Are Obstacle Races really Suitable for You?

Obstacle racing has become so popular, there’s even a website racking up clicks that are devoted exclusively to reporting the latest and greatest news on the sport. If you have an interest in seeing what’s going on outside Mumbai, bookmark this site, but if you’d much rather participate in these widely unconventional races than reading about them, this short guide can help you decide if the fun equals the risk that comes with literally wallowing in mud and racing through fires for fun and medals!

According to Wikipedia, any race can be considered an obstacle race if participants are required to overcome physical challenges that, by their very nature, are defined as obstacles. We’d need a huge amount of space here to list all of the obstacles that fall under this umbrella, but here are a few of the most often employed barriers: mud, trails, walls, water, fire, barbed wire and any combination of barriers that require one to test their strength, endurance, dexterity and mental acuity.

Now to answer the question of why obstacle racing has become so popular. For starters, obstacle racing is an accurate reflection of the society in which we currently live. Taking risks has become a normal part of everyday living, as reflected in the sport that allows individuals to push themselves almost beyond human endurance in their quest for the ultimate thrill.

But while social scientists tackle the motivation piece of this fascinating topic, one answer is clear: obstacle races are beneficial to runners who are eager to push boundaries. A few of the most common benefits of what to expect, spending a shorter amount of time to achieve faster results by substituting obstacle run for mainstream marathons. Improving your agility in ways no other running experience delivers, burning fat like crazy, build muscles and enhance strength thanks to spurts of activity. Obstacle racing is a great conditioning tool and a strong supplement for any training program; it tones muscles to the max by literally shocking the body!

Now let’s talk about how best to train for obstacle races. Is there a perfect formula for preparing your mind and body for the assault both will receive from the moment you leave the start line and to the moment you finish? Not at the moment, but if you follow the advice of those who advocate stringent obstacle training, you’ll be better prepared than most.

The tips include, prepare your head as well as your body. Know your body condition and what is expected from the races so you can focus on your weakness, allocate at least six weeks to your pre-obstacle race training- more if you can find the time. Understand the differences between competitions. When you train for your event, include power cleans from as many positions as possible, exercises that enhance grip strength so ropes and walls don’t present challenges and focus on pull-ups for upper body strength. Veteran obstacle course runners recommend single leg training in addition to bilateral leg conditioning and don’t leave out circuit training.

Originally published at on March 6, 2017.