IMPROVE YOUR ENDURANCE, WITH RUNNING + RUCKING

Conditioning, Mindset, Mobility, Running, Training -

IMPROVE YOUR ENDURANCE, WITH RUNNING + RUCKING

For a long time, long-distance running has been the primary way people use to improve their endurance. Unfortunately, the problem with this is that frequent long-distance running can lead to serious injuries such as stress fractures or shin splints. And, it doesn’t really do much to help strengthen your legs or make you more durable (injury-proof).

In the rest of this article, we’re going to explore a more long term, hybrid approach to building endurance, while also strengthening your legs and reducing the risk of injuries in the process. We’ll do so by using an approach that utilizes both running AND rucking.

WHAT IS RUCKING?

Rucking is simply walking fast while carrying extra weight. Traditionally, you would wear a backpack with weight in it (aka, a rucksack). But for our purposes, you can also wear a weight vest.

The key point here is to walk fast vs run.

Ruck running is often necessary for events like military selections, but it significantly increases your risk of getting hurt. For training purposes, it’s better to simply walk fast.

RUCKING + RUNNING: A better approach for endurance

Like we mentioned in the beginning, one of the problems with high volume distance running is that it often leads to injuries. Rucking is a great exercise that can be used to help reduce the overall miles you put on your body each week, while still improving your endurance (and becoming more strong and durable as well).

So, this brings us to the question of “How much running should you replace with rucking each week?

To answer this question let’s assume that you’re endurance training a reasonable amount each week, say 3 days per week. With this in mind, I suggest two approaches.

#1. The high to low time-based approach
#2. The alternating approach

#1 THE HIGH TO LOW TIME-BASED APPROACH

This approach is straight forward. Basically, each week you either run or ruck for a set amount of time, without worrying about the distance traveled. As you get closer to your race (or event) you steadily decrease the duration of each workout.

Here’s an example:

Four weeks out from a race 
• Day 1 - Run for 60 minutes
• Day 2 - Ruck for 60 minutes
• Day 3 - Run for 50 minutes

Three weeks out from a race
• Day 1 - Run for 50 minutes
• Day 2- Ruck for 50 minutes
• Day 3- Run for 40 minutes

Two weeks out from a race
• Day 1- Run for 40 minutes
• Day 2- Ruck for 40 minutes
• Day 3- Run for 30 minutes

One week out from a race
• Day 1- Run for 30 minutes
• Day 2- Ruck for 30 minutes
• Day 3- Run for 20 minutes

Of course, the actual times you use for each workout will depend on the race or event that you’re prepping for. This is just an example for illustrative purposes, but can probably still work well for most mid-distance races.

#2 THE ALTERNATING APPROACH 

With this approach, you will run twice and ruck once one week, and then flip-flop those ratios the next week. Here’s an example of how the alternating approach could look:

Week 1:
• Day 1 - Run
• Day 2 - Ruck
• Day 3 - Run

Week 2:
• Day 1 - Ruck
• Day 2 - Run
• Day 3 - Ruck

Week 3:
• Day 1 - Run
• Day 2 - Ruck
• Day 3 - Run

This approach works well if you’re training for an event that’s a long ways off (say 8+ weeks), and/or if you’re trying to build up your endurance with the least amount of running possible.

HOW HEAVY SHOULD MY RUCK BE?

On the days that you’re rucking, I suggest wearing between 15-25% of your body weight. For example:

A 200lb guy could wear between 30lbs (15%) and 50lbs (25%).

SUMMARY

If you’re looking for a way to build up endurance, without having to run endless miles each week (and potentially suffer the injuries that come with that), I suggest using something of a hybrid endurance approach. Utilizing rucking is a great way to decrease total weekly miles while continuing to increase both endurance and durability.