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Get ready for the challenge: Obstacle course racing

Finishing, not winning, is the goal
Finishing, not winning, is the goal
Photo by Rick Kern

Obstacle courses may be the biggest fitness craze at the moment. They test your endurance, strength, mental toughness, and do it all in a fun and unique way. Each course you run is different. Most courses are a 5K, making them doable for most people. This doesn't mean you can just sign up and run one, though. It will take some training so that you can complete all the obstacles, and to prevent injury.
Check out these tips to get yourself in obstacle course shape.

Jog/Run: First and foremost, you need to build up your endurance. Running a 5K is not something you can just decide to do one day. If you are already in good shape from lifting weights, playing sports, walking, etc; a month of jogging two to three times per week should get you ready. If you aren't very active, give yourself at least two months of jogging to prepare.

Perform strengthening exercises during your run: Every half mile, stop and knock out some pushups, squat jumps, lunges, a lengthy plank, or pullups at a park. During a race, you will encounter somewhere around 10 obstacles. You will need to have some strength in your tank to climb walls, crawl, jump over a small fire, or wade through water. Strengthening exercises mixed in with your training runs will prepare you for this.

Run hills: Many obstacle courses are trail courses, or courses through woods on paths. You are bound to encounter some uphill parts of the bath, as well as be climbing obstacles. Running hills will help accommodate your body to these parts of the run by strengthening your hamstrings and glutes. You can run sprints up a hill outside, or jog at a fairly steep incline on the treadmill.

Train your back: You will most likely encounter at least obstacle where you need to climb a wall of sorts. There is also a good chance you will need to climb a net, rope, or crawl at some point during your race. Chin-ups, pull-downs and rows are great exercises to prepare for these obstacles. Making your back stronger will allow you to pull yourself up or forward much more efficiently.

While this is not an all inclusive training program, it is plenty to get you started training for a successful run. Go on, take the challenge, you will love the experience from running an obstacle course race.