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8 Obstacle Course Race (OCR) Training Tips for 2013

2 Jan 2013


It’s been a little more than a year since I wrote a list of 12 training tips for obstacle racing. Heading into 2013, many of those tips still apply. But if you’re looking to shake up your routine, here are other tips to include.

1. Structured Obstacle Race Training Programs

There are more structured obstacle race training programs and manuals heading into 2013 than at the start of 2012.

You can choose from Race Day Domination, Spartan and other WODsmy ebook for beginners,
an Amazon search, and more!

2. Running Workouts

Running endurance is the cornerstone of obstacle race training. But there’s more to an effective running plan than slow and steady treks for mileage.

If you can already run 3-5 miles without rest, try any of the following workouts: tempo, intervals, hills, trails, and fartleks.

3. Clean Eating

There’s more to maintaining fitness for sport than your daily workout. A healthy diet will help you get the most out of your training and enhance your performance on race day.

You can customize paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and other clean eating plans to complement your obstacle racing fitness.

For general guidelines, these 11 obstacle race nutrition tips should help. And remember to customize your pre obstacle race meal so you have enough energy to meet the challenge.

4. Team Training

If you’re planning to race as a team, try training as one.

From outdoor running groups to Tabata group ex and CrossFit-style training, include your race-day team members in your plan.

5. OCR Specific Training Equipment

It may be fun to devise balance beams, pull-up bars, hurdles, over-under barriers, and more for outdoor training in efforts to simulate race day challenges. But don’t be surprised if new and existing exercise equipment manufacturers develop race-specific training aids.

In the meantime, you can always rely on traditional home equipment such as pull-up bars, push-up grips, dumbbells, and other tried-and-true supplies.

6. OCR Specific Training AND Racing Footwear

Thanks to inov-8, New Balance, Vibram, and Brooks, there are a lot of options beyond the trail running shoe for obstacle race day footwear.

But you may not need to wear the same shoes for racing as you would for training. You’ll need a running shoe with grip, water and mud-resistance, ankle support, and mobility to get through a race safely.

For your some of your training needs, you can experiment with lightweight cross trainers and minimal running footwear on your strength and speed training days.

Just be sure to work up to training with lightweight and/or minimal footwear.

Don’t trade in your well-cushioned kicks for Five-Fingers until your feet are comfortable and strong enough to bear the shock from running, jumping, landing, and similar high-impact activity.

7. Foam Rolling & Mobility

There’s more to training for an obstacle race than hard runs and strenuous circuit training workouts.

To give your body a break from the wear and tear, you’ll need to do more than just nothing on your rest days. Flexibility will help your muscles recover and repair from all your hard work.

Work in static stretches, dynamic flexibility, foam rolling, and even light yoga.

8. Mental Toughness Training

No two obstacle races are the same, even within the same series. To get through the most arduous of races, you’ll need more than just brawn.

Train your mind and develop a tough mindset in order to mentally withstand the challenges you’ll face.
You can try yoga and other techniques to develop your mental toughness.

So there you have eight training tips to integrate into your obstacle race training plan. At some point in your journey, you may end up including all tips as obstacle course races challenge multiple facets of your game. Try them all, keep a log, and continue with what works best for you. Best of luck!

Image credit: 2013 Beach


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