Adventure Racing Sports

Training For Your First Obstacle Race


Now that you have decided to try obstacle racing it’s time to dive into training. Obstacle runs come in a variety of distances ranging from 5K’s to half marathons and everything in between. Just as you would need to train your cardiovascular system and your legs to handle these classic distances you have the added challenge of overcoming obstacles along the way. Obstacle racing takes muscular strength in addition to cardiovascular fitness.

The Run

To have the cardio vascular fitness needed to complete your event you will want to follow a training plan similar to that of the classic running distance for the race you have chosen. This means you will be running anywhere from 2 days to 5 days a week. In addition to the frequency you will want to make sure you are steadily increasing your mileage to match the distance of your event. The most important run workout that you will do is your long run. Typically reserved for weekends, when you have more time to complete the longer distance. Your long run should build to match the distance you will be covering in race day. Remember to follow safe training principals, do not increase your mileage by more than 10% each week.


An obstacle race is more than just the run. You also need to have the physical strength to concur the obstacles. While every race is different, and many races do not release information on all of their obstacles ahead of time having general strength and fitness should serve you well. That means you will want to train your upper body, core, and lower body to be able to handle climbing over structures, crawling through mud, and busting out burpees like there is no tomorrow. Because the obstacles can be so varied including a wide verity of strength workouts in your training routine is a great way to train your body to handle any surprise the course through at you. From classic strength training with dumbbells and kettlebells to body weight exercises like burpees planks and push-ups, don’t be afraid to mix things up.

Putting it all together

You know you have to be cardiovascularly fit and physically strong, but what does it all come down to in terms of your training plan? The training principle of specificity states that your training should, as closely as possible, mirror your sport. Because you will be expected to perform these feats of strength periodically throughout the run it is best to train the same way. While you can, and should, have some days where you focus purely on strength or running, several workouts a week should include both elements. To build your cardiovascular endurance have your long run workout be your run focused workout, likewise pick another day or two where you are focused only on building strength. For the rest of the week combine your runs with your strength sessions. Take a look at the sample workout below to see how it is done.


Warm up:

Dynamic stretches: worlds greatest stretch and inch worm.

Main Set:

Run 10 minutes

Plank 1 minute

Side Plank Right 1 minute

Side Plank Left 1 minute

Run 10 minutes

Burpees 1 minute

Lunges Right Side 1 minute

Lunges Left Side 1 minute

Run 10 minutes

Push-ups 1 minute

Squats 1 minute

Triceps push-ups 1 minute

Cool Down:

5 min easy jog

Light stretching

Remember this is just a sample workout, get creative, mix it up! You picked an obstacle race so you could have some fun, make sure you bring that element of fun to your training as well!

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About the author

Amber Keech

Amber Keech

Amber Keech is an experienced triathlete, triathlon coach, and group fitness instructor who loves to share her passion for nutrition and fitness with the world. You can get more tips from Amber on how to lead a nourished life at her

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