5 Tips to help you complete your first obstacle race

With obstacle runs being in vogue at the moment (and rightly so, they are great fun!), knowing how to train for them so that you can have a good crack at all of the obstacles and make it through the distance without injury can be a challenge. 

With a huge range of races available from 5km – 40miles the amount of training and style will need to differ significantly. 

In a typical running event, being able to cover the distance is obviously essential as well as ensuring that the joints are conditioned and strong enough to last without injury. 

Obstacle racing adds another layer to this as you need to be able to run, hang, swim and climb all whilst running the distance. 

This means that your training programme has to ensure that you’re fit enough to complete the distance and have healthy, strong joints to prevent injury and manage all of the obstacles! 

Here are my top 5 tips to include in your training for a successful obstacle race:

1. Get the miles under your belt on and off road – make sure that you have the relevant fitness complete the distance. Most of the obstacle runs are off road, so try to get at least some of your running completed off road. The uneven terrain will challenge the joints and your balance more, building up strength and reducing your risk of injury. 

2. Hang tough – train to develop the best grip strength that you can hold and swing with your own bodyweight. Our bulletprooof body programming contains sessions such as ‘hang time’ to specifically develop grip and shoulder strength. 

( I have included an example session below for you to try as an example)

3. Bulletproof your joints. Ensuring that you have healthy, strong joints so that you can complete all of the hanging and climbing elements of a race is essential to getting the most out of the experience. To prepare for this, a great place to start is by taking your joints through their full range of motion daily. For an example of a joint mobility routine, check out THIS VIDEO

4. Develop good stability and strength through the ankles and hips. As you will be running a good distance (from 5k to 20miles+) you need to make sure that you have good running mechanics and aren’t going to end up injuring yourself by running with poor technique or lacking strength in the ankles and hips to cope with the off-road conditions. 

Make sure that you include lots of single leg work in your training programmes (such as lunges and step ups), and train with bare feet  when squatting or deadlifting (this will enable you to develop a strong base of support and balance. 

5. Improve your pulling and pushing strength 

The will be many obstacles such as high walls that will require you to be able to pull yourself up and over the top. Most of these races are team-orientated and people will help you over, but it’s always best to be able to do as much of the work yourself and give the rest of your teammates a hand! 

Exercises such as pull-ups, rows and pulldowns will all be beneficial in helping with this, as will press ups and dips to help you push yourself over obstacles and climb out of the inevitable water stages.

If you have all of this in place, you will be pretty well set up for anything that the course can throw at you and can enjoy the experience knowing that you will come out the other side tired, but having had great Fun along the way! 

For more information about race preparation or to enquire about the Bulletproof Body online programmes to help you prepare yourself for anything, 

e-mail: info@simplesessions.co.uk 

For more session examples, check out @simple.sessions on Instagram.


The Hang time session is Below: 

Warm up: CS-10 joint preparation routine (VIDEO) 

1A. Chest to bar pull up x 5 reps (regress to band assisted chin ups as needed) 

1B. Press ups x10 ( regress to chest elevated press ups as needed, or Press ups on knees) 

Perform A+B back to back for 10 Minutes working every minute on the minute (or as many rounds as you can in  10 minutes) 

2A. Active hang -> dead hang x max time up to 60s 

2B. Commando Plank 45s 

       5 rounds working every 2 minutes on the minute

3A. Hanging Knee Raise x 5 reps

3B. Bodyweight row x 5 reps 

 12 minutes, working Every minute on the Minute (EMOM)

ENJOY! If you have any questions about this blog or the session, please feel free to e-mail or DM me on Instagram or Facebook! 

James Lee

Head Coach – Simple Sessions LTD 

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