Obstacle course races are becoming all the rage these days and for good reason. They are a LOT of fun! Everyone from teenagers to grandma’s seem to be giving it a go. Many enjoy themselves but many find that they are not as up to the challenge as they thought. And some who are otherwise active find that their usual type of training doesn’t prepare them to perform or enjoy a mud run as much as they would like.
Just about anyone can prepare for an obstacle course run but they must be willing to start where their at in their fitness and build gradually in order to make preparing for race day fruitful and not feel like torture. Your training approach should be practical, build up in difficulty over time and have two main components. Running, duh! And strength building.
When entering a run of any sort especially runs over rough terrain you need to start easy. Easy paces and short distances are where to begin, don’t go out and destroy yourself by trying to run too many miles too fast every single day! I have found starting clients who want to enter a mud run-training just 3 days a week is very practical. This allows for recovery days in between training days. I typically start them off with just 2 mile walks or runs. Every week for about 4-6 weeks I add 1 mile to their run distance making the increase in running very manageable. Building up to a 3, or 7 or even a 10 mile long event is easy when you do it this way.
Once you have built the distance you need to cover your mud run event it time to start working on speed work. That is a bit beyond the scope of this article but you can get more details on that at proveyourealive.com.
The second part of a sound mud run training routine is strength! If you want to tackle those obstacles like a champ you better have the ability to crawl and pull your body over, under and through anything.
Your mud run style strength training should include a lot of body weight and some kettle bell or dumbbell lifts for power building. the type of strength training I feel is quick and effective when it comes to increasing endurance, strength and agility is body weight circuits.
Your body weight strength program should include an upper body pressing exercise, upper body pulling movements, resistance for the legs, core and finally full body explosive lifts.
Ok, this is getting long so if this makes sense and you want to see the ultimate mud run training program in detail you can find it here.