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5 Ways I’m GORUCK-ing Stupid


I’ve blogged with a video before about my decision to do a GORUCK Challenge this coming July. Short version: For 10-12 hours, I’ve got Special Forces soldiers leading me through some intense stuff, all while I have 40 pounds strapped to my back.

I’ve obviously been training for this event and reading a lot of information online about it. As I evaluate the training that I’ve been going through, I feel as if I’ve made several key mistakes that I’ll share with you, so that you won’t make them yourselves when prepping for your own GORUCK.

For those uninitiated to “rucking”, think marching with a backpack on. I’ve got a GORUCK GR2 pack myself, so picture that while you’re reading below.

I Ran with My Ruck On

In general weighted runs aren’t bad…provided you are weighted properly. Typically you’ll see it done with weight vests which distributes the weight across the chest and upper back. Running with this pack keeps all the weight in the back, and specifically with how I have mine setup, mid to upper back. This can cause me to hunch forward and more importantly the back to pop back and forth and hit me in the lower back. Generally not a good idea to slap your lower back with 40lbs every step.

After reading online, I’ve found that most people say that running is limited (most say the longest sustained run is a soccer field length or shorter) and fast marching (aka walking fast) is the preferred method of travel from location to location in a Challenge.

Given that it’s safer and more apt to what I’ll see in the event, I’ve switched to a fast march.

100 Push-ups a Day

Impressed? I was. I did it for a week. Even days I did 100 throughout the course of the day. Odd days, I did 100 in as few sets as possible, all of course while wearing my pack.  Day 2 I was a little sore, by Day 4 it hurt to do a regular push-up or even think about an overhead press/pull-up. I had severe pain in my frontal deltoids at this point. By Day 7 I was done. The next 3 days I had to take off. I think I narrowly avoided a more serious injury. Mistake here? Over-training and not listening to my body. I was also a little stupid here, I’ve done 200 a day before non-weighted, so I figured cutting it in half would suffice. Not so.

What I’m doing now is phasing it back in. I’m at 50 a day for this week, which I’ll scale up by 25 until I hit 125, then ladder down to the actual event. It’s a little safer this way and that’s how I should have done it at first.

I Did Weighted Pull-ups & Dips vs. Overhead Presses & Holds

Weighted pull-ups and weighted dips can be great exercises, but given the nature of the event I’m doing, it makes more sense to get comfortable pressing and awkward object (think GORUCK pack) overhead multiple times. Then when I’m fatigued with that: hold it overhead as long as possible. These types of exercises will help with some strength and stability that will serve me better through the course of the event.

I’m not Focusing on Hydration

I’m constantly under, and borderline “de”, hydrated at all times. Period. I don’t drink enough water. I’m not used to doing it, so it’s hard for me to remember to fill up a glass or bottle while I’m at my desk working through the day or while I’m around the house on the weekend. Being under/de hydrated can lead to performances loss. My buddy Kyle Ruth of CrossFitLKN says it best in his article for WODSuperstore, “Hydration for High-Intensity Exercise in the Heat

So what I’m doing here is planning on getting used to consuming at minimum 3/4 of my bodyweight (in ounces) of water. With a stretch goal being equal bodyweight in ounces. I’m gonna need this going into the event. When it comes to hydration, an ounce of prevention can go a long way (pun absolutely intended)

My Rucks aren’t Long Enough

This is less of a physical problem and more of a time and scheduling issue. With 3 boys, a (smokin’ hot) wife, and a full time job; finding time to go ruck for 3-4 hours is tough. Read: non-existent. Even though I see this is a problem, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to address it prior to the event, so this will be my only wildcard.

The good thing about the event, is the way that it’s designed, everyone will physically break down at some point and it becomes 100% mental. You must have the will to finish. I’m hoping that I can be mentally strong enough to push through it. It’s just walking right?

Ready to try this for yourself? Check out the GORUCK Challenge. If 10-12 hours sounds like too much or too little, try looking at the Light or Heavy respectively. Anyone else have experience with long distance rucks/marches and have info to share? Post it in the comments below.