How to Prepare: A Week of Obstacle Race Training

So your buddy convinced you to sign up for an obstacle race and you have no idea how to train for this event. Tell me, does your plan look anything like this, run a couple days a week while doing the same old strength routine, topped off with some P90X for good measure?  Sure, this plan might get you through the race. But by the time you stagger across the finish line your buddies, your girlfriend and all of her friends will be taking in the post race party, well into their third adult beverage. Do yourself a favor, ditch the beach body workout and train like a hybrid athlete who has the strength, stamina and race skills that will allow you to dominate on race day.

The Obstacle Race Essentials  

Run: Complete at least 2 run workouts per week.  Choose from run workouts that include a long run, hill sprints, intervals or a tempo run.

Strength: Use bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups can be used to create a foundation of strength. Next, kettlebell swings and explosive movements like jump squats, burpees, and box jumps will help improve balance and leg strength.

Race Skills:  To train the skills that will help during the race by training to improve athleticism and all around fitness. Try mixing running intervals or sled pushes with strength based exercises. Train outdoors in a setting similar to the race. Find some oversized tires to flip, carry or throw around.

The Plan

Program a week of training to focus on the essentials; running, strength and race skills.

Monday:  Strength

  • Perform 5×5 of Deadlift, Squat OR Leg Press
  • Then, perform this circuit as many times as you can in 15 minutes
  • 10x Burpee, 20x Kettlebell Swing, 10x Dumbbell Plank Row (each arm)

Tuesday:  Run

  • Set out to cover a moderate distance at an up-tempo pace; 3-5 miles is ideal.

Wednesday: Strength

  • Perform 5×5 of Push-press, Military Press or Bent-over Row
  • Then, 20-2 by 2 of (20 of each, 18 of each, 16 of each…2 of each)
  • Box jump, push-up, step-up, pull-up or inverted row (strict, no kipping), weighted sit-up

Thursday: Run

  • Think speed and explosion today.
  • Pick one:  Run intervals at the track 8-10 x 400 meters, 8-10 x 90 second hill repeats OR 8-10 x 100 meter sprints w/60 seconds climbing stadium stairs

Friday: OFF

Saturday: Skills or Long Run

  • Today, run longer than you did Wednesday at a conversational pace -OR-
  • Get out all of your fitness toys and combine sprints, kettlebell swings, sled pushes/pulls, tire flips, farmer’s carry and bear crawl into one workout.

Try this:

  • 3-5 Rounds
  • Weighted Sled Push @ 50 yards
  • Run 400m
  • 20x Kettlebell Swing
  • Weighted Sled Pull @ 50 yards
  • Run 400m
  • 20x KB Thruster
  • Weighted Sled Bear Crawl @ 50 yards
  • Run 400m
  • 20x KB Swings
  • Weighted Sled Backwards Drag
  • Run 400m
  • 20x KB Thruster

Sunday: OFF

Joe VennareJoe Vennare is a successful entrepreneur and accomplished fitness professional. As the co-founder of Hybrid Athlete, Joe designs innovative fitness programming for endurance, multi-sport, and obstacle course athletes. As co-creator of Kettlebell Cardio, Joe presents instructional workshops for this nationally recognized kettlebell program and instructor certification. In addition to his professional pursuits, Joe is also a sponsored endurance athlete competing in triathlon, ultra-marathon, and adventure racing. Joe’s motivation to train and compete in endurance sports is fueled by a desire to test his physical abilities and mental toughness.

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