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Obstacle Course Races

TMCrewObstacle course races are getting really popular. Sure you’ve heard of some the big names like the Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, and Spartan Race series. These races are great way to use and enjoy your new level of fitness. If you’ve never run one, and really recommend checking one out. They take place all over the United States and many of these obstacle course race series have international races as well. Just last weekend a group of teamRIPPED coaches met together and ran a Tough Mudder in Ohio (many are good friends). I’ve got to hear a lot of their stories over the week so I thought it would be a good idea to give a general overview of what you should expect from these races.

My Experience with Obstacle Course Races

I know their teamRIPPED members that have much more experience than me, but I had the great opportunity to run a Warrior Dash two years ago. And I ran it! Many of the races combine similar elements but will vary some specific obstacles and distances. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to talk with many teamRIPPED members and coaches that have run the three major obstacle course races: the Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, and Tough Mudder.

WD_2011

Obstacle Course Race Training – Running

Your training in large part should be guided on how long of race you’re running. A typical Warrior Dash is only a 5K (or 3.1 miles). A Tough Mudder on the other hand can be anywhere from 10-12 miles. The amount of training you should put into running would obviously be very different between those two races. That being said, you really decide what your goal in the race is. If you want to go all out, then you should definitely get in some mileage before your obstacle course race. If you’re going to have fun with a team or your friends, being able to jog a few miles is probably adequate. You’ll have plenty of time for recovery at the obstacles and you can even walk if you don’t care at all about your time.

Any of Beachbody’s HIIT cardio workouts or programs will give you plenty of a cardiovascular capacity to compete well in these races. Program like the Asylum that couples intense cardio with strength training would be a great idea to use in preparation for an obstacle course race.

Obstacle Course Race Training – Strength

This is where Beachbody programs really excel. The type of strength you’ll need to complete one of these obstacle course races well is exactly what you’ll build with most Beachbody programs. A good emphasis on upper body strength should be more than enough. Any program like P90X, P90X2, The Asylum, or even Body Beast should give you enough upper body strength to do plenty of pull-up type motions.

Even just losing weight with your Beachbody program will really help in any of these obstacle course races. There is always going to be strength to weight ratio for each person. As you weigh less and build/maintain muscle, things like pull-ups become easier. Running one of these races at 200 and 15% BF pounds is going to be harder than being at hundred 180 pounds and 10% BF. That should be obvious, you literally have less weight to move.

Core strength and stability is also a big benefit. This is where program like P90X2 would really help you on an obstacle course race. Making sure all your accessory muscles and stabilizers are strong will make any of these courses easier to run and will also make you less prone to injury.

Obstacle Course Race Safety

Check out any of these races online and you’re bound to find some pretty sad stories about horrible injuries (and in a few cases death). All of these races will have an elevated level of risk than just sitting at home. From my experience, and the experiences of many other teamRIPPED members, if you are not behaving stupidly or acting foolishly there is no reason to get seriously hurt at these events. You may get a sprained ankle or tweak your shoulder but in almost all cases of serious injury that I’ve read about the participant was seriously injured by taking an excessive and unneeded risk. Some examples would be trying to do back flips off of obstacles, jumping off the top of 20 foot high cargo nuts, and running the races under the influence of alcohol (yes that’s stupid).

Take one of the biggest races for example, the Tough Mudder, and you’ll see that they’ve had their only death just recently. These races are businesses. They have to be very calculated about covering their liability and their intent is never to hurt anyone. Be smart and you’ll be fine. God gave you a brain, if you don’t feel right about an obstacle, just skip it.

Obstacle Course Race Gear

This will be tailored specifically to what obstacle course race you’re running, the weather, and what time of year the race is taking place. Here are some common examples of popular gear:

  • Under Armour and compression type leggings and tops
  • compression socks
  • nylon shorts (really anything quick dry)
  • quick dry T-shirts (Under Armour and Nike are great picks)
  • old shoes (unless you’re really serious and have dedicated race use)
  • fingerless gloves
  • race belt or fanny pack (better for a longer race where you’ll need in-race fuel)
  • trashbags (to take your muddy stuff home)
  • clean clothes (to change into after the race)

Do an Obstacle Course Race and HAVE FUN!

These are really fun events! Whether you want to go all out or just have fun, there’s a race that will meet your needs. Much of the fun is working together with the team. Get your friends together and sign up for an obstacle course race. Train hard as you always do with your Beachbody workouts and you’ll be amazed at how well they prepare you for these races. Just keep your head on straight and don’t take any unneeded risks. I guarantee if you run one you’ll always have a weekend to remember!

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25 comments
Bear O
Bear O

Coach - Have a Tough Mudder coming up a week from Saturday and want a second opinion as I have no idea how its going to go.  Have been doing a Body Beast/Running home spun hydrid eating 2700 calories with a macro breakdown of 40p/40c/20f at 220 lbs with a BF of about 10%.  Next week I was going to simply run a few times early in the week and maybe do some stretching to "rest" before the event while moving my nutrition to 3000 calories with macros of 30p/50c/20f.   Planning on a bulk after anyway so the nutrition will just blend in.   Sound like a fair game plan?  Thanks

Jessica
Jessica

hey coach,

 

This is more of a curiosity question.. Its similar to Big C's... When you did the rugged maniac did you do anything different with your eating....

 

Or did you just take a R&R  and a E&E and not workout for the day and treat it as a workout day??

 

ty

Big C
Big C

Hey Coach or anyone on the Team Ripped crew,

 

I am currently about to make the switch from the fat shredder phase to the energy booster phase. I am about 2% to my body fat goal (give or take). I am going for a maintance calorie goal. I am about to do a Spartan Race Sprint ( 3 miles) w/in 2 weeks... AROO ! I am a little worried to carb up the night before or day of for the race for chances of it throwing off my progress of reaching my body fat goal of 6%.

 

Since its only a 3 MILE race ( and not a 12 mile) and should take me roughly 40min. to finish what are your thoughts of me following my 40/40/20 split goal and taking E&E before the race. Essentially treating the race as a workout for the day and taking R&R after the race.

 

Tx !

DavidWrye
DavidWrye

In upstate NY we have one called the Rockeater Adventure Race, its a 5k obstacle course that they want you to wear COSTUMES in. My Superman Skin Suit is already here!

 

jkbriggs
jkbriggs

I am running the Warrior Dash in North Carolina on June 1 if anyone else will be down there.  I am in the 10 am heat.

IanPytlarz
IanPytlarz

Hey everyone, was wondering if I could get some advice from people who have done these and have used beachbody programs as their primary fitness source.

 

I've done P90X, P90X+, P90X2, and Insanity at different points over the last two years, never taking a very long break from working out. Lately I've dropped to ~4 days a week just doing stuff I like and mixing in a ton of 1 on 1 videos, so I know I needed motivation to kick it into high gear and signed up for the super spartan in Chicago. I just started training using the super spartan training regimen outlined in their ebook (http://www.spartanrace.com/spartan-race-guide-to-obstacle-racing-ebook.php) and holy crap is the running hard. My calves are wrecked just from doing the first two days.

 

I plan to stick to the schedule, but I was wondering if anyone could relate how much trouble they had running the race if their main source of cardio training came from the beachbody programs, and/or how much trouble you had when inserting running into your training schedule after primarily doing beachbody programs.

 

I've never done any distance running before and I'm currently only running 3-4 miles at below a 10 minute pace. I'm not sure what to 'shoot for' or what should be expected when transitioning from the sort of cross fit training of the beachbody programs into endurance running. So, anyone who has experienced this and has advice it would be greatly appreciated! I don't just want to finish this race, I want to destroy it (current goal is to finish in <2 hrs), and knowledge is power! Thanks!

scotthannaman
scotthannaman

I recently had a blast doing the Tough Mudder in Austin on 4.20.13!  I trained with P90x and then Body Beast (with a little extra cardio during the weeks leading up to the race).  It was a lot of fun, zero injuries, and it was an extremely good time with friends.  I have a lot of people interested in teamripped and beachbody after seeing the results I've had physically and ease I had with the race due to proper nutrition I've implemented.  I've gained 25lbs since July of last year and will continue to bring it!   I included some picture links below.  Geaux Teamripped nation!!!

 

http://www.edwardjhebertdds.com/GroupPic.jpg

http://www.edwardjhebertdds.com/SG.jpg

http://www.edwardjhebertdds.com/JS.jpg

CoachBuck56
CoachBuck56

I too love these races. I have run 6 in the past year and have the Spartan Sprint next weekend. Going for the Spartan Trifecta this year. Tought Mudder last month was a ton of fun! Hope to see some of yall at the upcoming races. Will be traveling to VA in August for the Super Spartan and will be doing the Spartan Beast in Texas this December. These are fun and I strongly recommend trying a few of them out.

Joe Bones
Joe Bones

Spartan is the best for challenge and there are 3 series (sprint, super, beast). It is a ton of fun but if you fail one of the 20-30 obstacles you have to drop and give 30 Burpees before moving on. Run with your pals and have a good time. Joe

DerekOHara
DerekOHara

I plan on doing a spartan race late this summer. I'm so glad I found P90X to help me get in "spartan" shape.

Rishi_D
Rishi_D

Ooooo these obstacle courses intimidate me but hopefully with all the beachbody workout training I can muster the courage to take on one of these soon. 

Matthew Mahaley
Matthew Mahaley

Great post, Coach.  I especially like the Tough Mudder photo above. ;)

Having suffered from major tight muscle issues, I can HIGHLY recommend making sure to focus on flexibility and stretching. I have really been spending some time with my rumble roller and working out the glutes, hip flexors, hammies, and IT Band.  This will be a huge help for my knee pain, which has been diagnosed as being related to the tightness in the tendons and muscles.

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

Jessica, Nothing changed for me. R&R would be fine, as would E&E.

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

C, I think that is completely fine. 40 minutes isn't anything that I would make changes for. Have fun!

IanPytlarz
IanPytlarz

New question! I'm supposed to do hill sprints tomorrow, but living in central Indiana there aren't many good hilly areas around, and I *really* don't want to drive somewhere. Beachbody kind of spoiled me on the not having to go anywhere to work out bit. I know I need to do stuff like this to work on my speed (a week later, still upwards of 11 min miles...) but I'm wondering if there is something that would prove to be a good substitute for hill sprints. Preferably something I can do in a gym, since Friday is a 2 workout day and I plan to do the hill sprints part at the campus gym on my lunch hour.

scotthannaman
scotthannaman

 @IanPytlarz Hi Ian,  I think you are definitely going to do great and even destroy it!  I trained for the tough mudder using body beast of all things and simply added a midweek cardio session and a trail run (no more than 6-7 miles) on the weekend.  The race was 12 miles and I finished it in 2hr30min.  It's just different because of the adrenaline factor and the obstacles.  I never felt like I couldn't run more (until I sat down after the race).  I would recommend don't over train and make sure you incoroporate proper yoga/stretching because the most injuries I saw were of people cramping during mid obstacle due to muscle spasms, dehydration, and poor prerace/intrarace nutrition.

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @Rishi_D Go slowly and have fun with it and they shouldn't be scary at all. They are a blast!

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @Matthew Mahaley LOL! I hope it was already I used your team's pic. I saw tons of great pics form that weekend. It looked great!

Big C
Big C

 @CoachWayne

 

Tx for the reply Coach,

 

Im also doing a tough mudder (12 mile) in October.. By then though I should be at a 30/50/20 split. Atleast I better be lol.. I'll cross that bridge once I get there.

CoachWayne
CoachWayne moderator

 @IanPytlarz A treadmill on an incline should work well. Set up some intervals and go hard. 

IanPytlarz
IanPytlarz

 @scotthannaman  Thanks scott. The last bit is what I'm most worried about, as I've never done a race of any sort and have no idea how to properly take in food/water while racing. This program has two rest days a week, and I was thinking of throwing the Fountain of Youth 1 on 1 yoga program in on one of those days. I can definitely feel that my legs are going to seriously need some stretching and that cramping will be a problem, as I've experienced some very light cramping in my sides just on the few short runs I've done thus far. Any idea where I can find good info on how to keep the mid-race nutrition from being a problem?

Matthew Mahaley
Matthew Mahaley

@CoachWayn, a bunch of us have spoken about the use of the photo. We decided we will release our photographic likeness in return for you joining us on the next one. ;)

IanPytlarz
IanPytlarz

 @CoachWayne Thanks! The school probably has some of the nicer treadmills, so programming the appropriate intervals should be doable. Good idea. I'll have to do a lot of manual button pushing when I do it at home, our complex's treadmills are the most basic you can get. I think there are 8 buttons total :)

scotthannaman
scotthannaman

 @IanPytlarz No prob bud.  Take a look at these links. 

http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/prerace-and-midrace-fueling

http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/midrace-fuel

 

I personally ate some serious Cinnamon Raisin Bagels the days before the race (like 20 of them).  The night before was pasta and meatballs, large salad, and chicken breast.  Morning of was oatmeal, cliff bar, and xtend workout supplement.  During the race they provided fruit, cliff bars, and best thing ever....cliff blocks.  (you can find some good deals on those on amazon).  Also I drank a lot of water and generally increased my caloric intake with carbs being a higher macro.