Rucking, particularly training for rucking is very hard on your body. It will break ppl down faster than many other training modalities. You also want to consider "peaking" for your trip, not running your self into the ground en route to it. All that being said I ran into the same issues and prob a lot of the same questions when I was prepping for my first trip to Mt. Rainier. What I found was a few good resources who specialize in the prep of Mnt athletes as well as Spec ops preparing for deployments in mountainous Afghanistan.
A trainer in Jacksonhole Wyoming has some very good material that I used to prep for my first summit climb. I liked it so much that I also incorporate a lot of his methods into my everyday training. He preps people to be "sport specific", so your sport would be rucking essentially.
He also places a high value on strength it is not just cardio fluff. Strength/Work capacity/Long Stamina sessions/Durability
you can subscribe to his site to get workouts or buy off the self programs. His Big mountain program is 12 weeks to prep ppl for a non technical mountain climb. His Ruck based selection program is to prep people for... you guessed it Ruck based selections. (i.e. The Green Berets, Delta, Rangers etc.) How long do you have to prep for the trip?
Both programs are intense - the ruck based program is a motherfucker fyi. How much vertical gain are you looking at doing?
Pulling from my experience from living very close to sea level and climbing above 14k - over prepare. It def catches up to you.
Id love to help you some more, just give me a shout. Lastly def train in the gear you plan to use, gear will wear you down just as quick if not quicker than altitude.
Below are the goals for the Ruck based selection program if you interested:
This program is built around 4 distinct physical goals:
1) Ruck: 18 miles @ 50lbs in 4.5 hours if traveling the road or 6 hrs if traveling cross country.
Several selections involve and require extensive rucking. We believe the best way to train for rucking is to ruck. The
problem is, extensive rucking can and does break the body down. We?ve tried to design a progressive rucking
program which limits rucking to 2x/week, and will build you up but avoids over training, and sends you to selection
strong and ready. Note that you?ll need to carry an 8# piece of metal pipe or a 10# sledge hammer for each ruck.
2) Running: 8 miles in 64 min and 2 miles in 14 min.
Many selections involve extensive unloaded running. Further, running will help build an aerobic base <----- Important for the JMT
3) 10 rounds (unbroken) of 5x pullups 10x dips 15x pushup, 20x situps
You can expect to do many pushups, pullups, situps and other body weight calethentics at selection. This simple
circuit is a way to build upper body cals endurance.
4) 55 reps of Sand bag get ups @ 80# in 10 min.
The sandbag getup is our favorite core exercise. A strong midsection is key to durability. The goal here is to build a
strong core to protect your back and vulnerable limbs from the tests and trials ahead. It?s preventative medicine. <--- great exercise
This program includes these less distinct physical goals:
- Build the athlete?s mode-specific aerobic base (running and rucking)
- Prepare the athlete for selection unknowns (we use intense work capacity circuits to accomplish this. On the first
session of weeks 2-5 you?ll repeat an intense, heavy training session will prepare you mentally and physically for
the unknown which comes at selection.
- Build durability - through rucking with a heavy pack, sand bag get ups, and strength training. <--- durability from injury over your trip and "career"