How to Train: Obstacle Course Race (Day 7 in the Fitter at Forty series)

I love obstacle course racing for MANY reasons:

  1. If feels more like playing than exercise.
  2. You get to climb things, run, and crawl under, over and through things.
  3. You get dirty. AND it's ok.
  4. It combines my favorites: running and strength. 
  5. You get to face some of your biggest fears and challenges.
And that's just to name a few. I've also met some of the most amazing people at races and events.

You really should do an obstacle course race if you've never done one. Mostly for the reasons above, but also because training for one can be incredibly fun. Yes, I said training (aka exercising, working out) can be FUN!

If you have access to a CrossFit box (gym), then I'd recommend you join it. (More on that in a later post.) CrossFit + Running is great training for OCRs. If you aren't a regular gym goer, you can get some great training in your own backyard.

OCRs require a good amount of upper body strength-- you might be climbing ropes, walls, dragging heavy things, carrying heavy things, flipping tires, etc. Aside from practicing those things, great exercises that will help you prepare are:
  • running!
  • push ups
  • pull ups
  • burpees
  • body weight squats
  • lunges
  • sit ups
  • planks
  • yoga (for balance)
  • kettle bells (swings, cleans, goblet squats, snatches)
  • more running!
In addition to some strength training, you should follow a running plan that is for about the same distance as the OCR. 

It's also a great plan to mimic your race in training. Do some workouts where you mix running and strength work-- intervals. As you get stronger, increase the time/distance running and the amount of strength stops.

This morning's workout for me:
10 mins of easy running to warm up. Then...
4 Rounds:
400 M run (around my block)
climb the wall into my backyard
10 burpees
1 lap in the pool (fully clothed-- with shoes)
10 burpees
wall climb back out

Share your OCR experience in the comments! Tell me your favorite race and why.

Read Part 1 of a 3 part series on running an OCR.


  1. You go, girl! I have many friends do "muddy buddy" and "Spartan" races but I have never been brave enough to do it with them, especially after having two babies. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    1. You should definitely join your friends!

  2. They always look like a lot fun. I've just been focusing on running though. I don't like the feel of squishy shoes. lol

  3. I have never done an OCR, but have wanted to for quite some time. The closest I've gotten is a colour run (did the Color Me Rad a little over a year ago) and it was a blast! A girlfriend of mine did the Warrior Dash and she looked like she was having such a fantastic time in all her pictures. I've always loved strength training and have, in recent years, begun to enjoy running (although I can't run for long or very far before I need to walk again) too.

    1. I've not done a color run. I'm more of a play in the mud sort of girl.


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