“No Days Off.” That should be the mantra of all aspiring Special Operations troops. And we do what we can here to help those young people prepare. We post a daily workout program to help aspiring Special Operations candidates to properly prepare themselves physically for the various Selection courses.

Being prepared physically will also carry over mentally as well, filling the candidate with confidence to be able to handle anything thrown at him. But with the preparation comes the inevitable running and rucking that must be done to be ready once the rubber hits the road.

But if you’re one of those “fortunate” souls who lives or is stationed in the Northeast United States right now, Mother Nature has thrown us a curve. Or to put bluntly, she is a vindictive Bi**h. Back-to-back-to-back late season Nor’easters have blanketed the area with snow. While during the storms themselves, there isn’t much that can be done safely out of doors, once it is over, don’t let the elements stop or even slow down your preparation. It may be a bit different for a bit, but a break in the usual monotony can be a good thing.

As a member of the Special Operations community, the weather and elements won’t alter training or operations so don’t let it to you alter your preparation for the course. Someone once told me, “the difference between an average man and a warrior is that an average man looks at everything as a blessing or a curse. The warrior looks at everything as merely a challenge.”

Last week we posted about rucking in the snow. In it I alternated breaking trail thru knee deep snow in places to walking along the railroad tracks which was much easier. The deeper part of the snow was great exercise and tires you out much quicker than walking along level ground. At those times, don’t worry about the pace, trust me it is going to be much, much slower. As long as you are going as hard as you can, it will help in the long run.

Fruit trees that have a lot of deer in late summer, early fall shows the trail broken ahead by someone in boots sinking deep. (photo: Author)

Which brings us to Sunday, in our daily workout we had a ruck march on slate and I decided to break things up by incorporating a winter training event into the ruck march, rather than let the elements dictate. It was clear and very cold on Sunday morning with a wind chill of zero degrees, the little melting that had gone on earlier in the week had frozen over into ice and footing wasn’t the greatest.

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We have a large trail off one of the roads I use for rucking that goes up a steep hill and overlooks a large lake in town. The snow had melted a little and re-froze giving it a crunchy, hard crust. After veering off the road, at the base of the hill, I switched over to snow shoes. Snowshoeing requires a different set of muscles and a bit of practice to get used to, but the average person can get comfortable in snowshoes in a couple of hours. It is also a kick-ass exercise and will work some different muscles in your legs and every little bit helps.

Again, forget about the pace, it isn’t going to be the same as a timed rucksack march in Selection. Just focus on technique and working as fast and as hard as you can. This particular hill is one that is familiar as my wife and I have snowshoed up here for several years. The climb is steep but once you get to the top, the hill is cleared and the view is spectacular of the valley around us and the lake and makes it all worthwhile.

My better half taking a break at the top in an earlier photo with the lake frozen over. (photo: author)
Same view in the fall. a good rucking hill. Start point is about 2 miles to the left of the finger that juts out into the lake. (photo: author)

I’ve been doing some extra rucking for a good charity cause, the GoRUCK “Pets for Patriots” fundraiser pairs dogs that need homes with veterans that could benefit with having a dog as a companion. The hashtag #RuckYourDog2018 is to be used on social media to chart your rucks and distances.

So, my partner (Bulldog) and I have been going out every day, albeit for short ones, usually before sunup. The ice and snow isn’t great on their feet and she’ll let me know when it is time to call it a day. Got to protect the pooch.

As soon as we started breaking trail in the snow, like always the dog was trying to get in front and lead and it didn’t take long for her to realize that is was much easier for her to follow for a change and allow me to break trail for her. Dogs are smart like that sometimes…

I veered off the course and saw someone had hiked thru the deep snow without benefit of any snowshoes and we followed it as far as it would go. Only about halfway before they turned back. After setting a brisk pace for moving uphill, and it IS pretty steep for the most part, it is a great workout and a bit awkward at first carrying a ruck and snowshoeing. But it leveled off at the top and is a nice flat perfect view.

My partner wasn’t into admiring the view and was anxious to get going back down, so we set an even quicker pace heading back.

Once at the bottom, switching back to just boots going home makes the going even better and your feet will feel as light as a feather.

The bottom line is, the weather will turn to crap more often than not on you. Don’t let it rule you, rise above it and keep driving on. There will be times when you’ll have to be creative with your workouts. With more crappy weather on tap in a day or two, more snow is on the way. It doesn’t mean that work stops. You can still get a heckuva workout, albeit a slightly different one in, and possibly learn a new skill at the same time.

Just another challenge…No Days Off. Happy Rucking. DOL

Photos: Author