Okay so you’ve signed up to that ‘event’, everyone at work is doing it, it’s something called ‘Pretty Muddy’ or ‘Tough Mud something’ and you’ve been told that it’ll be fun, just a bit of jogging, some obstacles but mostly just having a laugh with everyone, don’t worry, we’re are doing it as a group, having a laugh and won’t be going fast.
So you click on the YouTube link that’s been sent around and you think… shit… what have I got myself into, I’m not sure I can do this. I get out of breathe walking up stairs, there is no way I can get myself around that course. Well let me tell you something, there’s no denying that Obstacle Course Runs are designed to test you, they are also supposed to be tons of fun and achievable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be pushing yourself. If you really feel you can’t do something then you can walk around obstacles, it’s okay. No one will tell you that you are not good enough (if they make you feel that way then they are not very nice people), just being out on that course and giving things a go is enough, push yourself as much as you want to. That’s the joys of Obstacle Course Running, its the taking part that counts, you start on that start line like everyone else and you get over that same finish line like everyone else, you get the same medal, headband or t-shirt as the person who crosses the line first or last. It doesn’t matter, because it’s about your own person challenge. You versus the course. All I’m going to say is give everything a go (if you want too), get involved and you’ll have the most amount of fun you can have as an adult with your clothes on. This is your chance to be a big kid and play on a big adults playground!
That’s the pep talk out the way, lets get on to the interesting part, how to train for an Obstacle Course Run…
1. Get moving
So a lot of articles or blogs will say start running, well I’m going to start by saying, just get moving, start walking to places, start walking everywhere, walk to work (especially if it’s less than a couple of miles). You may think you are not that fit, so start small and build it up as you gain more confidence. Going for a walk at lunch time with some of the team doing the event, get a few of you together and just walk and chat, you’ll find that on the day of the event you’ll be doing a lot of this. Just by making this small change, you are most likely able to keep at it. Your aim is to get over that finish line in one piece, not how fast you are going to do it (that’s for the next time).
2. Train the whole body
Ladies you are not going to get big from using weights (yes every PT will roll their eyes at this comment) but you are going to make your body stronger, fitter and working to the best of it’s abilities. Now, I’m not saying hitting those massive heavy weights, I’m saying hit a weight that pushes you (those 1 & 2kg Dumbbells won’t being doing much for you), that you makes you stronger, a weight that you can feel the next day and know you have worked out, but I especially mean start training that upperbody. Work on your chest, back, shoulders and arms, reduce the just training legs, all because you like it and can traing legs for days. Guys, it’s okay to do classes, they will help you get fit and they will help you get stronger to allow you to lift more weights and also get your used to training legs (everyone is a winner), It’s great having the show muscles but if you can’t run or jump then you’ll have issues, also no women likes chicken legs on a guy, no matter how big your Lat spread is or your biceps are. Think along the lines of muscle endurance, so 10 to 15 reps, 3 or 4 sets of each exercise. If you are really not sure then sign up to a bodypump class and each week, try and increase the weights or a tone class, a class that involves weights is good for you. Looking for a local class then check out your local PureGym. Classes are a great way of getting fit for an Obstacle Course Run, they will push you and get you cardio fit too. Maybe check out my classes at PureGym in Altrincham, and let me know you are training for a run before the start of the class, I’ll help get you where you need to be and ready in time for your race.
3. Grip Training
So most races will have Monkey Bars or involve a lot of upperbody obstacles, this is because most of the race will be walking/jogging/running, so they wont destroy your legs with squats as they know you’ll be using them a lot. So Grip is very important, and I’m not talking about being able to do muscle ups or pull-ups (that’s the more advanced stuff), I’m talking about your hands and being able to hold onto stuff for a while. I would suggest starting with just hanging off bars for as long as possible or if you require further ideas then check out one of my previous article on Grip Strength.
4. Sign up to parkrun
You’ve started moving more, you are out walking, you are doing classes and hanging from bars, it’s now time to put you into a ‘race’ environment without any pressure, parkrun is perfect for this, it’s a marked 5km run (3.1 miles), they give you a barcode and it’s timed. start by walking it, and then as your confidence grows then start by jog parts of it, walk, jog, walk, jog and then build it up more until eventually you are jogging the whole 5km. Now an Obstacle Course Run will be made up of parts of running, parts of jogging and a lot of walking and laughing with friends, you wont have to run the whole course so do not let anyone think that you need to be super fit to get around a course, you don’t, you just have to have the will to complete. You’ve so got this, how do I know this, well you are still reading this blog. It’s not always the big steps but the little ones forwards that contributes to those great strides. If you do not want to do parkrun then, have a look for local running clubs, or if you want me to run with you I offer running coaching.
5. Talk to an experienced PT
A good PT will be able to advise you on the correct exercises to do, they will be able to advise you on a good program to use in the gym. Yes it comes down to cost but if you want results then a PT is a very valuable asset to have in your locker, wouldn’t it be great to show that cocky guy or girl in the office that you can do better than them? That you can smash those monkey bars while they fall in the water. The pleasure you will get from helping them out of the water (I know it’s naughty to say that but it’s true). So when choosing a Personal Trainer, think about your goals and pick a PT with the experience to suit your goals.
So as you can see it’s not incredibly hard to train for an Obstacle Course Run, it’s just about getting fit enough to get around the course, and getting over that finish line. If you want to take it more seriously and be competitive then that’s a different level of training. Keep an eye on future posts for more information on how to train for an Obstacle Course Race.
You’ve so got this, it’s not as daunting as you think, and if you fancy signing up to do a race then come join me at Tough Mudder Half North West in September. It is the 10 km course, so not as crazy as the 20km course but just as fun, plus I’ll be running with you, showing you how to take on each obstacle, offering advice and making sure you get around in one piece. If you fancy signing up then click on this link and say that you are going. Instructions are in the event on how to sign up and join the team.
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