First, get the perks and cautions of running in a weighted vest, then check out expert picks for the best weighted running vests.
This fitness tool (once relegated only to combat training) has recently gained popularity among runners. ICYDK, weighted vests are exactly what they sound like: "They add weight, plain and simple. They're a tool to add variation to your training," says Vinnie Miliano, a run coach with Mile High Run Club in New York City. "Both sprinters and endurance athletes can benefit from their use." (You can use weighted vests for other workouts too.)
The general purpose of wearing a weight vest while running is to add extra weight to the body. Since you're moving more weight with every stride, the body has to adapt to the added weight by getting stronger, says Miliano.
"The added resistance means your body has to work harder," says Miliano. "Your heart has to pump harder to get more oxygen to the muscles, which means your heart rate will increase faster." This, in turn, can help boost your cardiovascular fitness. (Related: What Is Your VO2 Max and How Do You Increase It?)
Miliano explains that he wore a weighted run vest while training for his first Half Ironman triathlon. "It helped me build the leg strength I needed for the run portion and aided in strengthening my cardio for the bike and swim." How's that for a win-win?