January 14, 2013
Ever heard of the “Spartan Death Race”?
You can click here for an Endurance Planet audio interview with the Spartan Death Race race director Joe DeSana and get filled in on the nitty-gritty details, but here's the cliff notes:
“There are millions of running races, thousands of marathons, hundreds of triathlons and dozens of ultramarathons but there is only one Spartan Death Race. Held annually since 2005 in the small town of Pittsfield, VT, the Spartan Death Race gives up to 200 ultra-endurance athletes the chance to test their mental and physical prowess like no other event on earth. On average only 15% of the competitors finish the event. Remarkable when you consider the competitors are among the toughest and most seasoned endurance athletes on earth. The hurdle and challenge-driven race requires competitors to complete a series of (15-20) grueling mental and physical challenges throughout a 40-mile course that runs through the Vermont woods. During the Death Race, competitors may be asked to chop wood for 2-hours, carry a 20-lb stump around for hours, lift 10-30 lbs rocks for 5-hours; build a fire, cut a bushel of onions, crawl through mud under barbed wire, or after 20-hours of racing, memorize the names of the first 10 U.S. Presidents or a Bible verse, hike to the top of a mountain and recite them back in order.
Unlike other endurance races that offer a detailed map, Death Racers have no idea what to expect next as the course map and list of challenges are kept secret. This provides competitors with one of their biggest challenges as the length of the race can range from 24-48 hours. For an endurance athlete, not knowing where the light is at the end of the tunnel can be sheer torture.”
So maybe the death race isn't for you, but you're still considering jumping into your local, relatively innocent obstacle race.
I got news for you: you still gotta be ready for some physical and mental curveballs.
So today's guest post by Joe Vennare of Race Day Domination tells you exactly how to be ready for your Obstacle Race, Mud Run, Spartan Race or Tough Mudder, and gives you a sample obstacle course race workout.
Take it away Joe…
The Ultimate Guide to Get Ready for an Obstacle Race, Mud Run, Spartan Race or Tough Mudder
Combining elements of adventure racing, trail running and a military challenge courses, obstacle races like Tough Mudder and the Spartan Race have sparked a recreation revolution. Instead of participating in a local 5k as a means of getting fit or socializing with friends, an increasing number of people are turning to obstacle racing for their fitness and amusement fix.
If you're looking for an exciting event that offers a daunting physical challenge, then you can follow this handy post to prepare for your obstacle course race.
Selecting a Race
Races vary with respect to distance, difficulty and level of competition. Whether you are looking for a good time or a challenging workout, you can choose between a race that is a party among friends or another that is a grueling test of physical abilities. Spend some time looking into the different races, becoming familiar with the race course, various obstacles and components of the event, before completing your registration.
Obstacle racing is different than the average 5k or marathon. Think more along the lines of an adventure race with muddy trails and military style obstacles. Be prepared for sprinting, climbing, jumping, crawling and in some instances swimming. To train for this type of event, focus your training on strength, cardiovascular stamina and hybrid fitness.
To take on the challenges encountered during a race you need to be able to transport your own body weight over, under, around or through obstacles. Building strength relative to your body weight by using functional and dynamic movements is most beneficial. Body weight exercises such as push-ups, triceps dips, pull-ups and squats can be used to create a foundation of strength. Then include athletic and explosive movements such as kettlebell swings, jump squats, burpees and box jumps will help improve balance and leg strength.
Obstacle racing requires a solid base of cardiovascular fitness. Running long distances is not essential because these races tend to take place in bursts or intervals, varying between running and the obstacles. To improve this type of cardiovascular fitness, include 2-3 days of run specific workouts into your training program. Look to include one long run, high intensity sprints and hills climbs.
Combine strength training and cardiovascular workouts into one hybrid training session by pairing sprints with push-ups. Train grip strength by completing farmer’s walks, transport an awkward or heavy object using a weighted sled or improve wear a weighted vest during a workout to improve leg and core strength.
Training for an obstacle race is a fun way to get in shape and stay motivated. Whether you are searching for a competitive outlet or camaraderie, you are sure to benefit from the sense of accomplishment that comes with achieving a new and unique goal.
A Sample Obstacle Course Race Workout
Using the methods described above, here's what an obstacle course race workout would look like:
Dynamic warm-up, then –
Repeat up to 3 times as a circuit, with minimal rest.
Race Day Essentials
When race day rolls around, you don’t want you forgetting anything. Use these checklists to make sure you have everything you need to dominate your race.
What to Wear
- You are going to get dirty and probably trash your clothes. Wear clothing, shoes, and gear that you wouldn’t mind discarding after the race.
- If you plan to compete like an athlete, plan to dress like one. Consider compression shorts, tights, tops, and/or socks. Cotton and baggy clothing is a bad choice. It will slow you down and get snagged on obstacles.
- Race in something you have trained in. Don’t wear something straight out of the box.
- Opt for trail running or off-road shoes.
- Consider athletic or weight lifting gloves to help with grip and to protect your hands.
What to Bring
- Hydration pack
- Knee, elbow, or leg protection, pads, or compression sleeves
- Athletic or medical tape
- Watch and/or heart rate monitor
- Bring a change of clothes, towel, and toiletries to be warm and dry for the post race party
- Have some extra cash on hand for food and merchandise
- Enjoy the race and post-race activities
Dominate Your Race
If you preparing to take on an obstacle course race or mud run then you need to check out Race Day Domination. It’s the only fitness program designed specifically for obstacle racers and mud runners. Race Day Domination features 24 weeks of detailed workouts full of high-intensity strength and cardio that will train you to go over around or through any obstacle you encounter.
Here's a Race Day Domination video that tells you more:
So what about YOU? Are you signed up for an obstacle race? Have you done one before and have a gory story to tell? Share your thoughts below for bragging rights.