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A Quick Guide to Obstacle Race Training for First-Timers

muddy feet and hands climbing a wall
This obstacle race training guide will have you ready to scale walls while covered in mud just in time for your first jaunt around the course.

by Autumn Jones

If you hear the call to run through the mud, propel yourself over sky-high walls, and maneuver across a cargo net Tarzan style, then you're ready to sign up for your first obstacle race! But registering is only beginning — being ready for the big day means creating a plan for obstacle race training that prepares your body and mind appropriately.

Gearing up for your first run through the course can be exhilarating, but don't let enthusiasm mislead you. If you've never tried one, you may want to ease into your first race by choosing one that caters to beginners. This means finding one that's on the shorter side with obstacles that are designed with first-timers in mind. Even a beginner race offers plenty of challenges and opportunities to push yourself, and the bottom line of this experience is to have a blast with your friends while getting in a good workout!

A Quick Guide to Obstacle Race Training

Rethink Your Routine

Obstacle race training should differ from your regular workout routine. According to Men's Health, obstacle races require a specific type of strength and mobility that you may not use in your everyday exercise regimen. Developing these abilities will likely mean training for the run portion of the race, spending extra time on upper-body conditioning, andusing weights to strengthen your body from head to toe.

Balancing your cardio and strength training — and remembering to take much-needed rest days in between — can help you establish the endurance you'll need to rock your first obstacle race.

Maximizing Cardio

Sure, running on the treadmill can help keep your cardio on point, but obstacle race training calls for a treadmill workout that will keep your body guessing. Changing speeds and taking advantage of that incline button are great ways to get your body ready for race day!

Go Weight-Less

Sub in your body in place of free weights by mixing in a no-equipment workout at least once a week. This will more closely mimic the types of obstacles you'll be encountering on the course! This may also help you increase your mental strength, which you'll likely need to get through a race!

Train Off-Road

Take advantage of the fresh air and move your training session outdoors. A park, a field, or even your own backyard can all be great locations for training. You'll be racing in the elements, so why not embrace training in them as well?

Remember to Have Fun!

Obstacle races are all about teamwork and working together to achieve something awesome! Grab a buddy that wants to participate, and train and tackle it together! Having fun, enjoying the event with a friend, and helping each other along the way should be more important than breaking records. Just remember to go at your own pace — it's OK to walk at times. Even skipping an obstacle is totally fine! You're there to take in the scenery, get some exercise, and take part in a lively community of fitness lovers!

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.