Rucking problems...


Apr 1, 2011
I've looked around and found a lot of good advice on rucking here but I need some additional information.

I'm a Marine reservist scheduled to go to MARSOC A&S this summer/fall. I feel like I'm mostly ready but one area I'm continuing to struggle with is Rucking. I can ruck forever, but I'm slower than I want to be. I'm also short... a little over five feet... that probably has something to do with it. I can pull off a 15:30 mile without much trouble. My goal pace is 14 min per mile. I read somewhere that the average hike time for the 12 mile at A&S was two hours fifty minutes and my goal pace would put me close to that. I don't want to score just average on the hike but 14 min per mile is realistic for now. I've tried a few things to improve my ruck times but I haven't found a solution yet. I currently do 1, 3, and 10 mile rucks weekly with a 50lbs pack. I'd appreciate any advice, especially from any operator that is close to my height.
I'm a short(er) guy @ 5'7 and my most recent 13km (or 8miler with 77lbs before water) time is 1hour 14mins and my plan of attack was to run my hole off. I shuffle it all in gravel, with good boots(lowa zephyr's) and i find the gravel/dirt easier on the knees and hips than hard pack.

I start shuffling right off the hop man, and i try to tuck in behind a tall fast guy. I've never been like a cardio fit kinda guy but i have that kind of syndrome where i can follow at just about any pace even tho it messes me right up-like an old dog or something.

i dunno man-works for me.

15.30 miles is a touch over 6kmh (6.192kmh if I did my adding up right), which is normal marching around the barracks pace in this part of the world. Striding out isn't going to help you, so it's down to increasing your leg turn over. Shorter quicker paces, find a rhythm that you can maintain and build the fitness so you can keep it up for a couple of hours. You might want to also incorporate a bit of shuffling (not sure if that's allowed?) 10 or 15 seconds of shuffling every minute will greatly increase the amount of ground you're covering.
Ruck squats, lots of them....

Ruck up hill, find a good ¼ to ½ mile hill and ruck up and down it….It’s going to hurt but is will strengthen your legs. Try and keep the 14-15 minute pace on the hills and try and push yourself to a 13-14 minute pace on flat/rolling terrain.

Stretch your legs prior to rucking, and then when you are rucking stretch your stride out (take longer steps). This will help you get rid of the short stride that us shorter people suffer from.

Find a ¼ mile marker from your house, run to it and back…as soon as you get back to the house/yard put your ruck on and do 25 squats. Take the ruck off and repeat ….

The big key is to stretch your stride out and strengthen your legs…….Suffer on the hills and with the squats, make it the hardest conditions possible without hurting yourself. I would do the hills once or twice a week, the run & squats two or three times a week and then ruck 15 to 18 miles once a week (cross country if possible).
15-minute mile pace is about as fast as I can comfortably walk with a ruck, any faster I have to shuffle. I usually try to run when I can along the flats and downhill, and dig in and speedwalk up hills. Works for me. I also recommend you stretch really well before and after your ruck, every time. And make sure you have a good pair of broken-in boots. You can injure yourself by doing a lot of running with a heavy ruck, so make sure you don't overtrain.
As far as "technique" goes, I have little to add other than I always packed, balanced adjusted, fit and wore my ruck as near to "perfect" as I could get it and that includes properly using the chest band, waist or hip band, and getting everything set and balanced as best as I could. Hell, I probably would have hooked up a head band "strap" (appropriately High Speed looking and in function of course) like some villager somewhere carrying "500 pounds" in a big straw basket with a rag around their forehead to the basket - if I had thought of it.

Other than that, yes you will end up "running", shuffling, jogging, walking with your ruck off and on for various distances if you are like most guys. That's the life of the Combat Arms Ground Pounder and yes - Special Operators must excel at Ground Pounding skills like bread and butter. Not everything is a glorious chopper ride in with an assault combat load, double tap the bad guy and one to the head, grab the intel and scoot. Much of it is routine training - over and over again. Tasks as mundane as picking up a monstrous ruck and pounding out the mileage with it. Or exiting an aircraft in flight with it and everything else including your weapons strapped to you - at night, and they put you off the DZ.

Become one with the giant wart. Learn to love the suck. IMO, 90% or better of everything in this game is mental. We just pick up our rucks and do it, cause that's what we do. Or used to do in the case of us Former Action Guys. It may sound flippant, but I think from an Infantryman to a Special Operations team, that's pretty much how much thought they put into it. Just pick the fucker up, groan softly in your misery if you must, and continue on with the many tasks ahead of you. You do it and make it happen because you are damn glad to be there and are doing things that few others have seen or done. There are not too many "strategies" other than maybe the tips given by some of the other walking hunch backs and broke-dicks around here that I can think of it other than perhaps using your gear as it was meant and to your best advantage.
I'd say a 12-13 min/mile pace is competitive/good for Army SOF units, granted you can maintain it for 12 miles or more, of course it gets closer to, and eventually exceeds 15 min/mile when you get up the 18-20 something milers- I'm sure it's about the same in the Marines, most SOF units have comparable standards and candidates.

Like Pete said, you just have to learn to embrace it. It's like being in the field for 2 weeks, or deploying to a shit fire base- just embrace the fact that it sucks, it's not going to get any easier, and there are people all over the world who have it just as hard- but for them, it's just life as usual.
Footmarching was one of the only PT events that came easy to me. We'd do one a week in the 327, same in 5th Group. I'd rather hump 12 miles with a heavy ruck than run 5.
One question, why are you rucking 1 mile? You cannot even get warm in 1 mile. Instead of doing 1,3, and 10 miles why not do 3,5, and 8 then start building up to longer
One question, why are you rucking 1 mile? You cannot even get warm in 1 mile. Instead of doing 1,3, and 10 miles why not do 3,5, and 8 then start building up to longer

Yeah I agree, if you know you have a 12 mile'r you have to meet at 3 hrs (2 1/2 is where it should be), why would you waste your time with anything less then 12 miles unless your building strength or speed. I would be doing the 12 (more like 15-18) at least once a week.
Again thank you for the advice. My MOS is infantry so I'm not a stranger to having my body weight on my back, my only concern is being competitive at A&S. to explain myself a little better the reason I do a 1 mile hike is because as soon as I'm done I drop my pack, change my footwear and run 5 miles. This may not have much training value for rucking but it's fun. The 3 mile is for pace, and the ten mile is for distance. I just measured out a twelve mile route. I was doing ten because I just used my route for a five mile run and did it twice.

I think I'm just gonna end up shuffling most of the time... which is not ideal but I'll make it work. Thanks again.
If anyone here is with the 19th SF and would be interested in mentoring me I'm sure we could work something out, just PM me.
Take 1 pack, fill with weight.
Take 1 sturdy box approx 1ft high.
Take 1 television and DVD player, insert Blackhawk down or some such and proceed to do step ups for the duration.

It gives you something to inspire you maybe and helps break up the tedium.

In order to post in this forum(SOF Mentor Program) you must introduce yourself in the thread titled First Post. If you look at the thread that my esteemed PJ friend pointed you in the direction of you would have passed this station. But you did not. Instead of doing the right thing and paying attention to detail. You did the blatantly wrong thing and then posted a link to your mistake.

The reason that this whole sub-forum was started was to help guys like you make it. However if I do not have a detailed description of who you are and what you want from my community(SOF), I cannot help you. However if you post a good intro in the first post thread in this sub-forum, I get a clearer picture of who you are and what you want. It can shape the responses you can receive greatly. Look at the difference in username: is Fridays posts/the responses to his posts, before and after his introduction in the sub-forum.

Also imagine if you had set apart time to come up with this idea to help young studs become SOF guys, you then issue simple as fuck instructions and then you are blown off by said wannabe. It would prolly get you hot and bothered. I just happened to be the guy who came up with this idea, and your disregard for the rules of this sub-forum pisses me off. Just a little for now, but in the future a little bit of forethought, attention to detail, and research will go a long way for you.
I apologize when you said- Read the info/ New Guys Start here- I thought you meant for the entire forum not just this sub forum.