Training: GoRuck Style

Training: GoRuck Style

I am a gear whore.

There, I admit it. Bags, training shoes, computers, gadgets…if it falls into one of those categories I’m usually tempted to buy it. So, predictably, when I came across the GoRuck website a few months ago I was smitten with the bags.

Tough, unassuming, yet incredibly functional and customizable. Immediately I thought “Hell yeah! Count me in.” I’ll admit, they are a bit pricey, but Jason (the founder) does a hell of a job letting you know that the bag you are getting will last as long as you want it to and will get better with time.

In fact, the entire GoRuck team dreamed up an event to show you just how durable, useful, and just overall awesome these bags are.

The GoRuck Challenge

15-20 Miles. 8-10 Hours. Under Promise. Over Deliver.


Inspired by the most elite training offered to special forces soldiers and led by Green Berets, the GORUCK Challenge is a team event and never a race.

You won’t know the route, but it showcases the best of every city. Welcome to our version of Good Livin’.

That’s how the Challenge is summed up. After experiencing it first hand I can vouch for the accuracy of that statement. From the moment I signed up, through game planning it with the other members of the team, and as I scoured the GoRuck websites looking for anything that might be useful I came across the same theme over, and over, and over again.

Don’t over think it. Prepare yourself. Show up. Have fun.

Realizing this I felt at ease, and even more excited to finally show up in Savannah and experience it all first hand. So I wrapped my bricks (explained in a minute), grabbed my headlamp and my gloves, then drove my happy ass up to Savannah.

The Challenge 

Pre-Challenge Ruck Off

Now might be a good time to mention that the particular Challenge that I chose to do was the St. Patrick’s day Challenge. In Savannah, GA.

If you’ve never experienced it, Savannah has one of the biggest and craziest St. Paddy’s day parties in the country. I have no idea what Southern Georgia’s connection to Irish culture is, in fact I’m sure there isn’t a connection at all, but that didn’t stop anyone from celebrating.

I met up with a few of the other team members and caught a ride down to our start point. From there we just bullshitted with each other, random drunkards who were very upset that we weren’t wearing green, and our other teammates as they showed up.

For the sake of brevity and OPSEC I’m not going to go into the details of the Challenge. You’re going to be carrying 4 or 6 bricks in your bag, there are logs involved, you’ll pick up other random (heavy) objects, you’ll do a bit of running, some bear crawls, some crab walks, lots of push ups, a dip into some sort of body of water, and it’s going to be through the night.

If that’s enough to scare you off, then so be it.

If that’s enough to pique your interest, well then, YOU are the type of person we are looking for.

GoRuck Challenge

GoRuck Challenge

GoRuck ChallengePosing with our log…in a lake…in the middle of a park.

GoRuck Challenge

GoRuck Challenge

GoRuck ChallengeStory time with Cadre Patrick

The Training

Honestly, I didn’t train for this.

By the time I had signed up it was 10 days before the event. Add in that the week leading up to it was my deload week, and I literally was at the point I was going to be, physically, the moment I signed up.

The old me would have freaked out. He would have changed his entire training schedule to be primed and ready for this event. That would have been the worse thing I could have done since the entire reason for my training at this point to is to make the US Bobsled team.

Yes. The bobsled team. The try out is in June and you can bet your ass you’ll be hearing about any and all lessons learned in the process.

Back on track…so what if the way I had trained wasn’t suited for this type of event? What if there was something else I could have done to make it easier on myself and to make my performance better? Surely I could have put off the event for a few months, created a newer and fancier training plan, and then attacked it with everything I had until the event came. So why didn’t I?

Because that defeats the entire purpose of my training. In fact, unless you’re a professional athlete, it would have defeated the entire purpose of your training also. This quote from the GoRuck site says this all in fewer words…

Don’t take the Challenge so seriously. Go for a run or two, have fun, and just do it. It’s all mental.

One of the other guys who completed the Challenge well before me (I forget who, otherwise I’d link to his site) summed it up perfectly with a “conversation” he had with a random person they passed during the event…

Random Person: What are you training for??

GoRuck Guy: Life!

The point I’m trying to make is this…unless you have something specific to train for, you can’t let training run your life. You’re not living to train, you’re training to live.

This might sound weird coming from a guy who runs a website entirely based on getting people to train, but this is the concept that I’m constantly trying to refine and teach to others.

Don’t over think it. Prepare yourself. Show up. Have fun.

Post Challenge Toast…with the only under age team member in the middle…



  1. Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to participating in the July 4th GoRuck Challenge.

  2. Ryan Lowther says:

    About how much did your pack weigh with the bricks in it?

    • mikeinscho says:

      With the bricks and 100oz water bladder it came out to between 35-40 pounds. the type of brick you get will vary in weight though.

  3. Mike Furrow says:

    I’m doing a GORUCK Challenge in a little over a week. I’m wondering if my 60 oz CamelBack will be big enough – did they ever give you guys time to refill your water?


    • mikeinscho says:

      Which one are you doing? You’re free to go buy bottles of water during breaks and such. Our team ended up just finding a water spigot on the side of a house and using that to re-fill.

      60oz won’t be enough for the whole challenge so make sure you have cash to buy bottles or keep an eye out for places to refill.

  4. Mike Furrow says:

    One more question for you – Did you start & finish in the same spot? Or did you finish at a completely different place than where you started?