Don’t be stuck in the mud

Obstacle racing, you know the ones, with mud….lots of mud, are all the rage. Tough Mudder, Spartan race, Total Warrior and HellRunner are a few of the more well-known ones. Whilst the names alone may send a shiver down the spine, they are in fact immensely popular and YMCAfit’s very own Jacob Salt-Berrymen is a keen obstacle racing enthusiast. Here are a few of his top tips if you’re thinking about getting down and dirty.

Let’s start this fairly simply with a three step plan.

Step 1 – Find a race

Step 2 – Find some mates who want in on the action

Step 3 – Get it booked!

Completed steps 1 – 3? Good, now we can begin.

Tip one – Do you need the ‘L’

First question to ask yourself is whether you want to complete or compete – this “l” makes a huge difference to your training plan, your apparel and your mind set for the race. Remember you can compete with a previous time, a group of mates or you can go all out to win it! Once you’ve worked this out you can move onto your training plan.

Tip two – Do your homework

Before devising your training plan, find out some key information about the event. What’s the race all about? Is it obstacle dense or are there long running transitions between the obstacles? What types of obstacles are there? Are they man-made or natural? Find out as much as you can – this will help you to make your training as race specific as possible.

Tip three – Target your weaknesses

Now armed with all the facts analyse your own strengths and weaknesses in relation to what the race will throw at you. Your first stage of the training plan should look to address some of your weaker areas whilst maintaining your strengths. Not so hot on running? Start putting in a couple of runs a week for a mile or so – nothing huge – just to get the ball rolling. Not so keen on the upper body strength? Incorporate classic body weight exercises into your training plan, a dynamic warm up followed by one or two exercises per body part done as a circuit which is repeated a couple of times is all you need. Make sure the exercises tire out the key muscles that you are targeting.

Tip four – Know your level

Lastly, be honest with your sessions. If you have just returned to exercise after a long time away, charging into six sessions may not be the best idea. Pitching your session frequency and volume too high too soon will result in one or more of the following: injury, burnout or failure to adhere to the plan past the end of the first week.

So whether you are a first-timer or a veteran I hope you find this post useful in prepping you for your next race. There will be more posts to come from me, so keep an eye on this blog for more.

See you in the mud!


You might also be interested in the other blog posts in the obstacle racing series: Step up to get resultsKeeping your eyes on the prize and Race day.

About the author
Jacob Salt-Berrymen is a philosophy graduate, personal trainer, regular triathlete and enthusiastic obstacle racer. As a Fitness Tutor for YMCAfit - the UK's leading activity for health charity - Jacob specialises in outdoor fitness, suspension training, and anatomy and physiology. You can read more from Jacob in his Central YMCA Guide Run, Jump, Climb and Crawl.

ymca | 27 May 2014