The got the Military Athlete GORUCK Heavy Training Plan about 12 weeks out from my event. The plan retails for $40 and can be purchased from the Military Athlete website. When I was training for GORUCK Heavy I had completed four GORUCK Challenges but never had attempted any event of this distance or magnitude.
I was originally the most excited about the required equipment section. You don’t need access to a nice, fancy gym or expensive CrossFit classes. Instead you’ll need exactly what you’ll be dealing with at Heavy and objects that are easy to find.
- Sandbag (see below)
- Ruck or Back Pack
- Team Weight (25# item)
- Watch (for tracking time
- Pull-up Bar (find one at a park or playground
They suggest a 40# sandbag for females and a 60# sandbag for males but if you’re a male and not a heavy lifter I’d suggest starting out with a 40# bag and working your way up… I sure wish I had. I’m a distance athlete by nature and the first week or two was very difficult to do with the 60# sandbag. For your sandbag I’d suggest doing one of the following: buy from GORUCK, buy from Military Athlete, or make your own. I followed the ITS Tactical guide and made my own because I’m cheap like that. It turned out very nicely and lasted well through all of the training I had to do with it. I’ve worked with the GORUCK sandbags and can attest to their quality but have never used the Military Athlete sandbags, though I hear they are good as well.
The structure of the plan is set up with two rest days, three normal days, one long ruck day, and one very long day. I was pretty good at keeping up with the normal days (and definitely with the rest days) but the long days posed a problem on occasion. What do I mean in terms of “long” you might ask? I mean days with a solid 6 – 12 hours of exercises and rucking planned. On those days I generally had to say anything is better than nothing and go out and do all that I could. The long ruck days last from 3 – 4.5 hours and were a bit easier to fit in to my busy schedule (was also training for a Half-Ironman at the time.)
There is a great page in the manual titled “Training Considerations” which gives a brief overview on some things you can expect as well as some tips and tricks. The tips and tricks are crucial for newbies and includes foot care, your ruck, resting, and mind games aka bargaining. One of the best parts is the link to the videos showcasing every exercise in the program. If there’s ever an exercise that you don’t know how to do you can easily go to Rob’s website and watch the video on it. I know for the first few sessions that I did I needed to reference my laptop/phone to ensure I was doing everything correctly.
Overall I was very impressed with the program. Rob does a great job making sure you hit the muscle groups that will see the majority of the work (legs, shoulders, and core.) In addition everything is laid out very well and the videos are amazing help. The issue with GORUCK Heavy is that every Heavy event is different. In ours we traveled a little over 33 miles and entered the water 5 times (totaling around an hour or more spent in shoulder deep water.) In another Heavy I heard that they only traveled 16 miles and but did massive amounts of PT. These events are all different so training properly for them can be a challenge in itself. From what I’ve seen they vary a good deal more than the GORUCK Challenge.
If you’re unsure how to train for something this large then I highly suggest getting this plan. Even if you don’t follow it exactly it will still give you great ideas to incorporate into your current workouts. If you do know how to train for something of this nature then you’re probably better off saving the money and buying a nice sandbag for training with it.