The challenges of an obstacle race typically go beyond endurance and strength. If you’ve taken on a challenge like a Spartan Race, you may already know this. You may even be familiar with the mental aspect just from your training.
Regardless of the race you take on: be it a long run or a 5k obstacle course, here are five mind-body tips for training and race day.
1. Make progress at your own pace.
This goes for your actual training program to the race itself. Train hard, but smart. On race day, march (or run) to the beat of your own drummer.
If your race is three months away and you are training for an athletic event for the first time, don’t try to tackle an advanced WOD. Start with beginner and intermediate-level obstacle race workouts and work up to advanced training circuits.
Even veteran obstacle athletes can benefit from taking it slowly. Early on in your training plan, be sure to integrate active recovery. Include longer flexibility sessions, an easy run, yoga, and/or core training. Progress to more rigorous workouts while still making time for recovery.
On obstacle race day, focus on your goals and pace yourself. Did you aim to finish the race? Set your sights on a better time? Keep your objectives in mind, stick to them, but be flexible and wisely adjust your expectations based on the obstacles you encounter.
2. Give the race your best.
Athletes of all fitness levels must strive to balance between not giving up and not overdoing it.
The key way to know the difference between the two is by listening to your body. Consistent and structured training will teach you how to read your own system’s cues, knowing when to stop and when to endure a few more challenges.
3. Work as a team.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer to train and race alone or as part of group, you will need to rely on teamwork to get you through your training and your race.
As you prepare for an obstacle race, you’ll seek suggestions from participants, trainers, and other experts on the best WODs, training tips, and gear for your race.
In training and completion, an obstacle race was never meant to be conquered alone. That’s why organizers scatter team-oriented challenges throughout the course. Accept the camaraderie and help each other reach the finish line.
4. Be confident in your training.
Celebrate your training achievements as you prepare for your obstacle race. Reach a new goal and reward yourself with a new pair of running shoes or a sports massage. You’ve worked hard to prepare for your race. Commemorate milestones along the way.
When you are faced with the most significant milestone, your actual race, trust in the work you’ve put in to overcome the challenges ahead.
5. Have fun and enjoy yourself.
Get your game face on and determined mindset ready for your mudder.
But keep in mind that an an obstacle race can satisfy your sense of achievement just as much as the thrill of fun and adventure.
Embrace your training, enjoy your race, and tell your friends about it, hopefully inspiring them to join you next time!
Image “Embracing Beauteousness” by Martin Gommel
© 2009-2015 Melissa Rodriguez
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