Using a Weighted Vest in your Run Training

A weighted vest is a tool utilized by runners to make workout routines extra challenging. Weighted vests are available in lots of styles, can be used for a variety of workouts, including walking, calisthenic exercises, and of course running!

By wearing a weighted running vest, you increase the cardiovascular demands of your workout, even if you run at a slower speed. The increase in cardiovascular intensity can be slight or extreme, depending on the weight of your vest and how fast you are pushing. The other main advantage for runners, particularly Ultra Trail Runners is when it is used for Power Hiking Practice. Having a vest on when doing a hill workout session is great for building leg and back strength.

My Experience of Run Training with a Weighted Vest

I’ve been using the weighted vest so far primarily in my ‘off season’ training, when I tend to be doing less runs per week and more cross training and strength work. Ive used it in 3 Primary Ways:

  1. Hill Strength Work

Using a heavier weight (in my case 15-20kg) then simply going for a walk in a hilly area (can be trail or road) with the vest on. 1 Hour to 1.5 Hours- This is a good strength based session. What was surprising for me was that it worked my back a whole lot more than I expected, particularly my shoulders. It also worked my lower back when going up steeper hills when leaning forward.

  1. Incorporating into a Strength Session

At the track as mentioned in the below video I’ve used it a couple of times when I’ve done a mixed strength circuit type session. 

Eg- 10 minutes weights, 10 minutes tempo run, 10 minutes weighted vest on the stairs… x 2. I found this a really good strength session without being too hard- plus it was fun because of the variety! 

  1. Running

With the lighter weight of 10kg or less I am able to run with the vest on- or at least walk/run. I’d do a session where I’d walk the hills and jog the flats and the downs. It was ok doing this but for me I’m not sure it offered that much benefit compared to number 1 & 2. If I’m going out for a run I think I just get more benefit from just running! And for the weighted vest more benefit for using it as a strength tool.

One thing I would mention about running with it. If you’re an advanced runner and you want to go for a run with a friend who is a beginner then the weighted vest is a great way of leveling things up- you can jog along with the vest on and it will still be a moderate effort for you!


Yes I do recommend using one, particularly if you are an Ultra Trail Runner like me, especially if you’re into competing in hilly/mountain type events! So much of taking part in the long hilly stuff is about body conditioning- and this is a great way to add strength in new areas and variety in your training.

Check out my video talking about my experience Training with the Vest, sing out if you have any queries… And Happy Training!

We have a Weighted Vest discount code available for CMF Run Club Members, so if you’re interested to learn more about this and other discount codes to all stuff running in NZ- then check it out!

CMF Run Club

Weight Vest Discount Code