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In September, I (35 y/old male, 72kg, 1.80m) will attend an organized Obstacle Run (7.5 km) with some friends. We do it for the fun of it, but I want to prepare myself for the best.

After a long period of a sedentary living, last year I picked up fitness training and a healthier life. My current routine is: 2 to 3 days a week in the gym where I do weightlifting. I cycle through a shoulders/arms day, a chest/back day and and legs day. 3 days a week I try to do outside training: running (5k to 10k), mountainbiking or just cycling.

With this scheme, all my exercises are isolated. Should I try to emulate the Race conditions more, like combining sprints with lifting, combine running with body weight exercises or should I be fine with my normal routine?

Also other tips are very welcome, this is my first race ever and like to be prepared for it.

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4 Answers 4

For me, your training is fine. But, as you say, you have to try to emulate the obstacles, the terrain and the conditions that you're going to find in the race, as much as you can.

Also keep in mind your sportswear. Try to train with the same equipment that you're going to wear in the race.

Do your best and have fun!

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Sportswear is a good point, I did not think about that yet. Last week I had a run in the rain and my shoes (mesh-type) were soaked. That would definitely happen during a obstacle/mud-run. –  AutomatedChaos May 15 at 6:30

I would try exercises that emulate both cardiovascular and strength training. Think burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, etc; anything that will get your heart rate up while also building the strength needed to complete some of those obstacles.

Try out some of these: http://greatist.com/fitness/cardio-bodyweight-exercises

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Thank you for the nice link, I think I will incorporate some of the exercises during a run. –  AutomatedChaos May 15 at 6:02

First of all, you're already in good shape for someone who had a sedentary lifestyle.

I think your training is good as is.

My only advice (what I have tried and tested) is that you focus on cadence in all your workouts. Try to reduce the cycle times of your workouts. The reduction would be gradual. At some point, your routines would feel like 'second nature'. Then you may increase weights, combine routines and go crazy with your training.

Best of luck!

Edit: bout tempos...

Most work outs have a tempo. They usually include four digits. Consider this example which I just made up: let us say the tempo for Bench presses is 3110 (I am not sure if this is the standard). The first number 3 is the eccentric, or lowering, component of the lift. The second number 1 denotes any pause at the midpoint. The third number 1 is the concentric, or lifting, component. Finally, the fourth number 0 denotes any pause at the top. Some tempos have been standardizes but you can always work with the tempo which best suits your build.

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Thanks! Can you clarify "reduce the cycle times of your workouts"? –  AutomatedChaos May 15 at 6:28
    
Yes @AutomatedChaos. Most work outs have a tempo. They usually include four digits. Consider this example which I just made up: let us say the tempo for Bench presses is 3110 (dunno if this is the actual standard). The first number 3 is the eccentric, or lowering, component of the lift. The second number 1 denotes any pause at the midpoint. The third number 1 is the concentric, or lifting, component. Finally, the fourth number 0 denotes any pause at the top. Some tempos have been standardizes but you can always work with the tempo which best suits your build. –  Yasky May 16 at 19:25

Your best option to train for an obstacle race is to run obstacle courses. :) Now, this does not necessarily mean replicating the target course in your backyard. Instead, take a walk around your neighborhood and look for items that might resemble what you're going for in terms of obstacles.

Playground equipment can be particularly good for this. Fixed park benches (rooted in concrete) are good for practicing vaults. Most neighborhoods have at least one waist-height wall. There are various sources for poles to go over and under, although unfortunately, many of them are either relatively flimsy or in high-traffic areas such as in front of super-markets. Once you have your obstacles, include them in a run. Try to maintain speed, navigate the obstacle, then get right back to running.

Since the obstacles are not likely all in one place, your best bet will be doing the same obstacle repeatedly. For example, let's say that you've found that your local park has a section of ground with a steep drop-off of about four feet and about 15 feet of open space on either side. Run the 50 feet, hop up the embankment, trying to go in a smooth motion from bottom to top, and run the other side. Pivot and go back the other way, hopping down the embankment and landing smoothly, and run the distance. Pivot and return. When you find yourself tiring on that obstacle, use the walk between that and the next obstacle to recover and to determine whether you're up to the next one (a period of just walking can do wonders to help you decide whether that twinge in your calf is just muscle soreness or something more serious).

I highly recommend looking into Parkour for navigating the obstacles. There are plentiful YouTube videos on how to correctly perform the movements, in particular the landings. Amos Rendao has what I think is one of the best rolling tutorials out there (fair warning, the intermediate roll tutorial video typically has, as its preview image, his demonstration on the back of a comely traceuse, not actually nudity but appearing similar on a quick glance on a work computer). For the rest of the movements, that's contentious, but I've enjoyed the LaFlair set on vaults. If you're curious about the actual science of it, Parkour Science provides all of the equations that you might ever want to demonstrate, for example, why rolling on impact works, or what the maximum distance one can precision jump is.

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Good suggestions; inspired by your ideas, I found a "forest-cross" route with 18 trim-machines during a 2.2 km run. It is 30 minutes by car from where I live, so that is doable. There is also a trail-run route, so I can practice that too. –  AutomatedChaos May 15 at 6:09

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