So, you think this GrowRuck thing might be for you, but you want to know how to train up? Good on you. Read on.
First off, training is better with friends, so we encourage you to get together with your future log-mates and decide what works best for you. We know that one of the reasons you might be taking this on is to grow your region, and as such you may not have a ton of rucking going on right now, but would like to change that. Outstanding.
What you really need are three elements:
- Time under a ruck
- Conditioning with heavy loads and general PT
- Confidence in your gear
There’s no substitute for time under the ruck. You can’t fake it. Make sure no matter what you do, you build up to the point where you’re in double-digit ruck miles per week, and have done a few long (>3hr) rucks. 12 miles in 3h30 at PACKED event weight is a good goal. 12mi in 3:00 is even better.
As far as conditioning with heavy loads, spend some time carrying CMUs, kettlebells, sandbags, logs, water cans, whatever you can get your hands on. I like training with a jerry can because they are about the worst thing you can solo carry. They slosh, they’re hard to grip, just terrible.
Confidence in your gear will come with the first two. Try out different combinations on longer events, and push it to figure out what you like. Don’t try anything new the last couple weeks before the event; you should be locked in by then. Don’t stick with something that doesn’t work for you just because other folks have said it’s what they like. Unlike most things about F3, this part IS about you!
Some go-to training plans include:
- Pathfinder. This program is legendary in the rucking community, so it’s no surprise it was started by F3 Dora (yes, the one for whom Dora 1-2-3 is named). It runs in 3-month cycles and combines rucking, PT, a points challenge, and is scalable to all levels of capability. The challenges are ripe for completion with some buddies, whether you all sign up or just convince them to do dumb things with you. Proceeds all go to worthy causes as well.
- GORUCK Sandbag/Ruck Training. This is programmed by friend-of-GrowRuck Dan Skidmore, aka Cadre DS, aka F3 Little Spoon. Weekly workouts focusing on movement and manipulation of coupons, mainly sandbags. The price is reasonable and you get great community support.
- Heavy Drop Training (HDT) by Cleveland Area Rucking Crew. This is run in 8-week cycles and includes some truly awful, horrible workouts (in the best way). If you think you’re pretty good at PT and with a sandbag, give this program a try and you’ll quickly find the holes in your training. You’ll be partnered up with a random buddy for accountability and compete against other 2-person teams for points.
- Ruck Strong, a strength training program focused on movements you’ll encounter when rucking. If you’ve got a solid foundation of ruck miles and are looking for a strength component, this is a good program. You can execute it using sandbags or basic gym equipment (barbell, some dumbbells) – though in YHC’s opinion, this is best done with strength equipment. There’s a combo deal for doing this and Pathfinder.
- ruck.beer, a popular rucking blog site, has a free 10 week training program.