By Leslie Kos, Performance Personal Trainer
Sweat, mud, barbed wire and electrocution… sounds fun, right? I agree, not really. But how about pushing yourself past your known mental and physical limits with help from teammates and strangers, along with a free t-shirt and beer? That’s more like it! The fitness world has seen a rise in these crazy obstacle courses over the past few years with events such as The Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash and Mud Runs.
It seems as though the number one question when signing up for one of these courses is related to the training you must do before. The biggest challenge a person faces when training, is not knowing what or how to train. Many of the obstacles are kept a secret right up until the event. So here is my advice; keep your body guessing. Each person has their own strengths and weaknesses so find your weakness and push yourself to become stronger.
Running is a sure thing you must be able to do when participating, but not the only thing. These courses use the obstacles to break up the run and confuse the body. So do the same for your training. HIIT or high intensity interval training is a type of training which promotes short burst of anaerobic activity followed by short rest periods. It is simply spiking your heart rate up for a short time, then allowing yourself to recover before doing it again. This is much like how your body will react to an obstacle course.
It is important to warm-up before any type of training. A good warm-up will have you sweating and feeling stretched out. After an appropriate warm-up, here are some example of workouts to help prepare for your event. Jump on a treadmill or go outside and begin to jog. Take your speed to a not so comfortable level and run for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds at a slower pace. Continue this pattern for a few minutes. If a 20:10 interval seems too intense, increase your rest or decrease your work interval. Be creative and play around with different intervals.
Another training technique involves circuit training. Choose 3-5 exercises involving both strength and cardio, and work through them with as little of rest as needed. For example, complete four rounds of 10 jump squats, 10 pushups, 10 pullups and a sprint. This type of training not only tests your cardiac endurance but also muscle endurance, both of which are challenged during an obstacle course event.
And when in doubt, just do something! Some form of training is always better than nothing. It’s important to know that there is no one way to train that is better than the rest. A constant challenge and stimulus on your body, along with healthy eating will ensure a better result in the end. Working with a personal trainer may also be helpful because you no longer have control over the type of training and exercises you do. It is human nature to gravitate towards things we like and this holds true for training. I despise pushups, so it’s not often that I make myself do them. If someone makes me, I have no choice. I do them and in the end become stronger.
Obstacle Training Workshop
If pushing yourself to become both mentally and physically stronger intrigues you a little, you are in luck. Many local areas around you are hosting events to do just that and there is one for any fitness level. I will be hosting a trainer workshop Wednesday, June 17th at 6pm. I will go over such topics as training strategies, food intake and what to expect on race day. I will also leave time open for any questions. There will be a sign up sheet located at the Performance’s front desk and please feel free to email me at email@example.com with any topics you want covered.
Hope to see you there!!