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4 ways to train for an obstacle course race

Here are 4 ways to train for an obstacle course race

Whether you’re an experienced runner, or you’ve never run more than a mile in your life, training for an obstacle race presents a challenge. When preparing for a traditional road race, even the least experienced can determine that the majority of the training involves running of some kind. Obstacle runs present a unique challenge. You’re running, but not for very long, and then you need to perform some complicated athletic feat, before resuming your running. And what about the obstacles themselves? You’re not a lumberjack. You’ve never had to carry a gigantic log in your life. How can you make sure you get from the starting line to the finish line, and not just survive, but thrive?

Let’s break this obstacle race down into two parts, shall we?

Training for The Run

Running is an important part of obstacle races. It’s the fastest way to get from obstacle to obstacle! When training for any race, obstacle or otherwise, it’s important to include regular runs. Today, we’re going to go over ways to prevent injury and improve your running form as your train for your obstacle race. Below are 3 movements you can practice, either before or after each run, to improve your stride and flexibility, and prevent the overuse injuries that are common with runners.

Training for The Obstacles

Often, going into an obstacle race, you only have partial knowledge of the challenges that await you. However, no matter how creative, insane, or muddy the obstacles are, you can be sure of a few different themes.

  • First, you will have to carry heavy and oddly-shaped weights, often over a 50 or 100-meter distance. Sometimes these weights are off-balance, so they feel awkward no matter what way you hold them.
  • Second, you will have some sort of balance challenge. These come in the form of balance beams, stepping stones, etc. Being able to move quickly and maintain your balance is a common element in obstacle races.
  • Third, and lastly, you will have to use your upper body to haul your body weight over a distance. These obstacles are army crawls, rope ladders, rope climbs, etc.

Knowing this makes it easier to design an appropriate training plan. You need to be strong enough to carry heavy weights and climb over/under obstacles, your core stability needs to be such that you can maintain your balance under extreme circumstances, and you need to be aerobically conditioned enough to tackle these obstacles after having just sprinted a quarter mile.

The workout below (similar to our daily workouts at bodhi) is designed to build upper body strength and all-around stability. Do this finisher after a run or, if you’re short on time, do it on its own.

5 rounds for time, 13-minute cap

10 Dumbbell Overhead Press
10 Lat Pulldown
10 Slamball Clean & Press
5 (each) Dumbbell 1-arm snatch

Put all of this to work and Sign up today for the Somerville Challenge 5k over here!

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