GORUCK Training Tips and Workout Plan for Easy Preparation

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 GR workouts that these athletes have used with success along with a few interviews after the event. And if you’re looking for a coupon code for GORUCK, we’ve got you covered.

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


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. This pack is still used today (in recent war in Afghanistan) and I used this pack in training and during ruck events. Make sure to put a good hydration bladder inside that is secured.

Video GORUCK Light – What is it all about?


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.


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 Tips

Get a good pair of boots and break them in a few months before the event. Check out our list of Top 10 Boots Worn at GORUCK Events. 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.


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 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.

#8 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

  • “Benoit”
  • 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 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 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..
  • hHll 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. Don’t 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 5.11 Rush 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 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.

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: 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: 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 seperate 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 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: 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: 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: Would you use the GR0 for selection? Tom Rowland had mentioned that he wishes he would have used a smaller pack like the GR0 for selection training and rucking.

About the Author:

Are you looking to achieve big goals? Do you have a big event on the horizon and you want to finish the drill?

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Get individual coaching from former Navy SEAL Coach Brad McLeod. Check out SGPT coaching here:

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
GoRuck Challenge Packing List
SGPT Interviews GORUCK Finisher Jay Jarduillo

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