I have had this weird obsession with mud races and obstacle races since I ran my first one in March of 2009. Yes I remember exactly when and where and how amazing it was. I ran the Big Sur Mud Run out in Monterey and sponsored by Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Presidio of Monterey and California State University Monterey Bay. It was an amazing race, I had lots of glorious bruises to show for it and I ran it all by myself. I was supposed to have people running with me but other things came up last minute (I think they chickened out, ha!). Sadly last year was the final mud run for Big Sur! I am happy to say I participated and still have my medals hanging proud!
So after that race I was determined to run more mud/obstacle races. Then it was the Muddy Buddy and Warrior Dash. My husband and I ran the Muddy Buddy together in 2012 and had a blast!! He even agreed to do it the following year but being 8 months pregnant we decided it wasn’t the best idea. Then comes along the Spartan Race. It had been on my list for a couple years. They only offered the Beast out in California, which is 13 miles. I figured I wanted to start with something a little less crazy for my first Spartan Race. Luckily I have an awesome group of bootcampers and we got a team together and completed the Spartan Sprint San Francisco last month. You can check out all my highlights from that race HERE.
We all learned a lot about what to do to prep for our next Spartan Race, which by the way is next month (Spartan Sprint Sacramento)!! We found out where our weaknesses were and the areas to focus on! So here are my Top 5 Things to Prep for your First Obstacle Race!!
Work Your Upper Body! During most obstacle races you will be pulling yourself over walls that are at least 5 feet tall, pulling ropes of heavy stuff up to hit a bell, climbing a rope, carrying a 45 lb jug of water and various other arm killing things. I strongly recommend you starting training your upper body. I know that this is generally a weaker area for women. Start using that assisted pull up machine at the gym, use free weights to work your back or even use on of those door way pull up bars. All of that will greatly help!
- Work on Grip Strength! I noticed that about half way through the race my hands and forearms had just about enough. They were so tired and extremely sore the next couple days. It was probably all the monkey bars, traverse wall and rope pulling. I have since been using a great grip strengthener I got off amazon. Pre warning though that the outside of the handles are rough but you can get handle covers if it bothers you.
- Wear Gloves! This of course is a personal preference but I felt that it helped a lot. It also makes sure that if a rope slips out of your hands you won’t end up with some gnarly rope burn, unless that is what you are going for. I used Reebok One Series Performance Gloves and they worked great. It looks like they aren’t making them anymore so no link to provide for you guys. One note though…use them in a workout before the race to make sure they are comfortable and won’t bother you.
- Do Not Try Anything New! Like any other race, remember not to try anything new the night before or day of. That means don’t try out the new Thai Restaurant down the street or those awesome new shoes that have been sitting in your closet. This could be a recipe for disaster and you want your first experience to be the best.
- Have fun!! The most important thing is you go out there and have fun!! You might not be able to complete each obstacle and that is ok!! If you can do this with a group of friends or even one other person that’s even better. Cheer others on when you see them on the course and give words of encouragement to those that look like they need it. I ran into nothing but nice people at my race that were supportive of each other and always smiling (well except during that water jug obstacle, but we just suffered together!).
I hope that my tips help you prepare for your first obstacle race!! Go out there and earn that medal!!