GORUCK Training

I have two GORUCK Tough patches in my collection, one for Class 157, the other for Class 1073. Both were tough in their own ways, but I felt significantly better prepared physically for 1073. I had a good idea of what to expect mentally, so I could focus on being physically prepared.

In Jason McCarthy’s advice for preparing for Selection, he wrote:

Ruck More.

I figured if that is what the mastermind behind the GORUCK Challenge and the even more demanding GORUCK Selection recommended for the more difficult of the two events, that training plan should work.


First, a definition: “a ruck” is a military style backpack, “to ruck” is to march with a ruck, most likely weighted.


I rucked as much as I could. I would walk to work at least three times a week with 6 bricks in my ruck, three miles round trip. In addition to “Ruck More”, Jason recommends rucking heavy. Five weeks before my Challenge, I upped my weight, adding home made five point sandbags, first one, then two, ending up with four sandbags to complement the 6 bricks. The idea was that if I trained heavy, the load wouldn’t be as bad during the event. One day, I added more weight, my Brick Bag filled with my remaining home made sandbags. I stepped on the scale after getting home and I was rucking with over one hundred pounds. No wonder the walk home felt tough.

I would ruck with my ruck buddy around a 5-mile trail every Saturday. The terrain isn’t rough, but uneven, enough to keep it challenging. I always brought my Brick Bag full of home made sandbags. It wasn’t heavy, but it kept my hands occupied and my arms engaged with weight. It also forced me to focus on keeping it balanced and finding places to rest the weight on my ruck.

One Sunday, following on from my Saturday ruck, I did a road march to the trail, around said trail and back, a full 10 miles. It was long, but a good test, not only of my endurance, but also my gear setup. It was a dry run of my clothing and load out. I did this about a month out from my Challenge to make sure I didn’t stress myself too much before the event.

The last part of my training was a more GORUCK specific Crossfit style workouts. Lots of grinder style triplets:

Buy in:

  • 800m 20lb weighted vest 60lb sandbag carry

Workout:

All with weighted vest

  • 3 rounds:
  • 10 pushups
  • 10 box step ups
  • 40m bear crawl

Cash out:

  • 800m 20lb weighted vest 60lb sandbag carry
  • Accumulate 150m of bear crawling with 20lb weighted vest

Normally, Crossfit workouts are intense short affairs, but these were long, slow grinders. I worked to get through them. The emphasis on bear crawling was particularly helpful during the GORUCK Challenge.

While there is nothing that can fully prepare someone for their first GORUCK Challenge, being more physically prepared can make the whole experience a better brand of “good livin’”.