Obstacle racing is all the rage with new types popping up all over the place. From tough mudders, to Spartan Races, to Warrior Dashes, to Savage Races, there are so many different training options and ideas when it comes to getting ready for an obstacle course race.
Below I share with you my top 10 tips for preparing for an obstacle course race. Plus, I’ve included a few of my favorite workouts that you can use or at least start incorporating into your current training.
1. Work on your sprints! Head to a track (check out my Track workouts here!) and work on sprinting on the straightaways and jogging around the corners. Many of your obstacles are spaced around a mile or less a part so even though you feel like you are doing a lot of running, you need to get from obstacle to obstacle in the shortest amount of time.
Start with a mile at a time and then incorporate strength training between your mile sprints/jogs.
2. There are many things in your way on an obstacle course like mud pits, hurdles, walls, rope climbs, tires, so you want to be as agile as possible. Work on things such as Jump Squats, one legged leaps, side to side hops and leaps, speed ladder exercises, and overall footwork. Check out this video for a few of my favorite Agility exercises.
3. You need to be good at the pull-up! Work on the pullup everyday but using my "Grease the groove" technique by doing 5 pullups every hour if you are at home or everytime you pass under the door frame (check out the video here). Can't do a pullup? Start with negative pullups, do assisted pullups, and work your way up. One word of caution, doing pulldowns is a great substitute exercise but it won't help you get better at doing pullups. You need to do pullups (some type of variation) to get better at doing pullups! So suck it up :)
4. Interval Training is a great way to prepare. Using Tabata drills is a great way to get in both your strength and speed! Or even incorporating Burpees, High Knee Sprints, Pushups, V-ups into 20 seconds on 10 seconds off type drills are great ways to get yourself ready.
5. Wear appropriate clothing. Usually less is better! Form fitting shirts and shorts, long socks or compression gear is awesome (think UnderArmour). As you are getting wet, you don't want gear that is going to weigh you down. Be especially careful with shoes---trail running shoes are great but make sure they aren't too heavy and that they are fitted tightly---you don't want them slipping off in the mud or losing a shoe halfway through the race!
Reebok All Terrain shoes: Great for short "sprint" type races
Reebok All Terrain Thunder: Great for a little bit longer races (more cushion), and some pretty cool technology for keeping water out of your shoes in some of the obstacles.
Other Reebok Spartan Gear
(Full Disclosure, I'm not affiliated with Amazon or Spartan Race so I receive no $$ for recommending or directing you to their products... just saying ;)
6. Stay positive! You will hit a wall during the race---it's what you do and accomplish after you hit that wall is what will make the race amazing! Stay positive, push through, and finish the race!
7. Develop an excellent warm-up routine. Typically you'll want to incorporate some good dynamic movements, gradually increase the range of motion in your shoulders, hips, get fluid to the joints, and prepare your body for some hard work without overdoing it. My warm-up typically consists of a light jog, some reverse lunges with a twist to start warming up the chest, core, and shoulders, some plank and downward dogs, some spider lunges to open up the hips, and some quad/hamstring stretches (all dynamic stretches where you keep moving).
8. Work on your endurance. Most races can last anywhere from 1 hour for a Sprint to 6+ hours for a longer race (such as a Spartan Beast). Make sure you have one long, brutal workout per week to starting preparing your body for that kind of endurance. Long trail runs with strength training and circuit training thrown in is excellent.
9. It's all downhill (and uphill) from here. Work on your hills! If you don't have hills, use either step ups/downs on a bench or even stairs as a substitute but many obstacles are 70-80% hills so condition yourself for the work!
10. Fuel yourself properly. The night before make sure you fuel up with some good burning carbs such as sweet potatoes, white rice, and some good proteins and fats. Make sure to carry easy to access fuel sources on your body as you go throughout the race as well!
Want a FREE Guide to get your fitness back in line or back on track? Check out my free 2 week Challenge right here!
Photo courtesy of www.spartan.com Visit them to register for your first Spartan Race!