Got an obstacle run on your bucket list? Here’s how best to prepare for one. Let’s do this!
Obstacle running is the world’s fastest growing sport. Enthusiastic beginners to seasoned pros are lining up to put themselves to the ultimate test through water, mud, and of course, every kind of physical obstacle imaginable. And the same thing goes for all of them: good preparation is essential, certainly if you want to be having fun during this incredibly demanding extreme sport.
Fitness is the best foundation
Take this to the bank: good overall fitness and good endurance are the most important things for an obstacle run. Not only during the running sections, but for the parts that demand strength. How do you get these two basic elements up to obstacle run-level? Thankfully, there are several ways of doing this, so you can always train your own way. You can break up your weekly training into swimming, cycling, running or cardio workouts in the gym.
For the running, endurance running and interval training are a perfect combination. When you train your endurance running, you are building up your overall endurance, while your interval training will improve your speed. Need some inspiration? Running programmes will help you find the right balance of training for your level to get your performance up. But if you’re not into programmes, that’s okay too. Build up your running at your own pace. Do make sure that you’ve already run the distance of the run you are training for at least once in the course of your training.
Core and strength
Alongside fitness training, strength training is just as important. Strong legs will make the running easier and keep you clearing the jumps. But when you get to the ropes and walls, upper body strength and core strength will be what you need. For these things, there are also a number of different training options available, like boot camp, HITT training, CrossFit and strength training at the gym. Tell your trainer that you’re training for an obstacle run, so he or she can help you focus on the essential muscle groups. Here’s another tip: the climbing frame in the playground on the corner is also a great place to practice exercises like the monkey bar. And you’ll find all kinds of training racks popping up in more and more parks and nature areas in the Netherlands. Want to train for your obstacles the right way? There are now special obstacle run trainings locations all over the country.
More technique = less effort
The right technique makes the obstacles a lot easier than just going at them with all your strength. You can practice things like the foot lock for rope climbing. Or build your grip strength with any of a variety of special finger trainers, so you’ll be able to hang onto the monkey bars that much longer. To surmount the many walls you will face, you can also train your climbing technique: lift yourself up and swing one leg over the wall; if you’re not there yet, have a friend help you by giving you a boost. And now that we’re on the subject, training with a friend or a whole group of friends can make the run a lot more fun. You can be there for each other not only during training, but during the run itself – and that will give your performance a real boost, as well as a bonding experience and a sense of team spirit.
So there we have it, how to prepare for your obstacle run. And if you need help picking one, or your next one, luckily we are spoilt for choice in the Netherlands. To start with, we’ve got Strong Viking, Mud Masters and StrongmanRun, all heralded as the most popular obstacle runs. And besides obstacles, we also love mud: mud runs are rapidly becoming the Dutch favourite. Whichever one you choose, good luck – and make it a fun one!
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