This is a ruck-intensive, 8-week, 6x day/week training program specifically designed to prepare athletes for the Bataan Memorial Death March Heavy Division (35# Ruck) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. This training plan also includes total body and core strength training for the first 4 weeks, but its focus is on rucking.
This training plan is designed to be completed the 8 weeks directly before the Bataan Memorial Death March. Weeks 7 and 8 in the plan are unload/taper weeks into the march.
This is Version 2 of this training plan, updated December 2019.
This plan deploys three different ruck paces, and a progressed increase in weekly ruck volume and weekly long rucks to sport-specifically train you for the Bataan Memorial Death March’s 26.2 miles of rucking @ 35#.
(1) Threshold Pace – Monday’s in this plan you’ll compete either a 3-mile ruck assessment for time, or threshold 1-mile ruck repeats based on your most recent 3-mile ruck assessment. All of this training will be at a threshold pace – as fast as you can move.
(2) Moderate Pace – You’ll complete one to three, 4-18 mile rucks weekly at a moderate pace in this plan. Moderate Pace = comfortable but not easy. The distance of the moderate pace ruck increases as you work through the
(3) Easy Pace – You’ll complete one to two, 5-10 mile rucks weekly at an easy pace during this plan. Easy Pace = you can speak in complete sentences while moving.
The total weekly ruck volume/distance in this plan increases weeks 1-5, and then begins to taper weeks 6-8 into the event. Saturdays each week is your “long ruck” and these also increase in distance weekly until weeks 7-8, when they also taper into the event. Below is the weekly ruck volume and distance of the Saturday’s long ruck:
Week Total Weekly Volume Saturday Ruck
1 21 miles 8 miles
2 25 miles 10 miles
3 29 miles 12 miles
4 35 miles 14 miles
5 42 miles 16 miles
6 34 miles 18 miles
7 25 miles 10 miles
8 15 miles None – Bataan Memorial Death March is Sunday of This Week
The first 4 weeks of this plan include one day in the gym of strength training. The strength training deploys dumbbells/kettlebells and includes one lower body, and two upper body exercises in the same circuit for efficiency. The volume is low – to focus on strength, and not unnecessarily fatigue the athlete for the rucking in the days to follow.
These sessions also include core training focused on low back strength and strength endurance.
Because of the rucking volume in this plan, you’ll ruck 4-5 days per week. Weeks 1-4 include one day/week in the gym training strength. Weeks 5-8 drop the strength training, and vary rest/ruck days based on the total weekly volume goal and the distance of the long Saturday ruck. Below is the Week 1-4 Schedule.
Weeks 1-4 Schedule
- Monday: 3-Mile Ruck Assessment or 1-Mile Ruck Intervals
- Tuesday: Total Rest
- Wednesday: 5-8 Mile Moderate Pace Ruck
- Thursday: Strength
- Friday: 5-10 Mile Easy Pace Ruck
- Saturday: 8-14 Mile Long Ruck @ Moderate Pace
- Sunday: Total Rest
- Stopwatch with repeating countdown interval timer (smartphone will work)
- 35# Ruck
- Gym with full set of dumbbells and/or kettlebells
- Pull Up Bar
- Foam Roller
- Optional: GPS watch to use to measure ruck mileage
How Long will the sessions take?
Gym-Based training sessions should take 45-60 minutes. Monday’s threshold or assessment ruck sessions should take 60 minutes. Other ruck sessions will push past 60 minutes, and depending on your ruck speed, may take up to 3 hours. Saturday’s long, 8-18 mile rucks may take several hours.
What does “3/5x Pull Ups” mean? How about “15/25#”?
3/5x Pull Ups = women do 3x, men do 5x
15/25# = women use a 15 pounds, men use 25 pounds.
Should I ruck run during this plan? I heard ruck running was hard on your knees/body?
This is totally up to you and how competitive you want to be at the event. The goal of this training plan is to train you to complete the event as fast as possible. You’ll take a 3-mile ruck assessment for time several times during this training plan, and follow-on 1-mile repeats at a threshold pace. At MTI we ruck run for assessments/intervals, and often also ruck run for longer rucks. We’ve not seen research to prove/not prove that ruck running is harder on knees/body than walking. We do know that many military selections/courses, ruck running is a reality. As well, based on winning times for the heavy division of the event with a per-mile average of around 10 min/mile, we suspect the most competitive athlete ruck run most or all of the course.
Can I see a sample of the programming?
Yes – click the “sample training tab” to see the entire first week of programming from the plan.
More questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Before beginning any exercise program, consult with your physician to ensure that you are in proper health. Physical training contains inherent risks including, but not limited to, muscle strains, tears, physical and bodily injury up to and including death. This training program is not meant to provide medical advice; you should obtain medical advice from your private health care practitioner. If you are unable to assume these risks then you should not engage in this training program. No liability is assumed by Mountain Tactical Institute, Inc, its owners or employees, and you train at your own risk. Mountain Tactical Institute makes no warranty, express or implied, of any kind in connection with this training program.