7 Tips for New Ruckers

If you are curious about how to start rucking, this is for you.

Rucking, often known as “ruck-marching,” is one of the most beneficial and effective physical programs an individual can engage in. Many of us see rucking in different ways. Some see it as a sports related program. Others as military related. But a lot of us see rucking as just a training activity. If you’ve ever been on a long morning or afternoon hike or trek through nature’s beautiful scenery with a backpack filled with supplies, then you’ve been rucking.

On the other hand, backpacking and rucking are totally different. Backpacking is based on adventure, like hiking or mountain climbing. Rucking is intentionally “marching” with a weighted backpack on your back for the sole purpose of training your body physically. A case could as well be made that it involves mental training as well. That’s why many so-called spartan or tough adventure racers love to ruck.

Enjoy Your Seven Rucking Tips

  1. Plan your route

While rucking is quite simply a training program, it sometimes involves going into unknown areas. The first consideration in every journey no matter how short or long, is to make sure that you get back safely. Always endeavor to follow a planned route. Be sure there is someone that knows your intended itinerary should an inopportune emergency arise.

  1. Boot Selection

Always, always, always wear your best boots while rucking. Avoid using inappropriate footwear that does not give adequate support to your ankles and your feet. If in doubt, check with a skilled fitter at your outdoor shop. Explain what you are doing and they’ll help you choose wisely.

  1. Ruck packing

One of the major mistakes most inexperienced ruckers [primarily beginners who are rucking for the first time] make is to fail to pack their bag properly. You’ll know when you’re “knackered” after the first few miles. Always be sure that the heavier weights are packed higher up in the backpack. Make sure they’re fastened securely. Pad them as needed, But also be sure they’re as close to your back as practical. The lower the weight hangs, or the farther away from your spine, the more the effort that is required to counterbalance it. This will in turn cause pain or worse in your lower back and probably your knees as well.

  1. Take longer Strides

If you find yourself slowing down or behind the others, don’t run, take longer strides instead. If you run, you might end up becoming very exhausted too soon. You will also likely bash the weight against your spine while trying to catch up to your intended pace. Running is hardly worth it unless you are already a skilled and experienced trail runner.

  1. Always go along with more than enough hydration

In any training program, there is nothing more essential than water. Always plan to go on rucks with lots of water, electrolyte drinks and maybe even protein shakes if you’ll be out long. Try to consume as much as you need before, during and after the ruck march. Studies have shown an increase in recovery time and reduction in performance with as little as a pint of water lost in sweating that is not replaced.

  1. Take breaks

No matter how much time you spend rucking, you are most likely to break down at some point if you don’t stop and take a break. Taking breaks in between ruck marches can do a great deal of wonder for your recovery and ability to endure long training hikes.

  1. Build Distraction Techniques as Needed

Rucking is as much a mental activity as it is physical. Strive to take your mind off the weights in your backpack while rucking. Don’t focus on them. Avoid the thought of how hard the task is. Be thinking of a cherished friend, or constructing images in your mind that represent your ideal fitness or other goal.

All about rucking

The seven tips for rucking newbies above are primarily for those who will be rucking outside. If you want the full scoop on how to start your own indoor rucking program on a treadmill, be sure to check out my new Rucking Simple Treadmill Training Guide, available on Amazon