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5 Must-Read Obstacle Racing Articles

11 Sep 2012

I probably enjoy reading about obstacle racing almost as much as I like writing about the sport. Over the past month, I’ve been working on a Top 5 list of articles to read. There are clearly more than five, but these are my picks. I anticipate more lists in the future, but these are all worth reading.

A few of these articles are by seasoned obstacle athletes and experts. One piece is by a triathlete using obstacle racing to complement his training. Lastly, one post announces the release of a free downloadable guide on obstacle racing published by the Spartan Race.

Triathlon Training by Obstacle Racing (Endurance Sports Florida)
This article is a must-read if you are a triathlete or you’re thinking about using obstacle racing to enhance your triathlon prep. Obstacle racing may help you improve your time and endurance for a triathlon.

“Some triathletes scoff at obstacle racing since there’s little-to-no swimming involved and because some participants walk much of the course. But if you push yourself through obstacle work, both in preparation and the race itself, it’s a brutal all-around workout that produces incredible results. Consider: TRANSITION TIMES: One of the toughest things about triathlon is transitioning between the swim and the bike and the bike and the run. It’s not just a matter of efficiently changing gear but also catching your breath, getting your legs to adjust, and maintaining speed. Even the best triathletes struggle with transition at times, especially running the first half mile after the bike when your legs feel like cement…Obstacle races have two dozen running-obstacle-running transitions. Sure, the transitions are more modest, but there’s a lot more of them. Obstacle races are won by people who clear obstacles quickly and regain their speed immediately. Do enough of those and triathlon transitions seem a lot easier.”

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Buddha dog

Mental Toughness for Obstacle Course Racing (Obstaclecourseracing.com)
Although this post was published last year, I just recently discovered it. Rob Decilis, an obstacle athlete, gives some great advice on how to work on the mental training aspect of obstacle racing. His five tips will help you prepare your mind for race day.

“Mental toughness is defined as the ability to maintain the focus and determination to complete a course of action despite difficulties, fear and possible consequences. Obstacle course races are the perfect arena to find, test, harness and nurture mental toughness…The element of the unknown in addition to often less than ideal racing conditions is a perfect cocktail to develop mental toughness. Doing things that you cannot exactly recreate completely for preparation and often finding yourself alone, fatigued and possibly injured during intermittent areas of the race can play with a person’s mind.”

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World’s Toughest Mudder: Gear List (MudRunManiac)
Paul Philips is an avid obstacle racer with great training tips and advice on his blog, MudRunManiac. He’s also participated in the World’s Toughest Mudder. If you are thinking of taking on this ultra-challenge, you’ll want to be sure to bring along items on his list.

“A few people who also plan to brave through the 2012 WTM course have inquired about preparation for this 24-hour test of grit. Over the span of the next few months, I’ll let you know how I’m progressing toward reaching my new goal and what steps I will take to get there. To start things off, I’d like to share my packing list from last year’s WTM. Sure, WTM is over four months away, but you don’t want to wait until the last-minute to gather your gear. Some of these items you may not need. This list is just what I was able to assemble without purchasing too much and by borrowing quite a few items.”

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Get After It: Obstacle Course Racing (The Hybrid Athlete)
Joe Vennare of The Hybrid Athlete and Race Day Domination gives a great overview on how to train for an obstacle race. He also provides a race-day checklist and an obstacle race training workout.

“Have you taken on a 5k, half-marathon or even a marathon only to find yourself asking, “What’s next?” The answer to that question combines mud, military style obstacles and even fire on a race course that will test your fitness and willpower. Obstacle course races like the Spartan Race have created a recreational revolution by combining running and adventure racing in a fun atmosphere. Instead of choosing to take on a road race or triathlon, weekend warriors, general fitness seekers and former athletes are turning to obstacle racing for their fitness and amusement fix. Once you determine the time has come for your mud run initiation, use this guide to Get After It and DO WORK.”

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The Spartan Guide to the Sport of Obstacle Racing (spartanrace.com)
This last post is actually an announcement release of the Spartan Race’s free obstacle racing ebook. It’s a 400-pager, but worth reading, or at least perusing through for the main highlights. I read through the origins of multi-sport activities, obstacle racing, and, probably my favorite, several of the bios on Spartan racers. The guide also includes training routines and calendars for all Spartan Races.

Download the Spartan Guide

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