How long you should ruck depends on a two main variables: your experience rucking and the purpose for which you are rucking.
Those new to rucking should only ruck 30-60 minutes, whereas experienced athletes training for rucking events can ruck for more than 6 hours.
In this article we will look specifically at how long you should ruck if you are:
- New to rucking.
- Have been rucking for 3-6 months.
- Have been rucking for more than 6 months.
- Training for GORUCK Star Course 12-Miler or GORUCK Basic,
- Training for GORUCK Star Course 26-Miler or GORUCK Tough.
- Training for GORUCK Star Course 50-Miler or GORUCK Heavy.
How Long You Should You Ruck If You’re New To Rucking?
If you are new to rucking, as with any new sport or exercise, it is important that you ease into it. Even if you have a good baseline of physical fitness, the newness of bearing weight as you walk will introduce your body to new stimuli that it will need to adapt to.
For someone new to rucking, we recommend rucking for for 15-30 minutes 2-3 times per week.
If you have a low baseline of fitness, you could stay at this length and frequency for as much as a month before increasing time and frequency.
Those with a higher baseline of fitness can expect to progress from the time domain after just a couple weeks of rucking.
If you’re new to Rucking, we recommend you check out our Training Program for New Ruckers.
How Long You Should You Ruck if You’ve been Rucking for 3-6 Months?
If you’ve been rucking consistently for 3-6 months, it is likely that you’ve built up enough endurance and muscle to ruck anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours.
At this point you should be able to ruck 2-4 times per week, if desired, and you should mix in variety of shorter and longer rucks. As you are rucking you should be progressing towards the ability to complete a 12-mile ruck in under 3 hours and 30 minutes.
How Long You Should Your Ruck if You Have Been Rucking for More Than 6 Months?
At this point, if you’ve been consistently rucking for 6 months and building in time and distance, you should be able to ruck for 1-6 hours.
For experienced ruckers we recommend rucking 3-4 times per week. One ruck should be focused on covering as much distance as possible in 1 hour. One ruck should be focused on carrying more weight than you usually do, but for only 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. Your third ruck should be focused on rucking for longer periods, anywhere from 2-6 hours.
How Long Should You Ruck if You’re Training for a GORUCK Star Course 12-Miler or GORUCK Basic?
Specifically, when training for these events you should split up your training into short heavy rucks (30 minutes to an hour), moderate fast rucks (1 hour +/-), and long regular pace rucks 2-4 hours.
Your longer rucks should increase in time as you get close to your event date, with the goal of being able to complete a 12-mile ruck in 4 hours or less.
How Long Should You Ruck if You’re Training for a GORUCK Star Course 26-Miler or GORUCK Tough?
Your ruck training for these events should be split across 1) rucks that are shorter (under 1 hour) but are at a weight heavier than your event weight, 2) rucks that are for a little longer (1-2 hours) but are focused on moving faster than your normal pace, and 3) rucks that are long (2-5+ hours).
These rucks should build in length as your training develops. Prior to your event, you should feel comfortable rucking for 4+ hours at a moderate pace.
How Long Should You Ruck if You’re Training for a GORUCK Star Course 50-Miler or GORUCK Heavy?
Of course, in training you should not be rucking for 6+ hours all the time. We recommend focusing on short (1 hour+/-), Moderate (1-2 hour), and long (3+ hour) rucks every week.
Prior to these events you should have multiple (at least 2-3) exposures to rucks in excess of 6+ hours. Your should also be able to comfortably ruck 12 miles in under 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Have any followup questions? Post them in the comment section below and we’ll do our best to help.