Does Rucking Help Running

As a passionate runner, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my performance and get the most out of my training. Recently, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about rucking and its potential benefits for runners. Rucking, which involves walking or hiking with a loaded backpack, is gaining popularity as a training tool for endurance athletes. In this article, we’ll explore whether rucking can truly help improve running performance.

What is Rucking?

Rucking is a form of exercise that originated from military training. It involves walking or hiking with a loaded backpack, known as a rucksack. The weight of the backpack can vary depending on personal preference and fitness level, ranging from 10 to 50 pounds or more.

The added weight of the backpack creates an additional challenge for the muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system. Rucking engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, core, and upper body, making it a full-body workout. It also increases the intensity and impact of walking or hiking, making it a more effective form of cardio.

Benefits of Rucking for Running

Now, let’s delve into the potential benefits of rucking for runners:

Strength and Endurance

Rucking is a great way to build strength and endurance, especially in the lower body. The added weight increases the resistance on the muscles, helping to develop greater power and strength. The prolonged duration of rucking also improves muscular endurance, allowing runners to go the distance with greater ease.

Improved Gait and Running Form

Rucking forces you to maintain proper posture and a stable gait, as the added weight can throw off your balance if not properly distributed. This can translate to improved running form, as you become more conscious of your body positioning and stride. Over time, rucking can help correct any imbalances or weaknesses in your running mechanics, leading to more efficient and injury-free running.

Cardiovascular Conditioning

Rucking is a low-impact yet highly effective form of cardio exercise. It elevates your heart rate, improving cardiovascular fitness and stamina. The constant weight-bearing nature of rucking also increases the workload on your muscles and cardiovascular system, making your body adapt and become more efficient at utilizing oxygen. This can result in improved running performance, especially during long-distance races or endurance events.

Mental Toughness

Rucking requires mental resilience and determination. Carrying a heavy load for an extended period can push you out of your comfort zone and challenge your mental toughness. This mental fortitude can carry over into your running, helping you push through difficult moments and overcome obstacles during races or intense training sessions.

How to Incorporate Rucking into Your Training

If you’re interested in incorporating rucking into your running routine, here are some tips to get started:

  1. Start with a lighter load and gradually increase the weight of your backpack over time.
  2. Focus on maintaining proper posture and form while rucking, just like you would during running.
  3. Incorporate rucking into your cross-training days or easy recovery runs.
  4. Experiment with different terrains and inclines to challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system.
  5. Listen to your body and take rest days when needed to avoid overtraining.


Rucking can be a great complement to your running training, offering a variety of benefits such as improved strength, endurance, running form, and mental toughness. However, it’s important to gradually incorporate rucking into your routine and listen to your body to avoid injuries. If you’re looking to add a new challenge to your training and take your running to the next level, give rucking a try!