Rucking vs Running (Pros, Cons, Differences)

If you are into exercise, you might be torn between choosing to ruck or running for your training routine. Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages and it is easier to pick one if you know them. Therefore, below is a layout to guide you.

Differences between Rucking and Running

The obvious difference is that rucking is basically walking with a weight on your back and running is the opposite. Other differences are:

1. Intensity

When rucking, speed is not a determinant of intensity, you can go fast or slow as you prefer. Although this doesn’t mean your workout will be intense.

Since the weights you carry are adjustable, you can tailor your training experience.

Running is commonly used as a means to lose weight faster since it is high-intensity interval training. People automatically assume you burn more calories when you run.

This isn’t always the case. When running you get tired fast and rest more, which isn’t the case with rucking. So despite running being intense, it can be short-lived.


Rucking, a LIIT exercise, is intense despite being a slow-paced exercise. You will not end up getting tired quickly due to the pace.

Because rucking involves walking most of the time, it is not about the speed you use. The weight that you choose to carry and the distance decide to walk is what matters.

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If you’re a runner, you know that most people consider it as a HIIT exercise.

Although it can also fall under LIIT exercises if you decide to jog instead, however, you will end up running at some point to make the exercise rewarding.

In the end, rucking can be more rewarding than running or jogging because speed isn’t always a determinant when you exercise.

3. Injuries you can obtain

There are several factors to consider before you go rucking, in order to be safe and avoid injuries. The major one is the amount of weight you carry.

If you take too much weight, you risk hurting your legs, Your back which affects your posture ultimately, or your neck.

Knowing which amount of weight is right for you is key. You can try out several weights to see which one is comfortable. Because a lot of it might restrict your movement.

Slouching is a way of telling that you have too much weight on. Slouching can hurt your back and even affect how you breathe. It is important to ensure your back is straight when rucking.

Running injuries are not easy to avoid compared to rucking ones. If you overdo running, you could damage your legs.

Some common injuries are hamstring issues, shin splints, Achilles tendinitis e.t.c. All these injuries can be avoided though. You can run less and include other exercises in your workout routine.

4. Costs involved.

Rucking costs a bit of money. There are several essentials that you need to buy like a rucksack. If you cannot afford a rucksack, you can opt to use your backpack although this will not be as effective as a rucksack.

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Your backpack might also tear from all the weight if it is not heavy duty. In order to know the precise weight to put in your backpack just weigh your rucksack and compare.

You will require boots too. When you pick one, ensure they are meant for walking because you will be on the road mostly. Since you will probably be walking for hours, comfort is a factor to consider in your boots.

Walking outdoors means you will be exposed to some harsh elements. Your boots should be durable enough to withstand the rough trails you’ll be using, especially if you like using hiking trails.

For running, you need a very good pair of shoes. Running shoes can be pricy but you can easily get one that is on sale. Generally, running shoes are the only expense you will have unless you run in a gym instead of outdoors.

5. Social aspects

Part of the perks of rucking is the socializing aspect. In your walks, why walk alone when you can have company.

You can invite your friends to keep you company and indulge you in conversations. With a slow pace, it’s easy to talk, make plans, and keep in shape all at once.

Running does not give you the same luxury. If you try to converse, you will end up wheezing and run out of breath faster. The sweat you experience is not a comfortable setup for conversations either.


Running and rucking differ. Rucking is better health-wise, the risk of injury is low, it is a fun exercise and it boosts your muscle strength. To decide between the two, you need to evaluate yourself and decide what results in you expect from your workout.