This guest post comes from Jason Fitzgerald over at Strength Running. Jason wrote our original obstacle race training guide. Take it away, Jason!
When I beat nearly 17,000 other people to win a Warrior Dash obstacle race, I was more surprised than anyone.
It was my first obstacle race. I had no experience with any of the obstacles. And I was just having fun!
I didn’t do any specific exercises or or practice any of the obstacles. If you’re wondering how I did it, I’ll show you how to train for Warrior Dash without ANY obstacle experience.
My only goal was to have fun and see if Warrior Dash could live up to the hype. The experience led me to write a free report showing you the same principles that helped me win the race.
Want in? You can download it now, for free.
Warrior Dash Course Report
Most Warrior Dash courses have a narrow start – requiring a strategic start. Get close to the starting line so you don’t get caught behind the hordes of runners behind you, wading through mud and yelling warrior battle cries.
Obstacle courses are typically set up on trails or in enormous grass fields. The uneven footing will slow you down and present its own challenges, so stay vigilant about where you step.
The first obstacle will likely come out of nowhere (seeing around a lot of people is tough!). Take your time; you don’t want to get cut by barbed wire or suffer a running injury from one of the obstacles.
Soon, you’ll realize that the obstacles you’ll face are significant:
- A cargo net stretching two stories high
- A vertical wall with a thin rope to pull yourself to the summit
- Multiple truck tires to jump through
- A concrete tunnel to somehow traverse through
- A cargo net to climb over (don’t get your leg caught!)
- Mud, barbed wire, and fire. Get excited.
Don’t forget the hills! Most obstacle race courses are on an unforgiving series of rolling hills, uneven terrain, and wet grass.
Preparing for an event like this requires a smart approach – here’s how to achieve success.
How to Train for an Obstacle Course Race
Here are the top seven ways to train for an obstacle race:
- Don’t get hurt! Barbed wire and fire are real! Slow down and crawl low enough under (and jump high enough over) these obstacles. Women should wear their hair low but put together so it doesn’t get caught. Make sure you assume all obstacles (like fire, electrically charged wires, or barbed wire) are real.
- Start near the front.Don’t start near the back or you’ll be stuck behind the crowd. Bottlenecks behind obstacles always happen, so get out ahead of everyone else.
- Slow down (seriously).Don’t rush over any of the obstacles. Even though you have to slow down, remember that you can’t continue if you fall off a 15-foot barrier and break your foot.
- Strengthen those muscles!You’ll be a lot faster over the obstacles if you’re strong. You don’t need to bench 300 pounds, but get comfortable with general strength exercises like a good medicine ball workout.
- If you want to run fast, run fast.Let’s remember that to run fast, you have to practice running fast. It’s very helpful to run a variety of paces in your training, whether that’s classic repetition workouts on the track, hill repeats, or fartlek runs
- Become a trail runner. The VAST majority of obstacle race courses are on dirt paths, trails, grass, and other uneven terrain. You’ll be at a huge disadvantage if you’re not ready to run on this type of terrain. Trail running improves your proprioception, balance, agility, and ability to cover uneven terrain more quickly.
- Run more. Always! There’s a reason I beat over 16,000 other runners to win a Warrior Dash and it has nothing to do with my agility, power, or strength. I was simply a stronger runner.
Train like a runner and you’ll dominate any obstacle race you enter.
Train Smart, Race Fast
Don’t be intimidated to enter your first obstacle race. The majority of registrants are more inexperienced than you are – and most obstacle races are completely accessible to anyone with even a small amount of fitness.
But if you want even more ways to train for Warrior Dash (and maybe even win!), check out the free report on obstacle races here.
Here are a few ways to prepare:
- Run a trail race. The uneven terrain and hills will definitely prepare you for any off-road obstacle race.
- A Parkour class will teach you how to run over obstacles quickly.
Obstacle racing is a new and different way to run fast. If you’re bored of traditional road races and need a different challenge, a race like the Warrior Dash might be just the thing to break you out of your rut.
Just remember that runners will always be the top finishers at any obstacle race so train accordingly!
photo: Thatcher Clay
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I respect Jason immensely. However, he didn’t beat 17000 people. You see, anyone who has been to the Warrior Dash knows that the obstacles is where things slow down….a lot. He admits to skipping two of the several obstacles in the race and yet still claims to have beat all those other people. Well, the fact is that on many, if not most, of the obstacles, you can stand waiting your turn for 2-3 minutes at least. On one in particular, called Goliath, I stood for 4 minutes waiting for the croud ahead of me to get across the cargo nets and go down the mud slide. That being said, let’s add say 8 minutes to Jason’s performance and see how he faired.
Again, in honesty, I believe Jason is a knowledgeable athlete and I appreciate all his advice. In fact, he has even given me some personal advice when I’ve been injured and it worked! I just don’t agree with how his claim to fame has come about. Just sayin’. Credibility is everything when you are in the media, it’s a great responsibility many seem to shun.