This past year my Army Veteran husband and I have taken to rucking. Due to my training schedule with ITU World Championships in Denmark and Ironman Maryland coming up in 2018, it’s been more his thing than mine – but when he invited me to be part of the Santa Ruck which was supporting Toys for Tots I was all over it. Who wouldn’t wanna carry a sleigh full of donated toys across Washington DC and do military-style PT on the Capitol Mall? This girl was all in for some “off season” training.
This was a great introductory event to introduce our oldest (12 years old) to what rucking is. If you aren’t sure what rucking is – here is a great video – as well as this GoRuck video. The entire premise of rucking is to carry a weighted backpack with required gear, and to work as “class” or team to carry all items of various weights, sizes and awkwardness to the finish line as directed by a Cadre.
Individual items to carry in rucking:
- Ruck pack
- Weight (based on your weight) over 150lbs body weight carries 20 lbs (under carries 10 lbs)
- Camelbak/ Hydration Pack
- Nutrition (I carried Honey Stinger Chews – my go-to in triathlon season)
- Extra nalgene bottle (incase your hydration pack fails)
Items for the group to carry for Santa Ruck:
- Sleigh to carry toys – approx 300-400lbs
- 2x Slosh candy canes (long tubes of water, approximately 5 feet in length) – 50-60lbs
- Class yule log (keg decorated as a yule log!) – 30 lbs
- Wooden Christmas Tree – 10 lbs
Just like the running and tri community, the ruck community embraces all levels of fitness, background and personalities. For this reason, I was excited to get our oldest son involved in this activity with us, as well as provide an example of giving back to Toys for Tots.
We met near the Washington Monument, suited up as Snowmen, and set off to carry our items across the Nation’s capitol. We headed up the mall – to much of the amusement of tourists and locals alike. We had a lot of inquiries about what is exactly we were doing. Once on the mall we got to push the sled some – which actually was quite harder in moments than carrying the sled.
As a female, often ruck style events are dominated by men, I was excited at the amount of children and women available for this event. This was extremely helpful for when carrying the sled – the heaviest and most awkward item to carry. In order to carry items like this, you need individuals of relatively same height – which can prove difficult if you’re one of few females. Yesterday, we had a good group of 6-8 women to trade out, so we definitely “pulled our weight”.
Rucking isn’t just the transport of weighted item, it also includes military style physical activity. On the mall, we set our items down to engage in a “Santa Ruck 12 Days of Christmas” with
- 12 jumping jacks
- 11 flutter kicks
- 10 push ups
- 9 Deep Squats
- 8 – 1 eight count body builder
- 7 Sun Gods
- 6 Ruck Swings
- 5 Push Presses
- 4 Star Jumps
- 3 Monkey Squats
- 2 Mountain Climbers
- 1 Burpee
Don’t be scared if you are reading this and wanting to do this event – doing these 12 days were very beginner friendly!
We made our way up to see the Capitol Christmas Tree, and over to see the National Christmas tree at the White House. We traded out having the “reindeer” (the kids) pull the sled (with adult help of course!), handed out candy canes, sang Christmas songs, and spread the word of Toys for Toys to all watching.
I highly recommend this event for Charity, as an introduction to rucking, and an overall great way to kick off the holiday season! They haven’t announced 2018 but I encourage you to head over to Team Ninja to check out other events!
If you are interested in Rucking and live in the Fredericksburg, Virginia area – check out https://www.instagram.com/fxbgruckinggroup/
Thanks to Rich and Georgina from @FXBGRG for these photos!