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Your Obstacle Race Training Calendar: Off-Season

2 Jan 2012

If you’re more than three months away from your race, you may be thinking about goals that will complement your obstacle course race training.

While some races are planned over the winter in locations with milder climates, most events take place in the spring and summer. So you have time to work on your Tough Mudder training program, Spartan Race training routine, and Warrior Dash workouts.

These goals can vary from losing a few pounds to outrunning the competition. Here are some common goals and how to plan your attack.

Note: Be sure to give yourself at least 4-6 weeks to work on each goal. And also be sure to give yourself a good 6-8 weeks before your event to do specific obstacle course race training.

Click here for a training calendar if you’re 4-8 weeks away from your race.

Goal 1: Weight loss

It probably goes without saying, but nearly half of health club members join gyms to lose weight.

Maybe you want to lose weight for overall health or to make some of the obstacles more manageable. It’s easier to climb the Spartan Race’s Mt. Impossible or Tough Mudder’s Berlin Walls hauling a fewer pounds.

To lose weight, diet is key.

If you need help with accountability, download an eating log app for your iPhone or smartphone. Log your meals and snacks for a few weeks to be aware of your intake. Remember that your eyes can lie sometimes, so you may need to use measuring aids to familiarize yourself with serving sizes.

What about exercise? The U.S. surgeon general recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity (or 15 minutes of vigorous activities) most days of the week for overall health benefits. For weight loss, plan on scheduling in twice as much worth of weekly activity.

Alternate moderate and vigorous training sessions five days a week. And for 2-3 of your weekly sessions, integrate resistance exercises through circuit training. This way you’ll maintain strength and muscle.


Sample Training Calendar for Weight Loss

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Spinning Class – 50 minutes Circuit training Yoga Bootcamp Run/walk – 50 minutes Rest Rest

Be creative with your training sessions for weight loss. Each workout doesn’t have to be time spend on an elliptical. If you’re at the gym, mix it up with other cross trainers, running, circuit training, Spinning, or other group exercise classes.

If you don’t belong to a gym, you can still run, you can do bootcamp-like training such as Beachbody’s Insanity or sign up for an outdoor bootcamp.

You can also try vinyasa-focused yoga classes at a local studio, and you can buy a pair of dumbbells (DBs) for resistance training at home.


Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable DBs at Perform Better ($549 + shipping estimate $82.35)


Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable DBs at Amazon.com ($328.60 + free shipping with Amazon Prime Membership)


Goal 2: Increase strength
Maybe your goal is to add strength so you can more readily swing from monkey bars, rope-climb, or carry logs over your shoulders.

Even though it sounds like these tasks require upper body strength mostly, carrying them out with more efficiently actually calls on your entire body: arms, legs, and core.

Even though your focus is on strength, you’ll want to be sure to get in come cardio to maintain overall heart-health and endurance. On days when you’re doubling up on strength and cardio, do cardio after your strength training.

Sample Training Calendar: Increase Strength

Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
Strength Legs, Back,
& Abs
Shoulders, Triceps
Back & Chest Legs & Abs Shoulders,
Cardio 25 min.
50 min.
25 min.

If you’re short on time, you can condense days 2 and 6 strength sessions by cutting back a set of each strength exercise. For example, if you usually do three sets of an exercise, do two on days 2 and 6.


Goal 3: Improve running pace and endurance

Maybe you’re focus is on running: you want to improve your finish time or you may want to take on a longer obstacle run like the Spartan Beast and need to build endurance.

Simple enough, if you’re goal is improve your running time or endurance, the way to do it is to focus on the actual activity.

Aim to run up to four days a week and complete a couple of conditioning workouts on your off-running days. I recommend leaving your long run for the weekends when you have more time for a longer session.

Your conditioning sessions should include core & total body resistance exercises as well as flexibility work. You can accomplish this through a resistance training program specific for running. You can also get in a good total body strength and flexibility session through yoga or Pilates.

Sample Training Calendar: Running

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Run Total Body Conditioning Run Run Yoga or Pilates Run Rest


With all your goals for obstacle course race training, be sure to schedule in a week of recovery after 3-4 weeks of training. During this week, scale back and train 3-5 days a week with light-moderate activity.

Now get out your calendar and make time to train!


Other Obstacle Race Updates

As of this morning, the leading obstacle races reached the following popularity points:

Tough Mudder
FB Fans: 1,408,801
Twitter Followers: 24,190

Warrior Dash
FB Fans: 745,010
Twitter Followers: 17,771

Spartan Race
FB Fans: 702,821
Twitter Followers: 16,133

Rugged Maniac
FB Fans: 86,980
Twitter Followers: 626

Metro Dash
FB Fans: 71,082
Twitter Followers: 583

Tough Mudder & Spartan Race among 2012 resolutions
Continuing with the rising popularity of obstacle races, some are setting their sights on popular mud runs in 2012. Stories by Patch.com, NBC news, and local media cover this development.

Warrior Dash ranks as #1 running event in Flint area of MI
The Warrior Dash took Genesee County by storm on July 30-31 at the E.A. Cummings Center in Genesee Township, attracting 24,912 entrants. That made the Warrior Dash the largest running event ever in the Flint area…event organizers decided immediately to bring the Warrior Dash back to the area in 2012.

Obstacle racing is the latest challenge for endurance jocks
For many years, the 26.2-mile marathon satisfied many endurance athletes as the ultimate challenge for stamina. Then the Ironman Triathlon came along, with its 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike course and marathon running finale. But now, for some, that’s just not a tough enough test. Outside Magazine, in its January edition, features an intriguing — and daunting — look at the rising wave of “obstacle races.”


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