28 comments on “UPDATED: Ruck Training – Some Thoughts

  1. Pingback: DTG: Some Thoughts On Ruck Training | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  2. Do you wear boots, or walking shoes? Or am I being a pussy for even asking?

  3. LOL…no, you’re not being a pussy! It’s not about that. First, to answer your question, I will wear one of three styles of Danner boots. The ‘combat hikers’ as they are new to me and I’m breaking them in. They’re the lowest boot I use. I change between the Danner TFX and the Acadia. I imagine you could use walking shoes if they gave you enough support, but I do know that when I run with my ruck on, I’m always happy when it’s over that I work a full support boot.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. You better wear REAL F-NG BOOTs. Learn from my mistakes. Go to Cabelas in the off season. Go to the bargain cave. Spend more than you wanted to but find something that is designed to hold your weight and additional weight. If you do not you WILL blow your arches. I did it last year. Two back to back 7 milers with a 55b up and down some hills. Cost me 3 weeks of training and a fair bit of pain since I walk for my job 4- hours a day. Don’t skimp on proper foot wear. The clearance section is your friend always. I just got a pair of Scarpa’s for 100 bucks. Yeah that seems like a lot til u look them up and see your model at 260 on the web.

  5. Good quality boots as well as some good quality orthotic insoles make all the difference! Danner’s and the Softec work well for me, but I echo your advice! Thanks for dropping by!

  6. I wear boots just about every day. Time is short and magic hour could occur at any time when you least suspect it. Always keep a pair of boots in the vehicle you’re in. Without good boots, you’re done before you even get started. If an EMP occurs and you’re 30 miles from home with flip flops on, you’re done.
    As far as the walking or hiking, push hard. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I find that after 10 miles, the pain and soreness does not get any worse so technically you could go as far as your energy has the capacity to take you. And the most important thing I have found about energy is keep the electrolytes flowing into your system. When hiking long and hard, the water will just wash your electrolytes out of you and you’ll never quench your thirst and will become very tired. I always take Sqwincher Qwik Stik’s with me and down one at about 7 miles in. What a major energy boost! They are relatively cheap and are easy to pack. The instructions say mix with 20 ounces of water, but I just empty the contents onto my tongue and gulp down 10 to 15 gulps of water. These are the most essential hydration additive I have ever used and I have these in all my kits and packs. 100% essential.

  7. If you haven’t done one before I’d recommend a GoRuck event (I have no affiliation with them). I’ve done a few of the Challenges and have never been pressed as hard in my life (I nearly quit during my first one and I have never quit anything in my life). They’ll smoke you non-stop for 12 hours while you wear a rucksack full of bricks. There’s a 24 hour event as well in case you find that easy….bring your friends.
    http://www.goruck.com/tough/c/25

  8. I’m a 70-year old civilian who just came upon this site yesterday. What is the reason for “rucking”? Just to get in shape in case you had to bug out from your home? I live in the country and walk nearly every day with or without a small pack, up and down trails. I do this to try to keep what muscle I have. What reason, other than that is there for “rucking”?

  9. First, thanks for stopping by! Second, you’ve about got it right from the perspective of preparedness. Folks like you set the example: 70 years old; walking every day with/without packs up and down trails to stay in good shape! For folks not so motivated, there’s a lesson in that on who’s going to have a better chance taking care of others or just making it through harsh times. From a Neighborhood Protection Team standpoint, though, the core conditioning one gets from carrying varying weights of packs over long distances helps when security patrols outside the protected area must be done for days at a time. Again, thank you, sir, for stopping by!

  10. I’ll go out soon this AM and will be wearing Danners, but this spring I had them re-soled with Vibrams and they are heavy. Great trainers, but I get tired when I hike 3 miles with a 30-lb pack. As soon as I can afford them, I will purchase Vasque Men’s Breeze 2.0 GTX. I tried them on in an REI store and they are comfortable(Much cheaper online). Like Danners, they are not cheap to buy.

    Over the past year I have built a series of mountain trails using a Polaski and short-handled hoe. Pulled a hip stresser doing that but I’m finished with a total of around 5 miles of trails on both mine and timber company land.

    When I go this AM I will have a total of 32 pounds which will include a 3.5 lb handgun on my waist and a .22 handgun in the pack. This also includes two trekking poles. Last night I did a 40-minute walk with pack and no poles. Feeling macho, I guess! Not a good idea! I slipped on small rocks and fell backward on the pack plus by forearm got hurt, while walking dowhill. I will use the poles from now on. I am also on a blood thinner, so I need to be more careful, even if I do have a good med. kit.

    As soon as the daytime heat, here in the West, drops out of the 90’s, I will add probably another 5 pounds (bivy-bag and ammo) plus I will carry an AR on a Viking Tactical sling. At 70, this is hard work especially when I have two not-so-good knees, but my physical therapist advises against knee replacement until I am so bad I can’t walk.

    One thing I did over the past 8 months which has greatly improved my ability to train as I do, was lose 55 pounds. I can now walk up very steep slopes without my prescribed $1200 knee brace, and I never get winded even when most fellers in their 40’s would. This sounds like a site filled with military types who are mostly in super shape from years of infantry training, so I feel a bit out of place, and my eyes kept me out of Vietnam and the Army. Maybe my old man example of training will help a newbie prepper. If I, with all my problems can train, most preppers can.

  11. Don’t worry so much about the ‘mil speak’ here…yes, some folks have a lot of military training, but a bunch don’t, and that’s why we exist: Provide the knowledge we’ve gained over the years to those who didn’t have the chance for whatever reason. Nobody is out of place here, except in one circumstance: People that come here to tear down the efforts of others or basically cause dissension aren’t welcome. We’ve had very few of those….

    Great job on the weight loss! Another great example! As far as being is ‘super shape’, doesn’t matter what your background is, it takes work to stay in any sort of shape! I enjoy being fit because I like not having the doctor as my ‘buddy team’ member.

    Keep it up; you’re a great example for those ‘fellers in their 40’s”!

  12. Pingback: DTG: Thoughts On Ruck Training | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  13. I have said my thoughts on this topic before. Start light to moderate, no more than 35 pounds or so. Work on speed first, then distance, then load. Make four miles per hour your initial target. It can be done by just about anybody with the motivation to do it. When you can do 6 to 8 miles comfortably to standard, then increase your load, but don’t train with more than 45-55 pounds. There is no sense in it until you have mastered the task. Speed first, then load. Next set a standard of 4.5 miles per hour. This is where it begins to get difficult. It takes real effort to discipline yourself enough to move quickly, without running. Stretch out that stride, swing your arms. It can be done. Remember, this is conditioning phase. You can add monstrous weight later. The time may come when you MUST, due to mission requirements, carry eighty or more pounds in your rucksack. But by then, the body and mind is trained to move in a certain way at a certain speed. At that point, the weight won’t matter. It may slow you down but not as much as you might imagine.

    In the mid eighties, when I arrived in the 1st Ranger Bn., as a new Rippie, I was astounded that there was a battalion full of men who could do 5 miles per hour with a combat load. That was six hundred plus men, moving in tactical road march formation, without any accordion effect, without any fallouts (…move further, faster and fight harder… and all that). A few months later, I could (and did)
    do it in my sleep. We did perimeter road at Hunter, 10 miles, in two hours or less, and twelve milers in 2 and a half hours. We did 16 miles around the impact area at Ft. Stewart, in four hours but that was on sand trails.

    Its all in how you train. Train smart!

    P.S. I do not think there are any better boots than G.I. Jungle boots, broken in and softened with kiwi. Period. End of argument. Do not retort. I don’t want to hear it. Unless you live where it is frozen all the time. Then life just sucks…

  14. Ditto on the Danner’s and Sole insoles. I’ve got the ones you heat up in the oven then put them in your boots to mold them to your feet. A piece of advice from a guy who has hiked quite a bit, hydration is important, but so are electrolytes. I encourage your readers to get some pedialite and sip on a tall glass the night before your heavy hikes. I was taught you start hydrating and eating with the hike in mind 3 days before the hike, it’s always worked good for me. Thanks for a good write up, I’ll be sharing it.

  15. Right now my routine is physical therapy for a fatal heart attack (brought back on the 5th application of the defibrillator).
    Planning a range trip later this week.

  16. Great article & comments! I was killing my knees last year with only one (long & heavy) ruck day/week. I figured I could just “tough it out”. At 48, I gotta work smarter, not harder. This article helped me realize a few things. Thanks.

  17. My comments would be that I totally agree w the general rules you describe for weight, distance, frequency, incremental increases, diet. Not sure about the need for purified water w stabilized oxygen. Any well designed studies to support that? And lastly, carrying 80lbs with that pack loaded that way is an absolute guarantee that the vast majority of guys trying to do this will find that unacceptable, even if they work up to that weight. Get a good backpack that has a very good suspension system that rides closer to your body and can be packed to have that weight carried on your hips, not your shoulders, and in a much more natural posture over varied terrain. Look at Kifaru pack systems. They’re pricey, but priceless if you actually have to carry a load of any weight in any kind of an uncivilized environment. Note: I have ZERO connection to Kifaru other than I own a Nomad and love it. And I will buy another one of their packs this summer.

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