RaceThread.com: Training Tips for an Obstacle Race

Top Training Tips for an Obstacle Race and Mud Run

August 27th, 2017

It is important to train well before you even think of participating in an obstacle race. Crossing the finish line triumphantly is not an easy accomplishment. However, there are several training strategies to help you do at your best for guaranteeing a spectacular performance. Obstacle races comprise of complex physical challenges since there are so many activities going on in a single event. For this, you do not need to be a super-athlete, but a tough competitor who is not hesitant to give his 100% in a race. These are a few key obstacle race training tips:  

1.     Assess Your Needs

Your training will revolve around the kind of race you are going to participate in. Evaluate your needs by asking these questions:

  • Is the obstacle race you are planning to complete short or long?
  • Have you previously run that distance before?
  • Are you in good physical shape?
  • Do you possess enough upper body strength?
  • What is your overall agility level? 


Before you begin the training process, you must identify your strengths and weaknesses along with the nature of the obstacle race. This will help you set realistic goals for you to train accordingly. If you are a professional runner or athlete, you must give yourself 6 to 8 weeks of training. For a newbie or an amateur, 12 to 16 weeks is an appropriate training period. This is one of the most important obstacle race training tips as it helps you determine how much time you need for training.

2.     Running Practice

Undeniably, running is the most important component of this training. Irrespective of your particular event, leave plenty of time to build your stamina with long runs and significant weekly mileage. It will be immensely helpful to practice your long run for at least six miles. You cannot rush this and you will have to build your mileage gradually. The only way to get there is to run every day and accomplish your mileage goal. When you are able to run the distance without injuring yourself, the four runs to practice for are:

  • Long runs
  • Intervals
  • Hills
  • Easy aerobic

3.     Build Your Total Body Strength

All athletes must be capable of navigating the obstacles easily. This skill is mastered through training. However, it also requires substantial physical strength. No need to be a heavy-weight champion. By strength, we mean you must build enough muscles to get you through the race and overcome obstacles without fatigue. Stick to a good exercise regime and do at least a few pull-ups, 30 to 50 squats, 30 pushups and as many planks as you can do, every day. 


This general strength will help you run up steep hills and leap over obstacles. Some basic weightlifting exercises, including weighted carries and dead-lifts, are helpful too. This is also one of the crucial obstacle race training tips, as your choice of exercise will determine your strength and endurance.

4.     Train the Same Way As You Perform In the Race

This will give you a more focused approach towards training. The closer you can replicate the training to the physical requirements of the actual race, the better trained you will be for the race.

  • Consider incorporating these ideas into your training session.
  • Run as much as possible on trails to create the terrain of an obstacle race. This can include hills, rocks, and mud, etc.
  • Run hills for building strength and endurance. Practice a cross-country race, which will probably include both trails and hills..
  • Continue doing some intense workouts that will be helpful when you change gears and run at different speeds.

The minute you get to the starting line, you will know if you are mentally or physically prepared or not. Don’t let nerves overwhelm you on the big day. When your training simulates the actual race, you are trained better and are mentally prepared to replicate the same results during the race.

5.     Grip Training         

Finally, some grip training is crucial for preparing for the big event. Grip endurance can be taken care of with normal strength work, such as dead lifts or pull-ups. However, what you really need is high rep work to build an impressive level of grip endurance for a good performance. A short set of ten reps will do little good for your grip training.  


6.     Learn To Be Competitive

Endurance, strength and the willingness to perform your best are rooted in a strong competitive instinct. Training with a partner or in a group will help you learn how to train and be competitive at the same time. Do dynamic stretches, mobility drills and flexibility exercises to possess an extensive range of motion in all of your joints. Include jumping and crawling practice, whether it’s during strength workouts or runs. Find a place to practice climbing with a partner and you will have a training companion who will push your capabilities to the fullest.


All fit and healthy individuals who are strong enough to compete in an obstacle race have a fair chance of winning it if they follow these obstacle race training tips. In case you are still hesitant, remind yourself that plenty of people who take part in these races aren’t professionals or super-athletes. Your performance largely depends on how much fun you are having during the race by overcoming stress and the training you have endured prior to the big day. 

Keywords: obstacle race training tips

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