Tactical Fitness: How to Prepare for Your First Ruck March

Tactical Fitness: Ruck March

Starting to ruck or wear boots while running or rucking without proper training can lead to near immediate pain and injury. Get smart and progress through running, then build upon that foundation with rucking and wearing boots. Here is an email from a teen seeking to prepare for the military by rucking.

Stew,

I want to start ruck-marching to prepare for the military. I am new at this and many websites contradict themselves. Sir, what bag do you recommend, and could you point me to a brand? I was looking at the 5.11 Rush 72 bag. Do you think it would be any good? I want to work up to heavier weights and longer marches. Also, I have my dad's issued Air Force combat boots to train in. Should I get a new pair of boots at the BX or should they do fine? Thank you sir for any help given.  

Cameron

Cameron –

Here is my advice to starting out with rucking. DO NOT DO IT! Start off with running first. You want to have a decent foundation of running before adding weight to your fast walk or shuffle pace. See the running related link below for a progressive plan.

Here is my advice to wearing your dad's old boots.  DO NOT DO IT!  First, start running in running shoes. Once you have built a foundation of running, you can slowly start to add boots to your runs, but you want good ones built for that kind of abuse. Wearing cushioned inserts will help with comfort too. I like the Sorbathane brand insoles to make boots more comfortable and reduce impact pain. Once you have built a solid foundation of running with shoes and boots, you can try with a ruck. But progress over several months before you jump right into wearing a ruck and boots for the first time. Boots should fit well and be broken in to your feet, not your dad's.  

See related video: Blister Prevention / Wearing and Breaking in Boots

I personally like anything made by Bates. The Bates 922 DuraShock – you may find them at the BX or Navy Exchange for much less than online.

Advice for back pack: sure the 5.11 is a fine pack, but you may find some better and more cost efficient ideas on ebay by searching for these brands:  

Molle Pack or ALICE Pack and others. See related article: Ruck Sack Options. Also read some of the comments in the above article blog for more suggestions.

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

Latest Fitness Books: Navy SEAL Weight Training and Tactical Fitness