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3 Aerobic Endurance Guidelines for Obstacle Athletes

31 Aug 2016


This post is a bonus from a five-installment series on aerobic endurance training.

Aerobic endurance has obvious utility for obstacle racing. Some elite obstacle athletes spend up to 75% of their training program focused on building aerobic endurance. To make it through most races, you need to have endurance. 

So how do you build aerobic endurance specifically for obstacle racing? Here are 3 tips based on your fitness level.

Level 1: Make aerobic activity a habit.

4 running

If you’re starting at square one, a newbie, absolute beginner to obstacle racing, your primary goal should be to make time for aerobic exercise at least three days a week, preferably most days a week.

Running is your primary aerobic activity as an obstacle athlete, so ideally, you should have at least 2-3 running workouts a week. If your feet or legs are too sore to do more than a few days of running a week, you can fill in the other aerobic exercise days with cross-training activities: cycling, swimming, circuit training, etc. (See Part 4 of five-post series on aerobic endurance for more on cross training circuit training.)

As you engage in aerobic exercise regularly, you will meet a secondary goal of building a foundation of endurance.

Level 2: Build on the foundation.

rock-1106202_1920Now that you’ve made aerobic exercise a habit and you have developed a foundation, you can work in some advanced workouts, specifically for running. Intervals, hills, tempo, and trail runs are all options you can work on. Read more on running workouts.

At this point, you may be ready to run more than a few days a week, but if not, you can continue to cross-train on other aerobic training days or on days when you feel too sore for a run.

Level 3: Revisit goals.


By now, you have a solid level of aerobic fitness, and you’ve probably done a couple of OCRs.

What’s next?

That’s a question only you can answer. Do you want to take on a more challenging race? Race for competition? Or maybe you want to participate in obstacle races on a casual or recreational basis.

Whatever your goals are, be sure to articulate them, be aware of your progress, and revisit them as needed. Renewing your goals will help you stay interested in your workouts and keep your training focus!

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