Obstacle racing is the latest craze in extreme sports. The past few years have seen an explosion in the growth of this new trend, with different types of races popping up across the U.S. In 2011, approximately one million people registered for various obstacle races, with the Tough Mudder as the most popular. Obstacle races are sports with physical obstacles scattered throughout. Training for these races can be tricky, as it involves a more complex approach than a normal race. The best approach involves a healthy diet, exercise and participation in smaller races to start.
The core component of your preparation involves a scheduled exercise routine. Your routine will vary depending on your physical condition and goals for the race. If you are serious about getting prepared, consult with a personal trainer for an evaluation and a customized workout plan. Understand that you will need a balance of endurance, cardio and total body strength exercises. In addition to running a long distance, you will be scaling walls, performing army crawls and contorting your body throughout the race. Flexibility is important, so be sure to work in plenty of stretching.
Exercise alone will not lead you to your goals. Whether you are interested in slimming down, bulking up or just fueling you’re routine – you need to have a disciplined diet. Looking online is a good place to start, but understand that everyone’s body functions in unique ways. For the best results, you’ll want to discuss your diet with a certified dietician who has experience with sports training. If you bring notes on what you generally eat, and what you are interested in trying, it will help the experience. Their recommendations may include whey protein, cutting out carbs or taking military grade supplements. Protein and vitamin supplements are both staples for extreme training regimens.
Before attempting any of the longer races, be sure to sign up for a few of the short ones. This will serve several purposes. First, it will inject some variety into your training. Hitting the gym and running outside can become monotonous both mentally and physically. A varied workout will keep you mentally engaged, while working different muscles to strengthen your body. Shorter races can also serve to prepare you for some of the obstacles you may not have anticipated. Try signing up for a one mile or 5K race before attempting Tough Mudder. Finally, certain races require a pre-qualification, such as a low time on a smaller course, so make sure you read the site thoroughly before committing.
When you’ve finished your training, and it’s time for race day – have fun. Obstacle racing is a test of endurance and physical prowess, but it is also about enjoying yourself.
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Jake Alexander is an avid blogger who enjoys writing about health and fitness. Follow him @JakeAlexander17.