Obstacle 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.
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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