Protima Tiwary explores how you need to train if you ever want to tackle an obstacle race.
You have been running marathons this season, and in the excitement of the runner’s high you’ve signed up for an obstacle race. Great going! Now it’s time to train to give this your best shot. It goes without saying- an obstacle race is not the same as a marathon, so if you feel you can make your way to the finish line without training, you’d be mistaken.
Sprinting, climbing ropes, crossing over bars, jumping over pits – obstacle races are all about adventure and adrenaline. Training for them requires mental, emotional and physical training. Once you set your mind to train for this race, here’s what you need to do –
Continue running, but this time change your training and incorporate speed runs, hill climbs, sprints and tempo runs in your routine. An obstacle race is all about the running experience and isn’t about how fast you run.
Incorporate cross-fit moves into your training regime that will help you conquer the obstacles. Exercises like push ups pull ups, rows and bar hangs are recommended. This basically works on your upper body strength, often a weak spot for runners.
This will help increase fast-twitch muscle development which will help you with jumps and lateral stops- starts. Exercises like springing with added weights pulling you back, box jumps and butt kicks are recommended.
Concentrate on flexibility and mobility training that will give you a wider range of movement during the race. These exercises help open up all the joints and muscles that are stiff, thereby improving posture and circulation. Yoga is a fine example of flexibility training.
This will help improve the strength in your body that will help you with posture and form, as well as help build power that is required to clear the obstacles. Exercises like bicep curls, shoulder press, chest press, farmers walks, squats and lunges are the basic exercise that can be done to increase strength.
Here is a 6-week schedule that will help you train adequately. Consult a coach or a trainer for specific exercise under this schedule.
Week 1 – Build Stamina
Practice different variations in running, climb stairs, go on brisk walks. Build stamina that will be needed on the race day. The fatigue can get overwhelming on the day of the race, so it is better to go well prepared. You don’t want to be out of breath on the first lap!
Also, start practising yoga.
Week 2- Build Strength
Improve your form and build strength that will be needed to clear the obstacles. Incorporate box jumps, climbing, jump squats, pull ups and push ups in your regime. Ideally, perform high repetitions of bodyweight exercises like pull ups, push ups, squats. This will help build muscular endurance and explosive power.
Week 3- Build Upper Body Strength
Focus on building upper body strength as this will be needed for all those rope climbs and bar crossing that need to be done. Incorporate exercises that focus on your upper body muscles- shoulder press, bench press, bicep curls, tricep dips, lat pull-downs are some primary examples.
Week 4 and 5- Practice
Your training towards the end of this plan will include all the exercise in a rotation. This is the period when you need to better your skill. Functional circuits are the best way to train. Set your pace. Set your goals. Prepare yourself mentally.
Week 6- Go slow
Build on strength, but make sure you do not over-do it! Ease up on the training in the last one week. Give your body a little rest by reducing the intensity of the workout. Eat well, sleep well. Continue yoga.