rucking | How to get started

Rucking has quickly become one of our favorite crosstraining activities.

It is more challenging than walking, and can be a great physical break from the stresses of the constant impact of running.

One of our favorite things about getting together for a group ruck is that it becomes a great equalizer in regard to speed.

That is to say that if we were with the same group for a run, it'd be much harder to keep everyone moving together at similar speed.

With GORUCK ruck plates, the faster runners might opt to carry more weight in their rucks, while those who would usually run at slower speeds might not carry as much weight with them.

For any group ruck to occur, however, it helps to be able to communicate to those who have never had the experience of rucking, what it is, why it is great, and how to best get started!

Our First Time Rucking

31 Miles for 31 HeroesOur group prior to heading out for 31 Miles for 31 Heroes.

I'm nearly certain that our first time rucking was during a fundraising event, "31 Miles for 31 Heroes," a memorial ruck honoring the lives of the 31 heroes of Extortion 17.

I didn't, at the time, know how to ruck, and didn't have an official ruck, so I started with whatever backpack I had.

And, as I didn't have a ruck plate, I opted for two bricks that I wrapped as per the direction of others who had previously done the same.

Why bricks?

Each of the bricks had significance, in that one represented those that gave their lives in Extortion 17, and the second, the burden of grief carried by their families who remained.

Through the overnight ruck we stopped, every so often, to read aloud to each other, the bios of the 30 active duty military members and 1 military working dog, who were lost that day.

The funds that we'd raised, and that thousands raise each year in their memorial rucks, benefitted the 31 Heroes Project, a non-profit organization impacting the lives of our nation's heroes and their families, and remember those who gave their all.

Here Are 5 Tips To Getting Started

1) Quality Gear Makes a Significant Difference

While we made it through that very first rucking event with a run-of-the-mill backpack and our bricks, there was some significant discomfort experienced because the gear we'd used was not designed for the way the activities in which we'd participated.

Knowing that we'd be going back for more, one of our first steps was to begin researching what we'd need that would stand the test of time.

That's when we discovered GORUCK for Special Forces Proven Gear and Events, and their line of rucksacks, clubs, events, and the impact they were having for active duty military, veterans, and for civilians.

Now, armed with a GR1, a GR2, a rucksack-specific hydration bladder, and a 30lb. GORUCK plate, the fit experienced is that much greater, with the rucking plate staying "high and tight" to our backs, versus the free-floating nature of the bricks we'd initially carried.

I couldn't imagine every using anything different.

Recommended Reading: Our article on the best rucksack is a great place to learn which ruck may best suit your needs.

Click through here to learn more about and to order your own GORUCK rucksack today!

2) There's No Need to Bite Off More than You Can Chew

smart goals

This goes for both distance and the amount of weight carried.

We'd much rather (and we're sure you would) that going for a ruck becomes something that you look forward to, rather than something you dread.

With that in mind, we recommend starting with the following:

  • Distance: 1-3 miles (depending upon your beginning level of fitness and experience)
  • Weight: 20 lbs. 

3) Know that There Isn't a Learning Curve

Interestingly, we've heard the same concerns about those who have been asked to go snowshoeing for the very first time.

There's nothing to learning how to ruck, in terms of the physical action, that you don't already do on a daily basis in walking.

Walking, that's all it is...

...except with weight.

Have confidence in yourself that you can do it!

4) Stay Hydrated (Before, During, & After Your Ruck)

hydrate

Just as in walking, running, or any physical activity, hydration remains important. Stay hydrated, before and after your ruck, however you like.

During your ruck, we suggest either a Nalgene bottle, or a GORUCK official hydration bladder, designed to fit easily in your rucksack.

5) Take Care of Your Feet

trail toes

Additional weight carried, can sometimes cause additional friction, especially where it relates to your feet.

Wearing appropriate footwear and socks is important no matter the distance or weight you're targeting.

For longer distances, and for humid or wet environments, you may want some additional help in the form of anti-friction foot cream like Trail Toes.

Should you find yourself out for a long-distance ruck, you'll want to stop often to check on your feet, reapply foot cream where needed, change socks, etc.

Do You Love Rucking? Tell Us All About Your Rucking Adventures Here!

Wherever we wear our rucks, we've found that everyone seems to have questions.

If you have a love of rucking, like we do, we'd love to hear all about your rucking adventures.

Here are some examples of topics you might write about:

  • Learn How to Ruck by Following These 5 Important Tips.

  • The best way to start rucking is _______.

  • Here's everything you should have on your rucking checklist, and the reasons why..

  • Why your backpack isn't the same as a rucksack (and why you need a quality one for rucking).

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Rucking World Championship 
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