Training for Obstacle Course Races

I will begin this post by clearly stating that I am no expert on obstacle course races (OCR), nor am I a personal trainer!  I'm just an average girl who really loves to push her limits and see what she can do.  Last year, I did 3 OCR, including Tough Mudder and this year I'm signed up for Tough Mudder again and Super Spartan.  I will probably add a few smaller ones too by the end of the year....what can I say, I really do love OCR!  

So that being said, I thought I'd share with you a few tips that helped me complete (read: SURVIVE) Tough Mudder last year and what I plan to do in these next 2 months leading to my obstacle course races in April.

  • Eat Clean!  They say a good workout can't out-exercise a bad diet and I really believe this.  I've noticed that when I allow myself a lot of "cheat meals" my workouts suffer.  I'm more sluggish and slow and of course, I don't see the results I want.  So, eating clean in the month(s) leading up to your OCR will help you get lean & strong! 
  • Focus on Building Upper Body Strength!  This was huge for me.  Most of us ladies tend to have weaker upper body strength and a lot, if not most, of the obstacles you'll encounter will require strong arms.  Army man crawling, pulling yourself up walls & ropes, monkey bars, etc.. these all require strong upper body strength.  Find a workout that is best for you and work on getting those muscles!  Push ups, tricep dips, and pull ups (Disclaimer: I have yet to master 1 pull up.  It's on my to-do list!)
  • Run!  You're not training for a marathon, but you should be able to run at least 3 miles nonstop.  Work on sprints and hills to really get those legs ready for the 10 + mile course.  
  • Interval Training!  You'll be doing all sorts of things on an OCR from jumping over fire, crawling under barbed wire, and balancing on boards.  You'll have to build up your endurance and agility.  Tabata, HIIT, Boot Camps, these are all great examples of high intensity training.  Get lots of lunges, high knees, mountain climbers, and frog hops done! 
  • Burpees!  I don't know anyone who loves a burpee, but everyone agrees they get the job done.  And if you're planning on doing a Spartan race, just know that the penalty for not completing an obstacle is 30 burpees..Yikes!!
  • Stretch!  Don't forget to stretch after your runs and workouts!  This will aid in recovery, flexibility, and help prevent injury!  

Also, do some research and check out what you're up against.  Go to YouTube and look for videos of the OCR you'll be doing, specifically in your city.  This will help you visualize what you're going to be facing and get you pumped up!  Tough Mudder has this great Boot Camp Training on their website where you can build your own workout circuit based on your fitness level and it's designed to get you through their toughest obstacles!  I'd also recommend checking out a training facility in your town.  We have Camp Rhino here in Las Vegas and it rocks.  We went last year and plan to go again this year.  They have a beginners class where you can try out the obstacles, plus they give you tips and techniques for conquering the race.  Lastly, have fun training :)

So, which OCR are you signed up for?  I'd love hear about it and how you're training!