Whether you’re training for the Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder, you may be on the lookout for tips to raise your training to the next level.
If you want to reach peak fitness in time for your next mud run, try to integrate as many of these activities into your training plan.
A running program should be your first stop for building endurance for an obstacle race, especially if you have your sights set on the Spartan Beast, Tough Mudder, or other longer run.
If you’re new to running, you can start with the Couch to 5k or other beginner’s programs on coolrunning.com.
If you’re more of a seasoned runner and you’re looking to stay on track with your program, consider joining a local running group or club.
What’s your goal in 2012 and when is your obstacle race?
If you’re starting with a local 5k dash or sprint, you can use a traditional 5k race as a test for endurance. You can also participate in the Metro Dash to work through challenges similar to what you’ll face.
Planning for a long run, try a shorter race like the Warrior Dash or Ruckus beforehand as a milestone in your training.
Lastly, if you’re an OCR die-hard, train to take on all three Spartan day races: Sprint, Super, and Beast.
CrossFit is a strength & overall conditioning program that incorporates bodyweight training, kettlebells, powerlifting, plyos, and other modalities to get you in great shape.
It’s been called “the brother of obstacle racing” since many military and elite forces utilize this training system, the same masterminds that developed race courses.
4. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is a super intense cardiorespiratory workout consisting of short, intense exercise bouts with recovery.
Traditionally used as a fat-burning workout, HIIT can also help build anaerobic capacity, which you’ll need to endure individual obstacles and darting from one challenge to the next.
Most gyms offer HIIT or Tabata classes. Check your club’s schedule. For a home version, try TurboFire®.
5. Boot Camp
Boot Camp has become the “bread & butter” of group exercise programming. This class integrates bodyweight calisthenics, total body exercises, running intervals, and sometimes weights.
Boot Camp can also be used to build up your fitness level for CrossFit.
Available at gyms that offer group exercise and through independent trainers that conduct seasonal/outdoor classes.
For a home version, you could try Insanity. Insanity is probably best suited for an exerciser of intermediate fitness level with healthy knees and joints.
Insanity: 60-Day Program – $144.80 on Amazon(via Beachbody)
6. Yoga & Flexibility
With all the rigorous cardio and resistance training you’ll be doing, yoga and flexibility will help keep your muscles loose, limber, and in working order to prevent injuries.
Yoga will also help you build mental focus and tenacity, which will go a long way on game day when you’re reaching past your limits.
Newbies can get started with yoga through a local studio or home videos. If you’ve been doing yoga for a while, you may want to go with a studio or private instruction to keep you challenged.
7. Suspension Training
Suspension training is a rising fitness trend that’s finding it’s way into all-things fitness and sports training.
Developed by a Navy seal (again the connection with military forces), suspension training builds core, total body strength, balance, and joint stabilization.
Some gyms may offer suspension training classes with the TRX or Jungle Gym XT, so be sure to check out your club’s offerings and class schedule.
If not, suspension trainers are also available for home use. The TRX trainer has been the leader, but recent reviews on Amazon show Jungle Gym XT proving to be a competitive alternative.
Jungle Gym XT with Door Anchor – $104.95 on Amazon
8. Other Unconventional Training Methods
Obstacle races are intended to be fun, so don’t hesitate to incorporate unconventional and enjoyable training options into your routine.
Some of the training methods already listed above integrate the non-traditional and fun. If not, don’t be afraid to try a class that utilizes exercise bands, ViPR, Parkour, and/or everything else in between.
9. Personal Training
First race? It may not hurt to hire a trainer for a few sessions to customize a start-up program based on your health history.
Also, if it’s your first time exercising in a while, working with a personal trainer for a month or two will provide you with the guidance you need to re-develop a conditioning base.
Having a coach in your corner will also help you with accountability and adherence to an exercise program structured around your goal of completing an obstacle race.
Initially popular with the CrossFit system, now many obstacle races and training pages will regularly list a WOD.
The WOD may be more suitable for the intermediate-advanced exerciser looking for the occasional intense shake-up to a current routine.
If you’ve gone through a few personal training sessions, then WOD may also be a good thing to include in your weekly training schedule.
Be sure to “Like” the Facebook pages of the Rugged Maniac, Spartan Race, and your favorite obstacle race organizers for a daily challenge.
11. Obstacle Race Training Sites
In just a short time, obstacle racing has developed a large following. And many have been open to sharing their training tips for success.
Training for a race has become as much a community-oriented task as running the actual races.
12. Working Out with a Friend(s)
Regardless of whether or not you’ve registered as part of a team, each race requires collaboration with participants. Why not train like it?
Working out with a friend will give you the accountability you may require from training without the strain on your wallet. It will also keep you motivated (provided that your workout buddy is serious about training for a race).
And let’s face it, training with a friend will just be more fun than going it alone.
So there you have it! 12 ways to get you ready for your next adventure run.
© 2009-2015 Melissa Rodriguez
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