Because of the many hours spent doing long distance running and countless short runs dedicated to improving their running pace, agility and endurance are undeniably two characteristics that describe a runner.
But with the recent rise of obstacle course racing or OCR, runners are challenged to add variety and incorporate more types of exercises during cross training in order to help them build the skill set needed for an obstacle course race.
So we listed the types of workouts that you can incorporate into your fitness routine to help you prepare for your first obstacle race:
1. Off-road running
To start things off, obstacle races are mostly held on the trail which is a whole lot different and more challenging than road or track running. You would have to deal with uneven surfaces and varying steepness and direction of the road. It will also be more slippery compared to road running especially during OCRs where mud is to be expected.
With that said, you might want to incorporate trail running in your training schedule or maybe switch up your weekend LSD runs by doing some off-road training to help with the familiarization of this new terrain.
2. Functional Fitness
Burpees! Burpees! Burpees! And a lot more burpees is what you will possibly encounter in your first obstacle race as athletes are required in some OCRs to complete a certain number of penalty burpees in case of failure of finishing a certain obstacle. But aside from that, doing burpees and other functional fitness workouts are quite helpful in preparing for an OCR.
An aspiring obstacle racers would want to build not only lower body strength but upper body strength as well. This is because there will be obstacles where you’d have to pull yourself or climb through walls. Some very useful functional exercises that you can incorporate into your training are push-ups, kettlebell swing, prowlers, squats, deadlifts, etc.
Improving and/or building speed is important in obstacle racing as you would need to build momentum in order to conquer some challenges like the Z wall or the over under through. Tempo runs, Fartlek, Hill Repeats, and a whole lot of track exercises are quite helpful to improve your speed and prepare you for the OCR.
4. Stretching and Mobility Workouts
In obstacle racing, you will be challenged to crawl fast in the mud, do a lot of swings, take leaps from one wall to another, and lift heavy things. These activities will not only require muscular strength but also good flexibility and range of motion. The least that you want while racing is to feel that your muscles are too tight or that you can’t move efficiently. Hence, the need to include stretching and mobility exercises in your workouts.
Performing stretching and mobility exercises are very important in order to safely and efficiently conquer an obstacle as it will prepare both your joints and muscles before racing. Foam rolling, leg swings, twisting reverse lunge, and rubber band stretches for the shoulders are just some of the stretching and mobility exercises that you can try.
5.Skills Training with Obstacles
Learning how to be effective and efficient is crucial in every obstacle that you will encounter while racing. Now, some very fit people can actually do a rope climb, carry really heavy atlas stones, or pull/flip heavy tires using brute strength and that’s good! But there’s always an easier and much safer way to do the obstacles when you learn the technique.
Luckily establishments like the Obstacle Sports Factory and Spartan Obstacle Camp have opened in the country where you can practice on the actual obstacles that you will see on race day. Having a taste of the actual obstacles will let you assess your strength and weaknesses. More so, the tips and techniques that you will learn will help be at the top of your game come race day.
Can’t wait to sign up for your next obstacle race? Check these upcoming OCRs: