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75 Obstacle Race Training Tips

7 Jul 2014

If you’ve come across this site as a result of an online search, you’ve probably noticed that MyExerciseCoach.net has a lot of content on obstacle race training and preparation.

Although these posts target beginners, tips and workouts may also apply to you if you have an OCR or two under your belt.

These 75 tips should help you navigate through this site and help you get ready for your first (or second) race. You’ll gain some words of wisdom along with links to posts relevant to where you are in your training and prep.

I hope you enjoy this list as much as I did compiling it!


english bulldog puppy outside in the grass
1. Pick a race suitable for your fitness level. Starting out? Try a 5k mud run before tackling a Spartan Beast. Check out this directory for ideas.

2. Run. Then run some more.

3. Learn how to stretch.

4. Stretch out before and after your run.

5. Include core training early on in your training regimen.

6. Not familiar with healthy eating for athletes? Learn more. Read and consider a session with a nutritionist for a customized diet plan.

7. Pace yourself. Set mini milestones towards your end goal.

8. Sign up with a friend to hold you accountable to training and showing up on race day.

9. Schedule time for your training sessions until it becomes second nature. Even then, set aside workouts in your calendar.

10. To stay motivated, track your progress. How many push-ups could you do on day 1 vs. day 30? How many minutes could you run without stopping during your first running workout in comparison with your last run before your race?

11. Consider working with a trainer to build baseline fitness.

12. Learn to love training. It will make the journey of obstacle race prep tolerable, and maybe even enjoyable.


Longhair dachshund puppy
13. Wear what feels most comfortable to you for training and racing, even if it may not be considered “performance gear.”

14. In addition to comfort, choose clothes that can dry relatively quickly.

15. Try to wash your clothes right after the race if you plan on keeping them.

16. Unlike footwear, you can wear the same comfortable clothes you work out in for a race.

17. Gloves may come in handy for heavy lifting workouts and your actual race.

18. If you’re up for a muddy race (as most are!), avoid cotton at all costs. You need wicking fibers to keep you somewhat comfortable.


Bulldog Puppy Chewing A Line Of Shoes

19. For your first race, wear shoes you don’t mind parting with after the race.

20. Enjoyed your first race? Thinking about taking on several a year? Consider shopping for an obstacle racing shoe to supplement your new sport.

21. Wear different shoes for racing vs. training. Hobie Call’s advice: “Train in training shoes, race in racing shoes,” as said to Outside online.

22. Decide for yourself if minimal footwear is right for you. You don’t have to don the Vibrams to finish a race in style.

23. Pick a shoe that’s right for you. Get fitted if needed.

24. Don’t judge a good running shoe on looks and colors alone.

25. Try out your race day shoe on an outdoor run or two instead of running in them for the first time during your race.



german shepherd puppy on the beach
26. Build a strong core as a foundation to your training. Strong abs, back, and hips will help power you through the race.

27. Metabolic training: do it. It will build your fitness, stamina, and mental toughness for the race.

28. Master basic strength exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges, and pull-ups before integrating them into circuits.

29. Have fun with your run. Not all running sessions have to be a long-distance workout.

30. Try hills, tempo, and other runs (link to ATT article). Check out these four running workouts.

31. Work up to super circuits to simulate the challenges of obstacle race day.

32. Train diligently, but intelligently.

33. Never underestimate the importance of a moderately intense workout interspersed with rigorous training days.

34. It’s possible to cross-train for obstacle racing. Bike, play a game of basketball, spend some time on a rower or cross-trainer machine for a change of pace.

35. Stretch before and at the end of your workout.

36. Leave dynamic flexibility and movement prep work for your warm-up.

37. Foam roll during your warm-up and/or cool-down if needed.

38. Cool down with static and active stretches.

39. Working with a trainer? Ask them about PNF stretching for your cool-down.

40. Newbies: try a beginner’s OCR training program.

41. Advanced athletes on a budget: try this super OCR training circuit as a test for race day.

42. Be sure to include some grip strengthening exercises to get you through monkey bars, rope climbs, and barrier walls.

43. Integrate 3 keys to obstacle race training: strength, stamina, and race-specific skills.


Rest & Recovery

side view of an adorable little labrador retriever puppy dog sho

44. Rest when you need it, but that doesn’t mean do absolutely nothing. Make it an active recovery workout. Scale back one day every week or two.

45. Need more rest? Scale back for a week every 4-8 weeks of your training as needed.

46. Not every workout needs to be a rigorous one. Plan one or two weekly workouts of moderate intensity if you are training most days of the week.

47. Remember to rest in between sets of strength work.

48. Make time and set aside a few dollars for a massage every 4-8 weeks. You’re working hard & your body deserves (and needs!) it.

49. Get enough sleep when you’re training hard, not just right before your race. You’ll need high quality sleep for your body to recover and repair from your workouts.



White puppy standing over his plastic bowl with food
50. Keep in mind 11 rules to fuel your mud run.

51. Eat breakfast, regardless of whether or not your workout is first thing.

52. Refuel within one-hour after a tough workout. Your body needs to replenish.

53. Flax seed, chia, avocados, olive oil: include a healthy fat in each of your meals.

54. Eat a vegetable with most of your meals.

55. Try superfoods to add variety to your diet, but don’t expect them to make you superhuman.

56. Not a cooker? Learn to like it. You can make some of the healthiest meals at home…and they don’t need to take a long time to make.

57. Learn a few healthy go-to, easy recipes for dinner.

58. Aim to be better, not perfect, with each meal choice you make.

59. Hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Just keep water close by all day.

Mental Toughness

60. Do yoga, include challenging poses to test your mental focus.

61. Meditate if needed (in and/or outside of yoga).

62. Follow these tips for a tough mindset.

63. Use your most challenging training sessions to build your body and mind.

64. Check out the Spartan Race’s free ebook for a chapter on mental training.

65. Make peace with the soreness you’ll feel days after a tough workout.


Race Day & Safety

dog water safety - dogue de bordeaux in floatation device

66. Be mindful of injury prevention measures as part of your training and on race day.

67. Pack the essentials you’ll need for the race: change of clothes, shoes/sandals, towel, trash bag (for dirty clothes), water, cash, ID, and other optional items.

68. Day before: get enough sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours.

69. Race venue more than two hours away? Consider renting a hotel room close to the venue if you signed up for an early wave.

70. Help your fellow runners with insurmountable obstacles.

71. Ask for help with daunting obstacles.

72. Bring a friend – to race with or cheer you on as a spectator.

73. Stick around after the race for possible freebies aside from celebratory drinks. And who knows, you may make a few training and racing buddies in the process.

73. Take advantage of any free samples after the race. Try gear or nutritional snacks and supplements, all to boost your training and race performance.

75. Push yourself to do your best, but be mindful of the hazards of obstacle racing.



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