Muddy Mayhem: The Rise Of Obstacle Course Racing

What better way to spend a weekend than to crawl in the mud under barbed wire? Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Obstacle Course Racing Tips

For Competitors
Looking to race, not just to finish, in an obstacle race? Here are some tips to keep you in the competitive mix:

— Start early. Many obstacle races start in waves. If you’re interested in competing, put yourself in one of the first, if not the first, waves, as that’s where you’ll find the more serious racers. That also helps cut down on the crowds around the obstacles, so you won’t waste valuable seconds waiting for your turn.

— Break it up. It’s easy to stay focused in an obstacle race because there’s usually another challenge facing you as soon as you finish the last. So it may be a cliché, but take the race one obstacle at a time.

— Find your peeps. Just like in the more traditional road races, you’ll want to work your way to the front of your wave. Look for quiet, zoned-in people with runners’ physiques. They will help pace you to the end.

— Not so fast. Don’t take the obstacles so fast that you slip and hurt yourself.

— Don’t be a jerk. Don’t yell at others or shove someone out of the way just to save some time. Obstacle races, no matter how serious you take them, are still supposed to be fun.

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For Beginners
Is this your first time? Here are some key tips to get you to the finish:

— Play on the playground. A little practice on those jungle gyms will get you ready for the obstacles, which in some ways aren’t much different.

— Develop “grip” strength. Simple strength exercises, such as pull-ups and pushups, will help you tackle the obstacles.

— Don’t forget the fitness. Strength training is important, but ultimately you’ll do as well as your fitness will allow. Make sure to build a good base of fitness, and yes, running is probably the best exercise for these races.

— Do intervals. At least once a week, get your heart rate up, and keep it up, through high-intensity, short bursts of exercise. This mimics what you’ll face in an obstacle race, and it will make you fitter.

— Pick a well-known race. There are dozens of mud and obstacle races out there, but they vary in quality. For your first one, it’s not a bad idea to pick a well-known brand so you know what you’re getting. Scroll through event photos online to get an idea of what kind of obstacles each race has in store.

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