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Training for 26.2 Miles

Important: When training, wear the boots or shoes, carry the equipment, and eat the food you intend to use on the day of the Tough Ruck. This is particularly key if participating in one of the heavy divisions.

Use your training rucks to dial in your equipment, hydration, and fueling. Practice eating what you’re going to eat the day before, the morning before, and during the event. The day of the Tough Ruck is not the day to experiment with new foods or equipment!

How to train

The Tough Ruck is not an event to take lightly. Walking 26.2 miles is difficult; adding weight in the form of a ruck makes it harder. But it’s very doable if you train for it. Below you will find training plan for 4 months (16 weeks), 3 months (12 weeks), and 2 months (8 weeks) of preparation. These plans are meant as guidelines; feel free to adjust as necessary. The more time you have the better, but regardless of your time frame you should focus on training safety, your health, and recovery. Remember to stretch and stay hydrated. If these do not work for you, contact the Tough Ruck Team and we will figure it out together.

Training principles

  • Focus on short, even steps.

  • It helps to work on a hydration rhythm – take a sip of water every ½ mile.

  • As the distance increases make sure you have a few days in between training events to recover. Stretch and foam roll on off days.

  • Finding time to do this is tough. Remember what and who you’re training for. Consider early morning or treadmill sessions.

  • If you are rucking in the dark make sure you are highly visible. Reflective belts, chemical lights, and flashlights are all good tools.

  • Training rucks are as much about preparing yourself mentally as they are about preparing yourself physically. Approach them accordingly.

  • How you train is how you’ll perform on the day. As your training rucks get longer you should dial in your equipment, fueling, hydration, and pacing strategies. Your longest ruck before the event is your chance to do a trial run – make it count. It helps to write down what works and what doesn’t.

Sample training plans

4-month (16-week) training plan

3-month (12-week) training plan

2-month (8-week) training plan

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