The single most important thing to know when running from zombies is -wait for it- how to run effectively.
I’m not going to talk about the standard running form here. Nobody runs right, in general, it doesn’t really matter. Instead, I’m going to talk about running while encumbered. Specifically, encumbered by a heavy, over-the-shoulder duffel bag with a fairly loose strap.
Why so specific? Because this is the only type of encumbrance that will truly hinder your running. A handheld object can just be carried, even a two-handed one only takes a second to get the rhythm down. A backpack will usually have an easy way to cinch the straps up tight.
But a duffel bag isn’t designed to be run with. Its strap is usually pretty loose, it’s bulky, and it throws off your center of gravity as it bounces around on your hip. Sometimes you can cinch it up tight so it rests across your back, but not always, and sometimes you just don’t have time. So how do we run with it?
There are two effective methods, which I’m going to call the ninja and… the push. I’m sure there’s a better name for it, but nothing’s coming to me right now. Anyway, they both take a little practice, but the actual techniques aren’t that difficult. Picture the classic image of a ninja running through the woods: sword drawn, straight out behind them while their free hand is either up and obscuring their face or, more likely, pumping vigorously. You’re going to do the same thing, only with the bag strap instead of a sword:
Hold the strap out as taught as you can. The bag itself should follow the length of your arm. When you run, hold this arm out and behind you, and pump with the other arm.
Now grab the strap with your other hand and push it out, down and across your body:
The bag should be across your back. Hold it there while you run, pumping with your “rear” arm.
In either form, you’ll need to shorten tour stride a little and try to keep your torso from bouncing up and down as much as possible. Be careful to hold your arm in such a way as to keep the strap off your neck (this is more of a problem with the ninja method). You don’t want to start cutting off circulation.
You may find yourself having to run with two of these bags at the same time. Most people’s first idea is to wear them on opposite shoulders, crossing the straps over their torso. It distributes the weight more symmetrically, and prevents one shoulder from getting too sore. This is great if you’re walking to the airport terminal, but running from zombies thus way isn’t going to work very well: neither of the above running methods work well if you try to double them up, and you risk scissoring the straps across your neck, choking you and forcing you to slow down or stop and readjust. Instead, pick whatever side is most comfortable and implement both methods, one with each hand:
You can also try holding both straps with the same hand in a single pose, but this is difficult unless the straps are the same length, which isn’t going to happen very often.
NOTE: This is probably the last time I’ll talk about “double-bagging” on the site. You don’t really need to know any more about it than this, and since it takes both hands it’ll make any other evasion techniques impossible. If you’ve got two bags like this, either take a minute to cinch one up tight around your torso, or adjust the straps so they’re the same size and hold them both with one hand. If you don’t have time for that, you’re stuck on the ground.
This is all going to feel awkward at first, so practice whenever you can. Which method you use is largely a matter of comfort and preference, though it’ll be more important when we talk about vaults.