found that gives the best protection from rain and breathes well enough to run in? Rain pants? Rain shorts?

Al Shaver
(Al_T.Tude) - F - M

Locale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Trail Running Royalty on 12/17/2005 06:51:02 MST Print View

Fellow Forum Fanatics, Thread initiator Kevin Sawchuk, aside from winning many ultra-endurance running events, recently broke the speed record on the JMT by one hour dropping the time to travel the 211 mile jaunt from Mt. Whitney to Yosemite Valley to 3 days 21 hours! Read Kevin's article on this feat in BPL's print magazine. We have royalty in our midst!

Kevin, Thanks for sharing your pack modification ideas. My G6 pack is my intended sack for my next JMT. I plan to do it unsupported starting with a 10-12 lb.pack. In case you're wondering about this absurdly low weight, I'll have no tent, no sleeping bag, most all of my food will be vegetable oil and I'll run out of food in 5 days. I will be starting with a large amount of calorie free electrolyte salts to add to my water. All this to try to beat a 64 year old former Marine.

I did the trail unsupported in 12 days carrying 2 bear cannisters and a 41 lb. starting pack weight. The load was murder in my 1.25lb. frameless GoLite Gust. Fashioning a sternum strap out of cord helped tremendously. After a layover day at Red's Meadow I cached one empty bear cannister. At 26 lbs. (and beginning to adjust to the altitude)the experience was transformed. From then on I ran 20-25 miles/ day all the way to Whitney.

Last summer Reinhold Metzger took 3 hours off the unsupported record (which he had set)and dropped it to 5 days 7 hours. It's going to take all I have to give a man 16 years my senior a "run" for his money, but I'm enjoying every minute of my planning and training regardless of whether I ever break his record.

I have 2 favorite traing runs. I run up the climber's approach to the base of the south face of Half Dome, solo a technical route to the summit and run down the trail back to the valley floor. My best time is 4:52 for one lap with :33 spent on the technical route itself. I've done 2 full laps in a day but my time was not good due to route finding problems on the approach. Now that I've got the approach dialed in, I plan to get in 3 laps (14,400' vertical and 42 miles)in well under 24 hours.

My other training run is the climber's approach to Mt. Whitney's east face, solo the 1400' East Face Route to the summit and then run back down the main trail to return to the trail head. My best on this is 10:06, but now that I've got the approach route down I think I can do one lap in 8:30 and 2 laps in under 20:00.

For shorter training runs I like to climb 2000' hills in Big Sur and Fort Ord near my home in Monterey with 35 lbs. of water and dump it out on top to save my knees on the descent.

I too swear by GTX socks - best invention since sliced bread. I ran 25 miles through a thunder storm from Forester Pass to Whitney with no problems from blisters, cold or wet.

I never trail run without 2.1oz./pair scree gaitors to keep dust, rocks, burrs, snow etc. out of my shoes. I velcro them to my shoes to avoid the problematic under-sole strap. I glue/sew velcro onto all of my hiking boots and runners for this purpose.

I sweat heavily when I exercise so it was a godsend when GTX Paclite III came along for rain pants and jacket. Only GTX breathes well enough to keep up with my moisture output. My Large Montbell Torrent Flier Pants weigh 7.1oz. and my 15 year old Montbell jacket comes in @ 12oz. (Outdoor Research's Zealot jacket is on my wish list @ 7.7oz.).

Thanks for joining our party, Kevin. I hope you'll be sharing lots more ideas and experiences with us. I am very fulfilled performing the personal exploration and goal development that I've been doing lately and I have people like you and Reinhold to thank for inspiring me.

Cheers, Al

Edited by Al_T.Tude on 12/17/2005 07:03:02 MST.

Kevin Sawchuk
(ksawchuk) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Lightweight Overnight Trail Runs on 01/18/2006 14:08:38 MST Print View

Good-luck on your record attempt: there's a lot of fun and a lot of misery out there.

I agree with glueing velcro to any shoes I use with trail gators and like the lightest gators I can get (do NOT want waterproof for anytime but winter).

I have the most difficulty keeping warm and dry at 34F and heavy rain/sleet. If it's below freezing it's easy. Generally I use a fully waterproof jacket (like the Activent Mont-Bel jacket from a few years back--hoodless but I have a separate hat--or Patagonia Specter Pullover--which I wish had pit zips) and figure that I'm probably going to get wet from body sweat but at least that's warm. I look at rainwear for running as limiting cold water flux and never plan to stay dry if I'm running. I generally ignore below the groin and just get wet. I do always try to keep one dry layer to change in to--if I'm cold while moving I stop and after getting somewhere safe--I don't want to risk all of my layers since in extreme conditions I need them to sleep.