A First-Timer’s Guide to Obstacle Run Training

As the warmer months approach, Texas is going to be filled with 5Ks, fun runs, and obstacle runs all over the place, and if you’re planning to give one a try, I’ve got some tips to help you get ready. Whether you’re running through mud, climbing across cargo nets or dodging balls launched at you, obstacle runs can be a ton of fun — but half the fun comes from getting your body ready for the challenge.

Getting ready for your first obstacle run can be exciting, but don’t let that rush fool you. There’s a lot that goes into proper preparation, and if you’re a first timer you may want to ease your way in by choosing an obstacle run that’s more fun and less “Super-Soldier-Survival-Challenge.” Even the runs designed to have fun offer plenty of ways to challenge yourself, and make great memories with your friends. Here are five tips to help you get ready for the big day.

Rework Your Workout

If you’re training for an obstacle run then you’ll need to rethink your routine. Your daily workouts are great for general health and wellness goals, but obstacle runs are great at pushing your body to work in new ways that you probably aren’t training for — until now. Getting ready for this season’s challenge will likely mean more focus on upper-body conditioning and agility. Don’t take this as an excuse to ignore leg day. I depending on the types of obstacles your run will feature, I would suggest focusing on balance, core development and general mobility to make sure that you’re prepared for whatever they throw your way. Finding a good balance between each of these and remembering to take your rest days can help improve your endurance — and trust me, you’ll need the endurance.

Rack Your Weights

You don’t always need to hit the weights to get ready for an obstacle run. Mixing in a day of exercises that only utilize your body weight will do a lot to mimic the types of challenges you’ll face in the obstacle run. Calisthenics can be a game changer in your routine to push you physically and mentally, and the results will shine well beyond the day of your obstacle run. If you think your weightless workout is too easy, consider investing in a Hyperwear Hyper Vest Elite. This weighted vest is designed to stay snug to the body and can add up to 20 pounds to your body. It’s also made to be breathable and odor-resistant so you won’t have to worry about trapping sweat in.

Cardio is Key

If you’re like me, you hate the thought of cardio, but know that it’s critical to success, especially if your obstacle run is a 5k. The only problem is, most obstacle runs and 5ks aren’t one steady pace, so going into autopilot on the treadmill isn’t going to work. Instead, hop on a treadmill at your Planet Fitness and make use of the various presents and the include button. These can help push your body and maximize your cardio training.

Take it Outside

I know I recommended getting into your local Planet Fitness, and it’s still the smart move, but I’m almost certain that your obstacle run won’t take place in a gym — or indoors at all. Get outside and get used to training in the elements. Running on grass and dirt is worlds different than a perfectly smooth treadmill. Run on trails in your area, workout in the park, or even just go through a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session in your backyard. This is also a great opportunity to get a friend involved too, so have some fun while you’re gearing up for your obstacle run!

Have Fun

Half the fun of any obstacle run is working hard with — or against — your friends to do something awesome. Either way, grab your friends and make the most of your obstacle run by sharing the journey to get there. Seeing each other’s progress and helping each other push past boundaries can strengthen your friendships and make lasting memories. But remember that it’s perfectly fine to ease up when you need to. When it’s time for the obstacle run, go at your own pace and appreciate your experience.

Nick Bailey is a forward thinking journalist with a well-rounded skill set unafraid to take on topics head on. He now resides in Austin, TX and continues to create content on a daily basis.