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The 4 things you need to be doing to train for an Obstacle Course Race or Mud Run

Posted on November 25, 2016


OCR (Obstacle Course Race) training guide

This is a guide for those Looking to be successful when training for an Obstacle course run, or mud run, like Spartan or the Warrior Dash. Whether you are prepping for your first run, or you are a seasoned veteran, this guide will help you put down a fast time, stay safe, and most importantly, have fun.



  1. HILLS – twice race distance:

  • The obstacle that isn’t listed is the most difficult. You usually won’t see hills named when checking the course map to see what challenges are ahead, or on the race organizer’s website where they have a list of the obstacles to expect, but it is definitely the one component of the race that kicks participants in the tail more than anything else. There’s a reason that the athletes making podium can hold their own in cross country races, too. The majority of your time during the competition will be spent running up and down hills; therefore they are the foundation of your OCR training regimen. Creators of these races typically choose a site by picking the hilliest area near a city that can hold hundreds of racers at a time – something to keep in mind when weighing your focuses.

Recommended progression: Find the hilliest trail around and work your way up to where you can run twice your race distance on it without stopping. This means that if you are participating in a 5k OCR, you want to be able to run for about 6 miles of a hilly route without taking breaks. Don’t avoid slippery terrain or uneven footing (within reason), as this will be the surface that you will be racing on. Twice the race distance may seem excessively long, but doubling up is a tried and true method for competitive athletes, and does wonders mentally when the course gets rough (“I’ve ran twice this far without stopping before, so not only do I know that I can finish this, but I can compete confidently and actually push it.”)