GORUCK Training Tips

Check out these GoRuck Training Tips to get you ready and prepare for the big challenge event.

These tips are tried and tested and come from dozens of graduates from past GoRuck light, Challenge, Heavy and Selection course.

We have also thrown in a a couple of the GoRuck workouts that these athletes have used with success along with a few interviews after the event.

A great thing about this style of training is that you need very little gear to get started.

#1 GORUCK Training Tips

Get a used ruck sack (military backpack) from an Army-Navy surplus store ($25 to $50 depending on condition).

These are also called an “Alice Pack“. Cost less than $35. This will be your training back pack that you can use for ruck marches and workouts (overhead press, kettle bell swings, farmers carry).

This is a good overall “training” backpack that will last a long time.

GORUCK Light – What is it all about?

Grab Your Buddies and Get Ready for a ruck Challenge @ GoRuck.com

#2 GORUCK Training Tips
Read good books on mental toughness and Special Forces training and team work. A good list is found here in the SGPT books area. A good book can help you fuel the mental fire for obstacles ahead. We recommend spending 5 minutes every night building your mind through reading. If you know a good book then post it up in the comments section.

#3 GORUCK Training Tips
Begin to ruck march once a week based on your fitness level. Start with short distances and work your way up. Slowly add weight. Don’t go and ruck march daily with a heavy pack for long distance as you will destroy your body. Start light and add weight and extend distances over the weeks to come.

Note: If you have been rucking for a period of time and have followed all tips and are training for a GoRuck Heavy then train with a heavy pack for distance – but no running. Only go heavy after you have built your way up to that point.

#4 GORUCK Training Tips
Start with bodyweight workouts 3 times a week depending on how fit you are. Pull ups, pushups, sit-ups and air squats are a great start. Add in a ruck or long trail run as your endurance component (or run to the gym).

GoRuck Workout #1
Murph (aka Body Armor)
Run 1 mile
100 pull ups
200 pushups
300 air squats
Run 1 mile

* this workout is scaleable in that you can cut it in half or scale up and add a 20 lb ruck. Either way it is great training for endurance and durability.

#5 GORUCK Training Tips
Get a good pair of boots and break them in a few months before the event. We like the New Balance Tactical Bushmaster boot as they are $90, drain well and will get the job done. Wear a thin layer of liner socks with a thick layer of wool-poly socks over them. Ruck and workout with your boots so that you will know if there are any hot spots (blisters) that will create on your toes or feet. Take care of your feet during the GoRuck event. Foot care is essential. Use Bodyglide Anti-Chafe Balm or vaseline on your toes and feet to prevent blisters.

Video – GoRuck Challenge Philadelphia

Check out GORUCK Tactical Sand Bags @ GORUCK.com

#6 GORUCK Training Tips
Work on durability and endurance exercises to build your hip flexors. Rowing long distance is a good cardio workout. Flutter kicks also build the abs and core and hip flexors. If your training for GoRuck Selection, endurance will help you to prepare for “The Long Walk”.

GoRuck workout #2
5 rounds for time
30 walking lunges (each leg)
10 burpees
10 box jumps
25 meter bear crawl
10 star jumps
finish with 5k run or 5k ruck
post time to comments

#7 GORUCK Training Tips
Train on hills. Running steep hills (or stadium stairs) is a good way to build leg strength and cardio. Hiking a steep hill with a ruck and then doing pushups on your ruck is a good method. Mix it up. You will see hill sprints with a ruck in the GoRuck Challenge – hint hint.

Video – The GORUCK Challenge

Take your Paleo Snacks with you on the Go with Steve’s Paleokits

#8 GORUCK Training Tips
Workout with your buddies. Train with your friends as this will provide extra motivation to get the workouts done and have fun. Find a local gym like a CrossFit or Underground Strength gym as they specialize in helping athletes train for events like GORUCK, Kokoro and the Spartan Race.

GoRuck Workout #3
with 20# weight vest
3 rounds for time:
1 mile run
25 x Burpees
50 x Push-ups
75 x Squats
post time to comments

#9 GORUCK Training Tips
Set goals and keep a training log. Perform a baseline workout (ruck 3 miles with 15 lbs) and log your time. As you workout over the weeks you will see your distances and weight increase. Keeping a training log will let you know exactly where you are in the process and also show your progress.

#10 GORUCK Training Tips
Have fun. Enjoy the journey. Most of GORUCK is mental so don’t get so caught up in the workouts — spend more time reflecting on the journey and being in the moment.

GoRuck Workout #4
GoRuck Workout #ONE (with a 20 lb ruck or more)
walking lunge with ruck 200 meters
hill sprints x 5
20 pushups with ruck (chest to deck)
25 flutter kicks with ruck on stomach
Ruck 10 miles minimum with 35 lbs in hilly terrain
along the way do 100 meters bear crawl, low crawl
when arriving back to base..
hill sprints x 3
20 pushups with ruck
25 flutter kicks with ruck on stomach
post workout results in comments below.
wear good running shoes or boots and center your load. Fully hydrate before and during your march. Dont run.

Extra TIP #11:
During your ruck workout carry a log or rock on your shoulder for a considerable distance. Pass it off to your buddy. Then pass it back. You will see this again in GoRuck. We also like to use a sand bag and put that on our shoulders and carry in our arms. This is good training as you will see some form of this in your event.

Questions from our athletes.

Question: “What is the best backpack for a GoRuck challenge.” First off, try on a lot of backpacks and see what fits best. You also have to consider your budget. If you don’t have much money a used Alice Pack may be all you need although it is not the most plush.  We also like the 5.11Rush Backpack for a Challenge or Light as it only cost $110 and gets great reviews.  If money is no object you may want to try out several of the GoRuck backpacks as they are super sturdy and get great reviews.

A question we just received today from an athlete – “Coach, how do I go about training for a GoRuck?”. Print out this article and use every item to help you train. Email brad@sealgrinderpt.com and I will answer every question you have and help you.

Question: What is the best ruck for the GoRuck Challenge? Many athletes say to use the GR1 GoRuck backpack. This pack was voted #1 in the SEALgrinderPT backpack votes 2013.

Question: “Coach, what is the best one piece of advice you can give for the GoRuck Challenge?”. I would have a lot of rucking under my belt. Believe in yourself and your teammates and you will be fine.

Question: What are tips for GoRuck light training? Take a look at all of the tips above. The “light” is less work so scale the workouts as needed.

Question: Is there a way we can request to have Cadre Brad at GoRuck Light? You will not know who will be the Cadre.. it is a mystery up until the last minute.

Question: What boots do you recommend for GoRuck? A pair of Bates 922 boots are a good choice.

Question: Which rucksack do you recommend with the GoRuck 1 pack vs an old Alice pack? If you have the money to spend then go with the GR1 pack. If you are on a budget then go with the Alice ruck.

Question: What is a good GoRuck training program? We recommend you ruck 3x a week, trail run once a week, CrossFit 2x a week. Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep, eating good clean fuel and foam rolling and performing mobility warmup workouts.

Question: What is a good tip from a SEALFIT Coach to get ready for GoRuck training? Put on a ruck and start hiking short distances and build up to longer. Slowly add weight and get your body used to it. While rucking add an odd object in your arms that is difficult to carry. Eat clean fuel and get adequate rest. Rinse and repeat.

Question: What are good boots for GoRuck selection? John Maris wore Oakley LSA water boot for his GoRuck selection event. Make sure you break in your boots well and train with them before the event.

Question: Where can I get a free Goruck 10 week training plan? Sign up for GoRuck through our links – send us the receipt and we will send you a free workout 30 day training plan for GoRuck.

Question: “Coach, do you have a good goruck heavy training plan? Yes; check out the info in the question above and we look forward to helping you.

Question: Would you do GoRuck again with an Alice pack? Knowing what I know now I would probably go with a GR1 pack or equivalent. If you use the Alice pack don’t put anything in the outside pockets and make sure your load is secured inside the ruck.

Question: What is the best tip for pack bricks for GoRuck? Don’t pack the bricks separate – pack them as one unit. Wrap bubblewrap around them and then tape again. If you pack them separate they will move in your pack when you have to do bear crawls.

Question: What are your best tips for preparing for GoRuck light? Use all of the tips above. Do not take the event “lightly” as it will be hard. Expect to ruck 12 miles plus with a 10 to 20 lb ruck in 8 hours with lots of extra PT.

Question: What do you think of the Oakley LSA water boots? The Oakley LSA water boots were worn successfully on a recent GoRuck selection course. You can check out comparisons and reviews of the Oakley water boots vs terrain boots here.

Question: I need a plan – Where can I find the 13 week GoRuck challenge training program that is offered? We have a new 60 day GoRuck training plan that we are now offering. Email or post up in comments.

Question: Can you use an G.I. Type Alice Pack in GoRuck. Yes; but make sure you secure the outer pockets so that nothing flies out of them while doing bear crawls. You will also want to get a frame for the Alice pack. What about the GORUCK vs Brute Force pack?


Question: Are you allowed to wear gloves in GoRuck? If so, what kind do you recommend. Yes; the Cadre ask you to wear gloves. We saw a lot of athletes wearing Mechanix gloves
Question from Keith H: Simulated log pt ideas and how often? I’ve been using my ruck, but I don’t feel its enough. I would use a sand bag or small log and workout 3x a week carrying the sand bag on your shoulder and in your arms (with a ruck on at all times). Press the bag up and hold it overhead and then pass it over to the other shoulder. Do many reps.

Question: What is your best goruck wrapping bricks tip? Wrap all bricks together with duck tape. Don’t let the bricks ride as 6 single bricks or they will end up in a cluster on your back.

Question: Can you wear jungle boots for GoRuck? You could wear them – make sure they are broken in well.

Question: What is a good GoRuck light hiking ruck? The GR0 backpack is a good ruck for that event.

Question: What are good GoRuck shoe recommendation? We have seen some guys wear running shoes to GoRuck but these guys have done multiple events and their feet are conditioned. These were also urban courses. I asked them about the running shoes and they said that if it were off road they would wear boots.

Question: What are the best goruck tips and tricks? Check out the info above and tips to help you complete your first GoRuck.

Question: What is the meaning of “DFQ” in GoRuck? it means “don’t f#@$%ing Quit”. Never Quit GoRuck.

Question: What are the goruck filler sandbag weight? They come in several different weights #20 and on down.

Question: I am training for the GoRuck Challenge but have started to develop shin splints. What can I do? Take a week off from running and start rowing. Get better running shoes and start back at a lower mileage rate per week than you were doing before.

Question: Can you tell me how to load up my back pack for ruck marches? Load up light stuff in the bottom and put the bulk of the weight on the middle of your back.

Question: What is a good stability trail shoe for the GoRuck event? I would go with a shoe like the La Sportiva Men’s C – Lite Running Shoe or the Pearl iZUMi Men’s Peak II Trail Running Shoe.

Question: Did you use a fuel goo during your GoRuck event? I did use a type of gel. But I also ate some trail mix and beef jerky. Each athlete will be different in their fuel needs so experiment before hand and find what works.

Question: Did you carry a head lamp during the GoRuck event? Yes; I had a head lamp but never needed it as our event was in downtown Atlanta and their was plenty of ambient light.

Question: What are backpacks similar to goruck packs? Maxpedition, 5.11 Rush, Kelty, REI have similar packs.

Question: Can you ruck march in running shoes? You can but make sure your feet are ready for it and you have gradually built up rucking with a light weight to heavier weight.

Question: Do you have a list of tactical gloves that are good for GoRuck? Check out this list of tactical gloves here

Question: Would you recommend the new balance abyss for goruck? Yes; The New Balance Tactical Abyss is a great boot that is lightweight and well drained.

Question: What are best shorts for a goruck challenge? A basic pair of gym shorts are good with compression shorts underneath.

Question: Is 4 days a week enough to train for a goruck challenge? Yes; if you put in your mileage and use all of the tips above.

Question: Would you use a GR0 for the GoRuck Heavy? The GR0 is best suited for a GoRuck light or challenge.

Question: Are any athletes using Profoot Orthotics for GoRuck events? Yes; we have heard of a few that have used Profoot Triad Orthotic.

Question: Can you wear a waist belt in GoRuck Selection? Yes; just got off the phone with GoRuck HQ and you are ok to wear a waist belt in GoRuck Selection.

Question: How hard is goruck selection? Only 10% pass GORUCK Selection.

Question: Does GoRuck make a hip belt? Yes; GoRuck now makes a waist belt – check it out here:

Where can I find out more info on GoRuck? Go to GoRuck.com

Related Articles:
John Maris GoRuck Selection graduate interview
GoRuck Interview with JJ Wellemeyer
GoRuck Interview with Lauri Lovvorn
GoRuck Interview with Mike Kalinowski
GoRuck Interview with James Adams
GoRuck Brick Wrapping
Check out this SGPT Ruck March workout
GoRuck Challenge Packing List
Check out this list of bodyweight workouts you can do anywhere
Check out updated Spartan Race Coupon Codes
GoRuck Coupon Codes

GORUCK Training Tips


  1. Brian says


    Just wanted to drop a line and let you know I signed up for my first GoRuck Challenge in Columbus Ohio on 5/9/114. I’m pretty stoked. Ordered a GR0 ruck pack and a few other items. Gonna try my luck at becoming an Army Ranger in the next few months. Gotta get a few medical waivers but nothing crazy. GoRuck should be a great training opportunity to learn from the cadre. I’ve spent my whole life as a fireman but it’s time to follow my passion. Love the site, the workouts and mental toughness training. It has inspired me and changed my ways. Thanks so much for what you do.


  2. Mark Sperry says

    After a bit of Q&A with Coach Brad, I thought to add a comment to this post. One of the things that Coach said he would add, in his GRC AAR post, to the training was including carrying some kind of weight out in front of him while rucking. So I’ve been enjoying using a GORUCK 20# Filler Bag, loaded with wet sand (more than 20#). Really good because small and heavy and no straps so you gotta grip it. Can hold overhead with arms fully locked out (IBS Carry Style), shoulder it (Mini-Log PT Style), farmer carry, hug it to your chest what have you… Plus, for self surf-torture PT, the sandbag gripped between your ankles, ruck on chest, makes surf sit-ups that much better! Really happy that Coach Brad is fully GRT’d up and that the tips on training for the GRC are coming thru the SGPT Web. Ruck ON!

  3. Brian says

    Do you recommend putting a waist strap on your ruck sack. I have the GR0 and was doing training yesterday with pack and it seemed really loose around the waist. It was dragging on the ground during crab walks…any advice? Thanks.

  4. Sasquatch says

    One thing I rarely see people talking about when training for a go-ruck:

    * you might have to do PT with the flag – it cannot touch the ground
    – how to secure it to your pack
    * you might have to do PT with a team weight – it cannot touch the ground
    – try doing a bear crawl / crab walk / belly crawl / push up / etc with a extra 25 lbs odd object

    buddy train with a team weight – learn how to share the weight

    just some thoughts…


  5. Tony Z says

    Any way to make burpees suck less with the ruck on? Even with the pack tight and a sternum strap on, I feel like on the upward portion of the burpee I’m getting punched in the back of the head/neck.

  6. Wally says

    What are good baselines for being able to handle the workload of the challenge? i.e. be able to ruck how long – or ruck a certain amount of vertical feet? Murph with 20# in a certain time?

    • says

      In Goruck challenge you will hike about 10 miles with 6 bricks in your pack. Half of that you may have a log on your shoulder. You do the Murph at 20X and Kokoro with a 1 hour time cap.

      • says

        A good workout we did today which I am using as a benchmark for my next GoRuck challenge is 5 mile hike in hills with 6 bricks (33 lbs) in ruck and 30 lb sand bag carried on ether shoulder to simulate log. My goal is to do several of these before my next event.

  7. Brian says

    Anyone have any good ankle stretches? Anytime I ruck more than 4+ miles or so I begin to feel a popping behind my ankle near my archilles. I’ve since started stretching much more prior to a longer ruck and it has helped…I’ve included ankle rotations and multiple lower body stretches but it still does it every so often. I have no pain or fear of any damage being done, its more annoying than anything. Thanks.

  8. Gary says

    What is a good target ruck pace for the Heavy training rucks? I’ve been maintaining 14 mins/mile @ 55# up to 12 miles so far.

    • says

      That is very good with 4 miles an hour. Keep that up but make sure you get adequate rest as very hard on your body. Rest, rinse, repeat.
      Email me Gary and I will send you a free audio.

  9. Keith says

    I don’t have a training partner close by, so I came up with ways to train for a buddy carry without an actual buddy. #1 I have found that using a EZ curl bar, with a towel wrapped around the middle, works well as you can gradually add weight over a period of time. Start light and build up to a heavier weight. #2 If you have access to a boxing heavy bag you can also use it as well. #3 my dog. Yes my 130lbs wolf dog works well to simulate carry a wounded person.

    • says

      Seriously depends on the Cadre. Some will never make you run. Others, like Jason the founder, make you run ALL NIGHT. But we’ve always been trained to not “run with bricks” – it’s damned hard on the joints.

    • says

      Good question Chris. Whatever you use as snacks / fuel – use that in your training so it does not surprise you body. Good fuel ideas are trail mix, beef jerky (make sure not spicy), protein bars and goo fuel. Thanks for posting Chris – email me and I will send you a free audio.

    • says

      Also mentally prepare yourself to have NO food or LITTLE food or “whatever you can grab from the shared food bag” since the Cadre will often take all the food away and control access to it. Your body has like 3-5 weeks of energy stored in fat, so don’t freak out about it. :)

  10. says

    I have never rucked before. I just signed up for the Heavy on Dec. 5th in S.F. Do you think a person who has never rucked can train enough between now and then to complete it? Thanks!

    • says

      We had 8 (out of 41) people show up and do a Heavy, having never done a Challenge. It REALLY sucked for them but they completed it. I wouldn’t recommend it. They had brutal chafing, terrible foot issues, and were in more pain than they needed to be. I agree strongly with Brad that doing a challenge is a good step towards doing a Heavy. Most Heavy’s are now up to 35-50 miles with 50-250 lb. They’re not nothin’

  11. Marie says

    Hi Brad, Thanks for all your info. I have done 2 GRC and 4 Lights. There are a Lot of training plans for Heavy/Selection out , but need to break it down to 4 days week due to work. Am already doing one ruck per week – 12 miles with 40 pounds. Is there a good calisthenics/ sandbag split (upper body/lower/whole/core and mobility) you could recommend for Goruck Heavy (or HCL) (Simplified as possible) Am running too (can run 6 miles easy)

  12. Mark says

    If you were required to choose boots OR running shoes for a Goruck Challenge, which would you pick, and why?

    • says

      I would use running shoes for a Goruck light or urban Goruck challenge.

      I would use boots for a GoRuck challenge or one with dirt roads or trails.

      There are several more tips in the SGPT Goruck interviews.

  13. Ryan Mobley says

    I’ve already worked up to carrying 50lbs 4 miles. Do you think I should just progress another mile with 50 lbs or lighten the load to around 35lbs and go 10 miles or so?

  14. Brett D says

    Coach, I’ve been trying Flutterkicks while holding a 30 lb ruck overhead. Is there any trick here. It’s obviously harder, but not sure if there’s a good way to try to position the bag or my back more efficiently.

    • says

      That is hard to hold a rucksack and do flutter kicks. Start out with the full weighted bag on your stomach. Do multiple sets of flutter kicks the first week. Then slowly add weight to the rucksack 10/20/30 lbs each week to build up.

  15. TP says

    Getting prepped for a goruck challenge about a month out, and found out a little over a week ago I have mono. I’m gonna take a couple weeks off which was medically advised. Just wondering if you have any recommended workouts for trying to make up for time lost.

  16. Rob Kolinsky says


    Thank you so much for your dedication to this lifestyle! I am sure you have contributed to bettering a lot of people’s lives beyond what you may realize. I am so grateful to have found your website and I tell everyone who will listen that you are the man to go to!

    Check it out, I am signed up for my next GORUCK event! This one is the Memorial Day Goruck Challenge in San Diego, CA on the 22nd of May @9pm till we are wrecked! I am really stoked. So, that being said, I am following your GORUCK Tough training guide and also reading 8 Weeks To SEALFIT. I also incorporate some of the GORUCK’s training workouts.

    You have inspired me to reach my limits and crush them, to find the real strength of my steel. Keep up the great work! GO NAVY! HOOYAH! Best, Rob Kolinsky

  17. Brett D says

    Coach, I’m 3 weeks out from my first GoRuck. I’ve worked to reduce times on my workouts, but in these last couple weeks what should I really focus on to prepare.

    • says

      Brett: You should increase your ruck distance over the next 2 weeks and add in more hills. Practice hill runs with rucks and flutter kicks with ruck on your stomach. Make sure you pack fits really well, have your hydration system dialed in and ready to go. Make sure you load will not slip and end up on the back of your neck. Read all of the tips above and all of the recent GORUCK interviews.

    • says

      Something to be aware of, at my last GoRuck we had to switch packs with the others in our group. I got a pack from a person shorter than me and had to adjust it on the go…

  18. Mike Hettmann says

    Thanks for all your tips on the GoRuck Brad. My question is whether I should make drain holes for my boots. If so, what’s the best way to make good drain holes?

  19. Daniel Camp says

    Daniel Camp here with a question: I have a ho ruck heavy coming up in 2 days, on friday 4/3, and am wondering how to use.my last two days before the event … I am bad at taking time off but wondering of I should do some light running, easy rucking, etc. Thanks in advance and for being a great resource for info

    • says

      weather / temperature and wind will dictate much of how you dress.

      for a cool night – lets say 50’s – not much wind – i would wear Nike combat long underwear with nylon shorts over top of that. I nylon long sleeve tshirt with another nylon shirt over that.

      if it is sunny and hot — you will need to adjust. I would wear a thin nylon long sleeve (to protect from sun) and throw on a floppy hat and something for my neck (getting sun burn sucks)

      if cold I would add a poly-blend wool cap. If cold and rainy I would add a lightweight rain jacket.

      i would stay away from cotton. I would use nylon fabric — or nylon blend/polypro/smartwool as it will dry quicker and still keep you warm if wet.

      let me know if that helps.

  20. Dalton B says

    My rucksack sags down tremendously with the weight of the bricks in it. Will GORUCK let me use an external frame to solve this problem (like a pack rabbit frame)?

  21. Brett D says

    Coach, a buddy carry in GoRuck seems to be a guarantee for the team. How can I prepare to carry a 200+lb teammate and pack if I don’t have access to a squat rack, or a formal gym.

    • says

      good question Brett. I would find a training partner and carry them…. or I would carry a large sand bag/duffle bag on my back. Let me know what you come up with.

    • Keith says

      I used a EZ curl bar with a towel around the middle. You can gradually add weight to it as you get comfortable with heavier weights. Also, try using tires around your shoulders. Start with normal car tires and figure out a way to add weight to them.

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