Rucking

mprevost

More than 500 posts
Mike, I didn't issue this challenge.

Unless it has changed, the Army standard is 12mi in 3 hrs with 35lbs and kit. I've never heard of a 50lb standard, but many units have their own perspectives based on mission. For example, our summer load was 90lbs, but we weren't trying to make a time standard other than our NLT directive. It is common for many to have to trot for some distance in order to make the 12mi/3hr standard. A loaded 15min/mi pace is pretty quick to cover for the average individual in walking gait only.

These days, I hike only to maintain my S&C for recreation. I can really care less about time standards; and I can still feel the stress associated with stopwatches, 1SGs, and the COs directives... haha.

Lastly, for those with little rucking experience reading this thread and feeling inspired... START SLOW AND LIGHT; AND RAMP UP EVEN SLOWER TO YOUR TARGET LOAD AND DISTANCE. You've been forewarned.
Sorry, I meant Rif. I believe you are right about the 35lbs. Seems so easy. But I have not tried 12 miles yet so I should reserve judgement.

Mike
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
Mike, I didn't issue this challenge.

Unless it has changed, the Army standard is 12mi in 3 hrs with 35lbs and kit. I've never heard of a 50lb standard, but many units have their own perspectives based on mission. For example, our summer load was 90lbs, but we weren't trying to make a time standard other than our NLT directive. It is common for many to have to trot for some distance in order to make the 12mi/3hr standard. A loaded 15min/mi pace is pretty quick to cover for the average individual in walking gait only.

These days, I hike only to maintain my S&C for recreation. I can really care less about time standards; and I can still feel the stress associated with stopwatches, 1SGs, and the COs directives... haha.

Lastly, for those with little rucking experience reading this thread and feeling inspired... START SLOW AND LIGHT; AND RAMP UP EVEN SLOWER TO YOUR TARGET LOAD AND DISTANCE. You've been forewarned.
I first heard about it from the owners of GoRuck when they scheduled this race ruck at Ft Bragg.only to pull it later and not reschedule.
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
This is an interesting article on the history of the soldier's loads. it looks like it's been a lot of work forever,
 

mprevost

More than 500 posts
Some thoughts about rucking versus running programming.....

With running you vary intensity (speed) and distance to produce overload. With rucking, you have to contend with gait. Most people are not going to be able to exceed 4.5 miles per hour without breaking into a run gait. What differentiates running from walking gait is that when walking you always have one foot in contact with the ground. While running you have a "flight" phase where both feet leave the ground. The ground reaction forces while running can be 1.5 - 2 times bodyweight. That is why running with a ruck is so much more risky than walking. So, back to overload and rucking. That leaves distance and load for rucking (as opposed to speed and distance for running). Primarily because running with a ruck in training is a bad idea.

The Army does not recommend (officially, though it is done, even in schools) running with a ruck. The official training pace is generally 4 mph. Overload is achieved by increasing load or distance (or both).

So, for run programming, we might use short, fast run intervals. The equivalent for rucking would be short, heavy intervals. The idea is that our pace is always about 4 mph but we can vary the load.

What the research on rucking shows is that shorter, heavier rucks transfer performance fairly well to longer, lighter rucks (but not vice versa).

When I was working with some members of the infantry skills team at the Naval Academy, they were doing some short, hard ruck runs as part of their training for competition (competition was a longer ruck with 35lbs). I thought that was very risky. Instead I wrote them a plan that incorporated short, heavy rucks in place of the short, hard ruck runs. Worked well because the heavier rucks transfer performance to longer, lighter rucks.

The question came up that if you never ran with a ruck in training would you be able to run with a ruck in competition, or in a real life situation. Turns out that is what the heavy rucks were for and the answer was yes. After doing shorter rucks with 75-85 lbs (or more in some cases), moving with 35lbs was a breeze.

Just like running, spending some time building a fitness base doing easier intensity training first is a good idea, before embarking on the hard stuff. But when you are ready, you can incorporate load, just like incorporating track intervals or longer tempo intervals for running.

For example:
Long ruck ; 30lbs, 2 hours
Tempo ruck: 70 lbs 2 X 15 minutes
Interval ruck: 100lbs, 5 X 2 minutes
 

mprevost

More than 500 posts
One more for today. This is a simple treadmill ruck protocol from a buddy of mine who is a long time Navy SEAL. Set the treadmill speed to 4 mph and no incline. Ruck up and start walking. Increase the %grade by 1% every minute until 20% grade, then decrease it every minute until 0% grade. Really simple. Starts out easy and has a built in warm up and cool down. Doing it on the treadmill forces you to keep the pace.
 

mprevost

More than 500 posts
For rucking weight the Midshipmen at USNA always made "sand babies." They used trash bags and duct tape. Heavy duty trash bags are best. Just fill the trash bag with the weight you want (usually with sand, but gravel works well too). Then wrap the whole thing in a roll of duct tape. It lasts a really long time. You can shape it however you want too. When the SEAL screener weekend came around there were sand babies everywhere.
 

offwidth

More than 5000 posts
@Abdul Rasheed
There are several schools of thought regarding footwear. Some prefer 'minimalist' footwear, others (myself included) prefer something rugged. It also depends on terrain and weather conditions to an extent. When I ruck which is only several times per year, I do so to train for Alpine Climbing, so I wear boots and embark on rough terrain, to mimic conditions in the mountains to the best of my ability.
The most important item in foot gear is proper fit. (This is probably more important in boots)

I don't know anything about GoRuck packs, so I can't comment. I'm sure others on the forum have experience with this and can offer an informed opinion. When I was in the army a bazillion years ago, we had the crappiest packs known to man. I think I still have bruises. Today however, I use the same packs that I would wear to climb with. These are all reasonably expensive, fairly high end packs designed for carrying loads in the mountains. Black Diamond, Arcteryx, Wild Things, Lowe Alpine, and Patagonia are all brands I have used for climbing and training. Mind you... some of these may not the best choice for rucking, some are pretty minimalistic and light weight, so they don't have exotic suspension systems, and care must be taken in loading them. In the mountains... "light is right" is usually the desired approach.

On the other hand a cheap pack you will curse repeadtly, because you will be sore and it will fall apart...
 

mprevost

More than 500 posts
Any recommendation on a rucksack and footwear? Links? Do I need GoRuck's GR1 or any other $100 backpack, I can't decide :(
As for weight I would do the duct taped, cement pack mentioned in Al's article. I am thinking of doing 20lbs (approximately 10% of my body weight) weight start with, does that sound right?
Rasheed

Is there an Army surplus store anywhere around you? If so, you might be able to get an old used military surplus backpack for cheap. That is what I would recommend. Cheap and durable. I don't know anything about your training history but 20lbs sounds OK.

The GR-1 is a great backpack. Solid, very rugged, well made, rides well on the back. I love it. But it is very expensive. I got a military discount, so it was worth it to me.
Mike
 

Phil12

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Any recommendation on a rucksack and footwear? Links? Do I need GoRuck's GR1 or any other $100 backpack, I can't decide :(
As for weight I would do the duct taped, cement pack mentioned in Al's article. I am thinking of doing 20lbs (approximately 10% of my body weight) weight start with, does that sound right?
I started off with an old backpack I was hoping would fall to pieces so I could replace it, and ended up never upgrading, although as I recall I didn't go over 30lbs. I used towels to ensure the weight was relatively evenly distributed and the bags didn't move around.
 

Rif

More than 500 posts
Master Certified Instructor
@Abdul Rasheed
There are several schools of thought regarding footwear. Some prefer 'minimalist' footwear, others (myself included) prefer something rugged. It also depends on terrain and weather conditions to an extent. When I ruck which is only several times per year, I do so to train for Alpine Climbing, so I wear boots and embark on rough terrain, to mimic conditions in the mountains to the best of my ability.
The most important item in foot gear is proper fit. (This is probably more important in boots)

I don't know anything about GoRuck packs, so I can't comment. I'm sure others on the forum have experience with this and can offer an informed opinion. When I was in the army a bazillion years ago, we had the crappiest packs known to man. I think I still have bruises. Today however, I use the same packs that I would wear to climb with. These are all reasonably expensive, fairly high end packs designed for carrying loads in the mountains. Black Diamond, Arcteryx, Wild Things, Lowe Alpine, and Patagonia are all brands I have used for climbing and training. Mind you... some of these may not the best choice for rucking, some are pretty minimalistic and light weight, so they don't have exotic suspension systems, and care must be taken in loading them. In the mountains... "light is right" is usually the desired approach.

On the other hand a cheap pack you will curse repeadtly, because you will be sore and it will fall apart...
I use a 511 Rush 72 which is about $ 180 and overkill. Their Rush 48 is plenty and is about $100. Great quality and plenty of storage. I use the 48 for my short haul travel and the 72 for long stays and rucking. takes a beating :)
 

Kozushi

More than 2500 posts
I rucked all summer in Korea - walked everywhere with all my stuff on my back like a turtle. It sure kept me in great shape - that plus Naked Warrior every day!
 

RichJ

Double-Digit Post Count
@mprevost Understand long endurance runs do not translate well to rucking - but interested whether it would work the other way around. Specifically, in the context of marathon training (I did read you article on the run blog concerning the need for time in the pure aerobic zone). It seems that most people run those long runs too hard (probably because it's pretty boring to run long and slow....) and demolish/injure themselves. I can ruck for 3 to 4 hours with 45lbs on hilly trails (GR1 with waist belt) and feel relatively okay - whereas a run of that length over similar terrain would beat me up a bit. I'd be interest to know your thoughts on substituting a longer ruck for the long runs (or at least some of them) that most marathon programs entail.

Thx v/m for your thoughts, Rich
 

pet'

More than 5000 posts
Hello,

To a certain extent I think they have a mutual carryover. However, I think rucking will help you more in running, than running will help you in rucking.

Indeed, both of them use the aerobic metabolism. Nevertheless, rucking will also challenge strength. Running will not challenge it.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

mprevost

More than 500 posts
@mprevost Understand long endurance runs do not translate well to rucking - but interested whether it would work the other way around. Specifically, in the context of marathon training (I did read you article on the run blog concerning the need for time in the pure aerobic zone). It seems that most people run those long runs too hard (probably because it's pretty boring to run long and slow....) and demolish/injure themselves. I can ruck for 3 to 4 hours with 45lbs on hilly trails (GR1 with waist belt) and feel relatively okay - whereas a run of that length over similar terrain would beat me up a bit. I'd be interest to know your thoughts on substituting a longer ruck for the long runs (or at least some of them) that most marathon programs entail.

Thx v/m for your thoughts, Rich
Hi Rich

Nothing beats specificity. However, the research does show that shorter, heavier rucks translate to improved performance on lighter, longer rucks. How about really light, long rucks (unloaded running)? I have not seen any research making that comparison. I think the best use of a ruck for a marathoner is if the increased run mileage is causing an injury but rucking is well tolerated. In that case, substituting a ruck for a run (especially the long run) really makes sense. My sense, from experience, and based on what research is available (not much) is that there should be some degree of transfer, but of course, not as much as running.

However, your question is about a trade off. Is a 3-4 hour ruck with 45lbs better for marathon training than a 2 hour zone 2 run? This is purely speculation, but if you have sufficient running in your program besides the ruck, I don't think you would be making a bad trade off.

Mike
 

Abdul-Rasheed

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Thanks for you responses gentlemen. @mprevost i never heard of such 'military surplus' shops before, when I googled there are several in my area. I will look at them this weekend. I was interested '511 Rush 48', but can't seem to find the product online. '511 Rush 72' interests me too. I will choose one of these options next week.
 

Abney

Double-Digit Post Count
I used the same camelbak motherlode for most of my career, and I bought it second hand. Robust back, comfortable with weight.
 
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