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    MAhammer's Avatar
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    Best way to train for obstacle races?

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    Hi everybody, I have been reading a lot on this forum and it seems like a good place to ask a fitness question. I appreciate the health first view of Mark and members here, so I want to ask this question in that same light. I have recently discovered I love doing obstacle course races like spartan race, warrior dash, tough mudder etc. although I have only done a few so far. My question is, what is the best, healthiest way to train for this type of event? If you go to the spartan race website they post a free WOD every day and it is supposedly to get you ready for their races. It is a mix of intervals with running, burpees, (they are big on these) planks, bear crawls and so on. Its kind of like the cross fit WODs but no Olympic lifting.
    I wasn't sure if this was a good way to go about it, there is quite a bit of mileage in the running and you workout pretty much every day if you follow the WOD. anyway, thats just as example of what they offer, im not asking if I should follow the WOD just what you guys think is the best way to train and be healthy so you can be competitive at obstacle racing.
    thank you!

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    Dirlot's Avatar
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    It makes sense to follow that type of training which will help with the obstacles.

    If you running a race you need to train by running. That can be a mixture of sprints but at some point you will have to do the distance.
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    spartan WODs are pretty good. i spent a month doing them almost daily and got a lot out of it. they have ok variety, but don't really get into enough exercises that prepare you for some of the obstacles...particularly the climbing ones. they will increase your conditioning, however.
    i recommend trying their WOD 2-3 days per week (not tuesdays...those are always written for a gym, instead of workouts you can do outside), and spend a couple of weeks putting yourself in situations you've encountered at former races (climb ropes, trees, carry things, throw things, etc.).

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    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
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    It really does depend on the specific demands on the event but you generally can't go too far wrong if you focus on getting good at running, climbing, crawling and dragging stuff. I wrote an article on Sandbag Training for Tough Mudder in a UK magazine a couple of months back:

    Sandbag Fitness: Sandbag Training For Tough Mudder

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    MAhammer's Avatar
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    hey guys thanks for the quick responses! Rob, actually I kind of have been doing what you suggested, doing the wods 3 days a week. The other days I do slow movement, stretching, running and a strength workout. last time it was barbells, the week before that sandbags, I like sandbags.

    My concern is that my approach may be too random for optimum results but I agree a mixed and varied approach is best.

    I do need to work on crawling and climbing, and more sandbag stuff, coach, I like your workout for tough mudder, I am going to use it this week.

    I like the idea of having a loosely defined idea about my training schedule, ala PBF. When i get too strict in my workouts, I just quit that plan and look for something else.
    so with that in mind,

    2 or 3 days per week spartan WOD
    slow movement and yoga on rest days
    one day per week of distance running
    1 or 2 days of obstacle training (sandbag strength work, climbing ropes, carrying stuff, crawling, etc.)
    1 sprint day per week

    some of these things may overlap like I might do a spartan WOD in the morning and a sprint that night. What do you guys think?

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    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
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    Good luck with the workout! You should bear in mind that a lot of WOD-type things and even the workout I posted can be classed as sprints so just make sure that you're not doing too much.

    Nothing wrong with a loosely defined approach to training either but it's still sensible to monitor progress in some way.

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    MAhammer's Avatar
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    Right Coach, excellent point. Maybe I need to reel myself in a little bit so I don't crash and burn. And I agree that I do need to monitor progress, I was just thinking about my problem with this today. The question is how do I do it when my routine is so all over the place? Do I need to have consistent exercises I do that will build strength or whatever attribute and then have some "play" workouts for fun? I dont know, the more I study exercise, the less I know.

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    Coach Palfrey's Avatar
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    I would just include an infrequent testing session based around the broad competencies that you want to measure - perhaps something every 2 months or so. You might include things like a 1 mile time trial, max pull ups, max deadlift etc etc. Or you can simply base improvement on actual performance in your events.

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    MAhammer's Avatar
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    not a bad idea at all coach! i really like that idea, why havent I done that before? Yeah two months sounds a little long to me, maybe ill do it every month to see where im at on the broadest categories of skill i will need. Your suggestions have been very helpful thank you!

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