Obstacle Race Training – Running Tips and Leg Training Ideas


Obstacle course races like Warrior Dash and Tough Mudder have recently burst on the fitness scene. These events are hardcore and wildly popular among both young and middle-aged corporate crowd.

Tough Mudder is one wickedly intense race that will slam your body and test your mental toughness. Imagine 10-12 miles of mud racing as you tackle one killer obstacle after another. Grueling wall climbs, mud crawls, razor sharp barbed wire, tricky rope climbs, fire and water are just some of the barriers to defeat.

Be warned. This punishing race is not for the faint of heart. Obstacle race training is a full body experience, but its not a painful journey.

You must perform beyond what makes sense. Do you have what it takes to compete? If so, check out these tips to help you get ready.

Training is about more than just mud running, it’s about balance, flexibility, and upper and lower body strength training.

Endurance on Long Obstacle Courses

To increase your stamina, start running about 10-12 weeks before. You want to start small and eventually work up to 18-20 miles a week. That is probably 5 miles 4 times a week, which is highly doable. This training will help get your endurance to prepare for a 10-12 mile obstacle race like Tough Mudder.

For additional distance running help, we suggest checking out the industry’s top running site.

Get Legs Ready for Unven Trails

Run off the road on trails and to get used to uneven ground and dodging bushes and branches. Training on dirt, sand and mud will increase strength in your ankles, knees and hips. Find a local park with a hill or a beach with sand. If you do not have this, buy 1-2 pound weights for your legs and run as you normally do.

Getting your ankles and hips conditioned to more lateral movement is essential for successful obstacle course and mud running. Off-road running also improves joint stability. This will prove to be extremely helpful.

Sprint Workouts Help Improve Overall Power

Sprint runs are also important. Sprinting keeps your legs strong and pushing hard between difficult obstacles. Adjust training run times, distances and intensity to develop more aerobic capacity. Running steep hills will boost your agility and endurance which everyone will say is significantly important.

Leg speed and strength is critical for running an obstacle course. Leg strength is developed on trails, while leg speed is developed on roads.

Work on Dexterity

To improve dexterity combine jogging, jumping, and sprints into your training.

Plan to run through muddy water and run while you’re wet. If you have a bike, consider cycling to help develop your quads and glutes. This will give you more power to work your way up sloggy hills.

When running down a hill, run on the balls of your feet to maintain control and keep your speed.

Balance and Flexibility

Find wobbly stumps, and hop from stump to stump without touching the ground. Try walking and running across logs to challenge your balance, dexterity and agility. Maintaining your balance takes training your abdominal muscles to stay vertical when moving across obstacles. Lunges are a good exercise to balance train, and tissue elasticity is vital to performing successful lunges.

Remember to stretch your muscles and tissue to increase flexibility and prevent injury. Use multiple movement workouts to target skills needed to defeat any course obstacles. This will help maximize your stamina and overall coordination.

Increase Upper and Lower Body Strength

To scramble over a wall, up a rope or over a fence you will need to practice pull-ups and push-ups.

Climbing takes significant upper body strength and the ability to grip. To strengthen your grip, practice hanging and performing pull-ups by gripping a rolled towel over a bar.

True Grit

Training is extremely important, but ultimately, your state-of-mind drives your success or failure. Mental grit is essential. Your body will tire, but if your mind screams go, your body will go. Get to know and understand your body. Learn your weaknesses and conquer them, and you will be successful at any ultimate challenge you choose to face.