Goruck Training...Scared & Out of shape.Help!
January 27, 2013 2:40 PM   Subscribe

So, my buddy signed me up for a GoRuck Challenge in May. So, my predicament is that im about 25 pounds overweight, can jog at best a total of 10 minutes, and im not that muscular (Can do about 15 pushups and no pullups). Im 38 and dont have the $$ to join a gym or crossfit. Can someone help me with putting together a workout Monday through Saturday to help me get ready for what looks to be the toughest 12-14 hours I will ever go through? Is it possible to get into incredible shape in 3 months? Is this GORuck possible for me, I dont want to chicken out but am I reaching to far here?
posted by flipmiester99 to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I haven't done a GoRuck, but I know people who have, I've read a couple of reports, and I've (very briefly) entertained the idea myself. I would strongly encourage you to consider switching your registration to a later event that will give you more time to train.

I'd be very concerned about injury if I had to ramp up as fast as you're proposing, especially since most of it will have to be joint preparation. If you go look around on the internet, you'll see that tendons and ligaments remodel much more slowly than muscles. In fact, one of the dangers of ramping up fast is your muscles developing more force than the tendons and ligaments in your joints can tolerate. This is a very common way for newbies in climbing and gymnastics to sideline themselves.

I understand that you don't want to "chicken out," which is why I suggest rescheduling your event rather than canceling it. Go read some reports linked on the GoRuck website, try a few things that they describe (running with a 40 lbs pack, carrying a sandbag on top of that for a few blocks) and see how you feel. I know a couple of gung-ho ex-military types, one of whom has done GoRuck, and I can't imagine any of them thinking less of you for wanting the proper training first, especially if you actually follow through on that training.
posted by d. z. wang at 3:24 PM on January 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't try to tackle this until I could (at least) run a 5k at military pace (look it up for your age) with the pack. Couch to 5k (start at week 3-4, I think) is the obvious place to start, and will allow you time to build up joint strength. Alternate with weightlifing days (starting strength seems to be a popular choice at the moment).
posted by zug at 3:43 PM on January 27, 2013

I haven't done a GoRuck -- never even heard of it before now -- but I've done lots of 12+ hour ultramarathons. I have no idea if that type of time is enough to train as I'm sure it'll vary person to person, but if I were you, I would start running, building up to yeah, at least 5k comfortably at a recent pace. To build strength, I've had good luck with kettlebells, but you have to be pretty self-sufficiently dedicated with 'em to get results.

When I'm training for serious stuff, I generally do 2 solid workouts a day. For me, it's generally a mix of running, rock climbing, and swimming. I also walk like 6-10 miles a day.

Biggest thing, though, is just getting used to being active for that long. Hikes or long bike rides or long runs are great for this... plus, you get used to taking in nutrition like Gu or whatever as needed. Figure out what you can tolerate eating and experiment now. Just get out on some epic adventures -- that'll prepare you for anything.

Is it out of the question that you'd hire a trainer, if only to get a personalized plan together? If it were me and I didn't know what I was doing, I might want someone to kinda keep an eye on me and make sure I'm headed in the right direction.

Anyway... figure out what you like doing workout-wise and do that. Even if it's not optimal, anything will help... and when you choose something you enjoy, it becomes a pleasure rather than a chore.
posted by ph00dz at 4:25 PM on January 27, 2013

Lose the extra weight pronto. Count calories. Every pound you lose is anywhere from 4 to 8X that in impact on your body. The best thing you do to improve your performance is to shed the extra work of being heavy at the same time as training your cardio and strength.
posted by srboisvert at 5:23 PM on January 27, 2013

Mrs MM has signed up to an online service called "up & running"- it is designed for and marketed to women looking to run anything from 10k to a marathon but I'm a bloke (and carrying significantly more than 25 additional pounds) and I'm accompanying her on her training. She's doing the 12 week half marathon (21k) course.

I think it's pretty good. It has 3-4 workouts a week, all of which are non-gym based. The thing I like about it is that it is varied, has the progression built in, and therefore takes the brainwork off you and also the excuses off you. Yesterday was the end of week 4, and the total mileage was 8 miles (done in a combination of slow, medium and very short fast pace sections), with some additional scheduled walk breaks built in. By the end of this week (5) it'll be another 8 mile session, but done in a different way and at a faster pace overall. The aim, ultimately, is to get you to the point where running 13 miles is no longer an "if" but a "how fast."

A friend has also used an e-training program for cycling races to great effect (he won the amateur class of an extremely prestigious cycle road race). There is also the motivational aspect of being in a program, having a schedule, and having the community of other people like yo to read about and interact with.

I'd endorse finding a good e-training program. I'm a newcomer to them and I'm impressed.

As an aside, the bumf on the GoRuck site looks like unhelpful horseshit to me. A guy smoking a cigarette? Beer? Don't bother training? There's macho tough guy and there's plain dumb. This strikes me as dumb, regardless of whether the idea that a lot of the success is in your head is true or not. I write that as a guy who likes beer, has the odd cigarette and does the occasional fitness challenge on less than optimal training. The idea of endorsing that approach as the official challenge mentality is baffling.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:27 AM on January 28, 2013

To be clear: the total mileage per week in week 4 is more like 20 miles, the last session was 8 miles. With a bit of dedication, getting to requisite fitness in 3 months is doable. I started being able to run more than 10mins but to give some context, I ran 3 times last year (although I did do a bit of cycling and a 3 day challenge in the middle of the year).

25lb overweight is not itself a big issue. You need to start slow and do specific exercises for the activities you'll undertake as well as getting your general fitness up. From the looks of it, getting your core strength prepared is paramount, as is getting your back used to carrying a 30lb backpack. You can do some of this simply by wearing a lighter backpack as you go about your daily chores and build up to the more hardcore stuff.

There is a training guide of sorts here. If in doubt, postpone. Don't overtrain in the early stages. From the looks of it, the hardest part is the cold and all the exercises that test your shoulders and lats.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:16 AM on January 28, 2013

I don't know too much about the GoRuck Challenge, but if you were asking about running a marathon in May, I would say to wait, and this seems like it would be at least that intense. There is a definite limit to how much you can 'cram' fitness, especially given that the more you try to do, the more risk of injury there is. Couch to 5K, which someone's already mentioned, is a good start on the running side-- start a few weeks in, and it should at least get you able to run a 5K by the end of March. I would probably do at least one run/week with a backpack to get used to that aspect; you can build up the weight that you put in it (start with it empty, go to 5 lbs, then 10 lbs, etc.).

You can do a lot of strength stuff without a gym-- not my area of expertise, but planks, pushups, lunges, squats, etc. can all be done without equipment or with just a kettlebell or some dumbells.

If you are going to train for this with this, I would probably do 3 days of running per week (1 short, 1 long, 1 short w/pack); start with as many walk breaks as you need and work up to greater distance. On alternate (non-running) days I would do a series of bodyweight (or similar) exercises- pushups, planks, lunges, squats, there's lots more you can add but that would be a decent foundation to start with.

Some parks have circuits with pull up bars or other equipment interspersed throughout. If you can find one of those that would probably be a perfect place to train.

Again, my overall advice would be to wait to do this until you have a higher level of fitness.
posted by matcha action at 4:09 AM on January 28, 2013

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