So, you’re going to join the fun of a GORUCK Tough Challenge……12+ hours with a weighted ruck, plus plenty of PT and team movements involving awkwardly cumbersome objects.
This, of course, is all 100% doable, and we have a great team of people; so, somehow this manages to be a very good time, as well.
We thought it’d be helpful to provide some tips your gear and a training program.
First things first……get a suitable ruck, throw some weight in it, and start rucking; just taking a walk. It’s important to get used to the weighted ruck.
Along with taking a nice stroll with your ruck on, you should get used to doing some push ups and squats with that weight on your back.
GORUCK has a check list of gear for this event, and you can find that here.
Based on my experience with GORUCK events, here are some of my own recommendations for gear:
- The ruck; aka, the most important part of the event. I’d strongly advise against using your kid’s school backpack or that super hip Patagonia bag you got as a corporate swag giveaway. Invest in something sturdy; your back and shoulders will thank you.
- Obviously, I’m a huge fan of GORUCK (GR). It’s a veteran-owned company that makes their gear in the USA. Check out their “Rucker” pack.
- Weight: It depends on how much you weigh, but you must have weight in your ruck at all times. GORUCK suggests carrying wrapped bricks (either 4 or 6), or using metal plates, which they conveniently sell. I’ve done both, and the plates are much better.
- Whatever style of weight you choose, make sure it’s as secure as possible inside your ruck.
- Hydration Bladder: I use a Source 3L hydration bladder. You can find Source products along with numerous other options on Amazon.
- I add Nuun tablets to the water in my bladder. They give you electrolytes, which help keep you hydrated.
- Gloves: You want gloves, not to keep your hands warm but to protect them when we’re moving our team weights around. GORUCK recommends Mechanix gloves. You can also go to the hardware store and get work gloves.
- Food: There seem to be a million kinds of protein bars, meals, gels, and snacks out there these days. Go to REI and you can spend an hour just in the food section. This is definitely a matter of personal preference; but, whatever you do, make sure you test run the food you bring…..you don’t want to try something for the first time during the event.
- Headlamp: It will be dark, and this is a mandatory item on the checklist.
- Shoes: Again, this is absolutely a personal preference. No need for anything too fancy; a sturdy pair of trail runners work just fine. Just remember, you’re going to be in these shoes for 12+ hours, and you want to avoid blistering and foot problems at all costs. So, test out your shoes….ruck with them and make sure to ID any potential issues.
- Foot care: Bring a couple extra socks so you can change if necessary; you’re feet will surely get wet, and a dry pair of socks will be your best friend. I also use Body Glide on my feet to minimize friction.
Get Your Mind Right
This is the most important part; more so than any of the training or gear. We have a great team, and this will be a lot of fun; but, for those of us who have cushy civilian lives, this event might be the toughest physical task we ever accomplish.
Wrap your head around how challenging this will be, and then make sure you believe that you can accomplish your goal of finishing this. In the military, this attitude is called “embrace the suck.” It’ll be hard….accept that and push through it.
We do this event together. It’s not a race nor is it about who is strongest or fastest. It is about all of us finishing as a team because we’ve figured out how to pick each other up and bring out the best in our teammates.