Fitness Tips & Advice

So You Want To Obstacle Race

February 6, 2014

It’s hard to believe with temperatures being at -30 this week that summer will soon be here. But it will and that means the obstacle race season will be upon us! Obstacle races, such as Mud Hero, Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and more are gaining in popularity each year. They are a great way to challenge yourself and have a ton of fun with your friends.

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I’ve been doing obstacle races for three years now. This summer I’m already registered for the Mud Hero here in Red Deer which will mark my 7th obstacle race. As a veteran, I’m often asked for training tips and advice from first timers, so I thought I would share with everyone my advice on running an obstacle race.

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Don’t worry about your fitness ability!
You don’t need to be the fittest person on earth to run an obstacle race. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete, or just beginning your fitness journey, anyone can participate and finish the race. No one said you had to be able to run the full distance, you can walk the whole thing and do the obstacles if you really want! Plus, most obstacles will have an easier option and if you can’t complete or fair to complete an obstacle there may be a penalty (a time penalty or burpees). It’s really no big deal. I like to remind people that don’t think they can run these kinds of races that I ran one at seven and eight months pregnant and then again a few months post-partum (and post c-section surgery). Everyone on course is super motivating and encouraging and there will always be someone willing to help you on an obstacle if you need it. The camaraderie surrounding these races is what makes them so awesome to be a part of! 

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Dress for it
Don’t show up to the starting line in brand new workout gear and shoes and expect them to be in mint condition by the time you cross the finish line. These races usually have you running, jumping and crawling through mud. You want to wear something lightweight, that won’t hold the water and mud. I like to wear a pair of longer running shorts (to avoid the chaffing!) and an older Lululemon running tank. You want to avoid too loose of clothing that could get caught up on any obstacles. Footwear is tricky because you want something you will be able to run in but something that you don’t mind getting dirty and possibly tossing plus something that has a decent grip. Personally, I wear my Vibram Five Fingers. They are comfortable, have decent grip and I can just rinse them off and toss them in the washing machine to wash. Some races have areas where you can donate your muddy, unwanted shoes for charity which is a great idea too!

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Have fun!
This is the most important point. These races should just be about having a good time and enjoying the experience. Don’t worry about whether you can complete all the obstacles or run the whole distance without stopping. Just grab your buddies, get muddy and remember one of the funnest days of your life! 

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If you want some ideas for how to get started for training for an obstacle race, check out the Obstacle Race Trainer app, check SpartanRace.com for their daily Spartan WODs and watch for some local gyms running training classes.

I hope to see all of you out at the Mud Hero this August!!

If you have any other questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments!
Ran an obstacle race before? What’s your number one tip! 

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Sara
    February 6, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    What a great post! I’ve done the spartan race twice and enjoyed it both times, however, probably wont do it this year (they really could stand to change up the location of the calgary one, just to make it more exciting for repeat runners)…maybe I’ll think about Mud Hero!

  • Reply
    A. Parent
    February 7, 2014 at 8:55 am

    If you can’t or don’t want to participate as an athlete, why not volunteer? These races rely on volunteers to make them successful. Plus it’s a great way to meet people.

    • Reply
      Becky
      February 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

      That’s true. I touched on volunteering in my Mud Hero recap blog last year.

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