What it is. How I found it. And maybe the most important, why am I doing it?
What it is:
Rucking is carrying a weighted pack on your back. It implies action, energy, and purpose.
Rucking is the foundation of Special Forces training. Green Berets are well versed in shouldering heavy rucks through cities, mountains, jungles and deserts, in war and in peace — alone when they must, together whenever possible. Rucking requires strength, endurance, and character — and builds it, too.
Note: Hiking is rucking in the mountains, urban hiking is simply called rucking. Rucking can be done at any weight.
All that was taking from the GORUCK site for What is Rucking. If you’d like to watch a 2 minute video on what is rucking click here.
How I found it:
I’ve known about GORUCK for a while. I had some folks I knew from my old gym do an event, but I honestly didn’t give it much thought. Then, in the summer of 2018 Chris Spealler launched a program called Grunt Work. We had done some Grunt Work through ICON athelete at the gym and it included sled pushes and pulls, farmer and other carries etc. It’s a great workout that is often low impact on the body. Don’t mistake that for easy. I signed up for Gruntwork and try to put a workout like that in with my regular training every once in a while. The program called for a ruck once or twice a week. What’s a ruck, it’s putting some weight on your back and going for a walk. Simple. Effective.
Then, in September they partnered with GORUCK. Log 4 rucks in Strava and one person will win a GORUCK pack (backpack that is basically bombproof) and a weight plate and some other gear. So I jumped on it. Did my first 4 rucks due to this challenge. One was in Denver, and I’d taken a cheap Jansport bookbag and “borrowed’ some dumbbells from the hotel. I rucked down a coffee shop and back. Around 2 and a half miles. About halfway I worried about, what would happen if the backpack breaks and I have to get these 3 dumbbells back to the hotel while trying to carry a coffee.
I didn’t win the ruck, but during that time I had been investigating the GORUCK site more and more.
You need to know that there is a difference between rucking for fitness (there are a ton of fitness benefits) and doing a GORUCK event. The event contains rucking but also comes with huge lessons in leadership. It’s run by former or current special forces members from our armed forces. There is PT with your ruck; like push ups, squats, bear crawls etc. At these events you and your team will carry logs, and other objects. You’ll learn to work as a team. And unless you quit, you’ll come out on the other side with a sense of pride, lessons in leadership, a great workout and you’ll earn a patch. The patches are always earned, never sold. All those lessons are what I’ve read about and been told. I have yet to do an event, but that will change on 4.7.19 in Charlotte, NC.
After Finding it:
I researched the GORUCK packs over and over again. They are built in the USA and have a lifetime guarantee. If something happens to it, they’ll fix it or replace it. But they aren’t cheap. That’s for sure. I waited for the Veterans Day sale and pounced on the Rucker. It’s cheaper than the GR1 (the staple of the line, the first pack made) and even the website says if you aren’t going to be carrying a laptop, get the Rucker. I had a bag I use for travel that has a laptop area and this was just to ruck with. So, I grabbed the Rucker and a little while later got the 20# GORUCK plate to go in it. I won’t be rucking with my weight vest anymore.
Why I am Rucking:
I really enjoyed the rucking we did in the Gruntwork Challenge.
I love the exercise benefits of it and the change of pace you get with adding it to CrossFit. I’m may do a post with all sorts of links of the benefits of rucking.
I miss the endurance aspect of cycling. I won’t say running because I never really loved that. But I did like the running events you could do and be a part of.
I love the fact that GORUCK has different events. Not only do they have Light (5ish hours) avg completion rate 100%, Tough (12 hours) with an average completion rate of 94% & Heavy (24 Hours) with an average completion rate of 50%. You can get real crazy and do all 3 in succession for an HTL with just a few hours between events. There’s also Selection, which appears to be like the CrossFit Games of GORUCK.
Each of those type events is different or seems to have a theme.
Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day, etc. And some are based on famous battles in History; D-Day, Battle of Baghdad, Battan (https://www.goruck.com/event-14107/) which I’m doing, and more.
One of my Professional Development goals for 2018 was to read more books and get a few new leadership books under my belt. I read a few good ones, but so many just get repetitive. You could boil over half the leadership books out there down to the fact that you need to communicate with all types of people and in different situations. GORUCK is going to be a real-life communication book. You have a leader, pushing you and a team to accomplish tasks that you are going to have to communicate to do.
This is from the GORUCK webiste: Note: Your Cadre will lead the class, teaching team-building and leadership lessons based on his time in Special Operations.
This is outside of my comfort zone. That’s another reason I think this is going to be a valuable experience for me. And there is an amazing community of GRTs(GORUCK Tough people, apparently you can be a GRT by finishing a Light, which is a little confusing, I digress). The community of people I’ve already interacted with, read articles from, got training advice from, etc is inspiring. I think it’s safe to say that community’s of rad people doing cool shit is a huge similarity between CrossFit and GORUCK.
I’m going to train and exercise (win), add this to my professional development (win), get real life lessons from special forces trained teachers (win), meet awesome people (win) and earn a damn cool patch (win). That seems like a lot of wins.
Currently I’m enjoying the training. I really hope I enjoy the events and they are something I can do a few of each year. They seem amazing.
I think my twitter is going to turn into my training and exercise social media outlet. So if you care to follow along, outside this blog, feel free to head over to twitter and look up @dhill37.