EXCLUSIVE: Training Plan for Obstacle Races like the Warrior Dash

mud run

A client came to me not long ago and said she was planning to do a Warrior Dash event with her daughter. She wanted to know if I thought she could do it. Would she be able to participate with knees that didn’t let her run very fast or very long?

My response was the running was the least of her concerns when it came to an obstacle course type of race. I told her I wasn’t worried about her at all because I knew she was strong, fit and capable. I knew months of functional fitness training (plus clean eating!) would get her through the race just fine.

Her concern was indicative of the mistake most people make when they sign for a Warrior Dash or a Tough Mudder. They focus on covering the distance and not the obstacles that will be in their path. Working on leg endurance should be part of your training program, but it’s important to balance it with body weight training. If you are training for your first Warrior Dash, here’s a five-exercise workout I recommend to help you prepare for the challenges you’ll face:

  1. Mountain Climbers: You many not be climbing an actual mountain but you will be climbing. Using your hip flexors and core will be key in tackling walls and crawling challenges like Road Rage.
  2. TRX Row: I love using suspension trainers to practice pulling a client’s own body weight. The exercise can be made more challenging by taking your body lower and more parallel to the ground.
  3. Box jumps: You need to practice jumping and landing safely. Try both jumping up on the box and jumping off a box or step to the ground.
  4. T – Push up: Between every push up, rotate your body to a side plank or “T” position. Not only are you strengthening your push muscles but you’re developing core strength and body control.
  5. Step Ups: Use a weight bench or park bench (not an aerobic step) to practice keeping your balance while climbing up. Don’t use any weights but climb up and down at a brisk pace to challenge your heart as well.

I recommend doing all of these exercises in a circuit, starting with a ratio of 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of rest. As you get closer to race day, decrease the work ratio increase the rest ratio until you work for the entire minute and only rest after all 5 exercises have been completed. Do this workout for up to 5 rounds.

Don’t forget to test out your race day attire and fuel. Check out my favorite energy bars for a pre workout/pre race snack!

Have you recently completed a Warrior Dash? What do you wish you had included in your training plan?

 Image by Leena Robinson / Shutterstock.com

Also Read:

Mud Runs Explode in Popularity Even Among the Sedentary

Get Down and Dirty at Pretty Muddy, a Women-Only Obstacle Mud Run

A Beginner’s Guide to Strength Training

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