GoRuck Selection graduate interview with John Maris
JM: I’m 43, married with a three year old son. I’m a certified master instructor of Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art. I also teach fitness, nutrition and wellness classes.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
JM: I only had limited exposure to team sports in school, but grew up in Santa Cruz, CA. I spent a lot of time at the beach, running and swimming.
SGPT: How did you train for GoRuck Selection?
JM: It helps to come into the event ridiculously fit. I spent three years, three days a week, in a functional movement boot camp style class, adding distance and trail running as my fitness improved.
To train specifically for Goruck Selection, my wife actually did a bunch of research into different aspects of actual special forces selection, and tailored a 90 day workout schedule. The schedule was 6 days a week with running, rucking, weighted rucking and boot camp style PT under ruck. Mostly double days, two workouts per day. I did NO running with my ruck, but at about a month before the event, all my rucks were done with around 100 pounds, 50 pound ruck and 50 pound sandbag, all with various distance and time hacks.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event?
JM: The event is fantastic, well run, and organized. Everyone assumes the Cadre are out to get you, and nothing could be further from the truth. They provide the workload, and then root for you to complete it. They are going to provide easy escape routes for both you body, but more so for your mind. They will tell you that you are failing an exercise and that you are slow, and that everyone else is doing better, but at the same time they are punishing those who are fast or doing well physically. It’s been said before, but a lot of it is mental. If you know you can you will, if you think you can’t, you won’t. The event did not surprise me physically, but tested me mentally for sure.
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
JM: The hardest part for me was fighting anticipation. Staying in the moment and doing the work at hand. If you let your mind drift, you’ll be beaten by the next event, before you even get to it. It’s a weird mix of mindfulness and no mind at the same time. Make sure you have a good mental game before going in, 1000 tricks you can play with your mind, so that the Cadre don’t play it for you.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for Selection?
JM: The only area I felt behind on was rucking uphill. Didn’t crush me, but didn’t feel strong either. You can’t prepare for everything, so I was glad that this was the only area that I felt weak. It was also at 20 hours in, without food, so I guess feeling weak wasn’t a surprise.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do Selection?
JM: You need to be real good at kicking your own ass. If you require a group for motivation, start training alone and measure your performance against yourself. Figure out why you want to do GR Selection and keep that why real close. It can’t be for anyone but yourself. If you are doing it for ego or for some patch, you will fail.
Train harder than you think you need to. The simplest explanation is that the people who can do it don’t think it was that hard, but the people who drop think it’s impossible. They are both right. Get deep into the suck and train when you are physically tired. I called it the “Hole”. I would dig it every week, deeper and deeper, and then I would get the one day off, and force myself to recover back to some sense of normalcy, and then start digging again the next week. Because of my age, I really focused on my nutrition, eating 15-20 grams of protein every three hours, with complex carbs for fuel. No alcohol, very little wheat or sugar.
Train specifically for the event. I see a lot of people using marathons or other types of training to get ready, and that doesn’t work. If you want to pass Selection, train for Selection. Doing a triathalon or a marathon a month before Selection is not going to help you, and will very well hurt you.
Read every AAR (After Action Report) several times. I picked up very valuable “tricks” from every single one. You should know what your equipment needs are based on those AARs and then it’s just training your mind and body.
SGPT: What kind of boots did you wear? Did you use double socks or Bodyglide anti-chafe?
I used Rock Tape on my feet, and that lasted for 24 hours. I went through five pairs of Injini socks, I brought two pairs of running(crew) length, two pairs of boot length and one pair of compression for the long walk, and I used them all. I wore Oakley LSA water boots and Brooks running shoes. The LSA’s are amazing, very comfortable, and very light. The soles are light, so if you are going to be bothered by gravel, you may want something thicker. I didn’t use any foot treatments, powder or otherwise, but I did apply Bodyglide to my shoulders and waistband every chance I got. At the end I had perfect feet, no blisters or hot spots, but while training I took very good care of them, and treated every blister with special attention.
SGPT: Thanks for the interview John
JM: Thank you for the opportunity to share. I believe that both my body and mind have changed for the better training for and finishing GR Selection. It’s a fantastic event, and I think everyone should train up to it and attempt it.
Question from our readers.
Question: I want to know how to kick ass at the Goruck challenge? Check out these GoRuck Training Tips
go·ruck [verb go + verb ruck] noun ruck is short for rucksack (aka backpack), it’s also a verb: to ruck is to move with a rucksack, and implies action, energy, and purpose. We build the best gear right here in the USA, we lead team-building endurance events based on our experiences in Special Forces, and we love to ruck.