Training for my first big ruck
Before I get into this let me just say all of this fitness lifestyle stuff took a while to be a thing. I had previously lost over 50lbs and had done a lot of self improvement mentally and physically. If I can do it anyone can. I'm a dad, a husband, with a full time job, 12 hr rotating shifts, a side business, etc etc etc, every reason to not have time for exercise, nevermind fly across the country to do this madness just because. So if your not happy with yourself stop lying and do something about it, I would be more than happy to help anyway I can.
Now training for the R2R2R Ruck... I combined gym workouts and cardio almost every day with variations that I felt really helped a lot. In general my training can be broken down into three parts. In the gym, cardio, and rucking.
In the gym:
The gym was a traditional workout program, isolated muscle groups on different days and I used a volume oriented rep range. Here's how that looked:
Monday: Chest & Arms
Tuesday: Back & Shoulders
Wednesday: Leg Day
Thursday: Shoulders & Chest
Friday: Back & Arms
Saturday: Leg Day
*fun in a kind of twisted way
For the workouts I followed 1st Phorm's advanced traditional workout plan on their app.
Leg Days are where I got goal specific. I used a lot of time under tension and leaned a bit more toward volume while notching up the load every week or so. I would also swap the prescribed lunges for weighted step ups, which as you can imagine would be almost identical to hitting some of those steps up the sides of the canyon.
Sundays... oh Sundays... Sundays were 'fundays' because I got to choose my pain. more often than not it was #stairmillsunday I would hit the stair mill for 45 minutes. When I started this I would get nearly 300 floors, towards the end I was getting over 400 in those same 45 minutes. One day I decided I wanted to see 1000 floors and unfortunately the digital readout on the screen stopped at 999.
If it wasn't an all out stairmill session I would be doing a crossfit style workout that I felt fit the bill for the challenge a head of me.
Those crossfit style sessions would be a mix of various kettlebell carry exercises like overhead, front rack and suitcase carries to help build stability. I would add in ball slams, farmer walks, burpees and halo lunges.
Cardio was always weighted. 30lb minimum for walks, hikes, full out 15+ mile rucks, or when equipped with a lighter load; runs, hill sprints, or HIIT workouts.
45 minutes was the minimum time for any workout.
Rucking is simple. Take a backpack, put heavy stuff in it and go for a walk. So to train for the Grand Canyon I would ruck the Skyline Trail at Blue Hills. A solid local 15mi in and out trail with a mix of steep climbs and scrambles. Perfect to get some rucking reps in before the big one.
Arguably the most important thing that came out of the Blue Hills rucking was dialing in my workout supplementation. When to drink water, when to take electrolytes and when and what to eat. This aspect combined with general nutrition and health can really make or break any endurance activity.
I'll go more in-depth with nutrition and supplementation in the next post!