How to train for Obstacle Course Races. Rough Runner Review, London, 2016

A couple of weeks ago we crossed the Finish Line of our first Obstacle Run – Rough Runner in Clapham Common, South London. We chose the 5k distance which had ten obstacles – the other option was 10k with 15 obstacles, but considering this was the first time, we decided to start small.

Alin crossing the finish line. Intense đŸ™‚

We loved the fact that all obstacles were safe – no electric shocks, no ice buckets, just a pure strength and endurance test. We had to jump over hurdles, climb walls, get through 2 rows of tyres (felt a bit claustrophobic there), avoid things that wanted to (gently) hit us and of course go through the rings obstacle that both Alin and I failed.

Now that I’ve done one of these races, I know how to train and do better next time. It’s impossible to recreate the obstacles at home (some hardcore Ninja Warrior fans do that by the way), but you can still do many things to prepare for them.How to train for obstacle course races (OCR) and a short review of Rough Runner 2016, London

How to train for obstacle course races

1. Monkey bar

The monkey bar is an obstacle by itself, so you need to do other things to increase your upper body strength – pull ups, push ups, shoulder presses, back exercises. Once you’re comfortable with the monkey bar, you can tackle the rings obstacle with more confidence.

2. Squats on the Bosu ball

Some obstacles involve balance or a combination of strength and balance, so the squats on the ball will be very helpful.

3. Rock climbing

I’ve never done this before, but I should start. If you can also climb up on ropes that would be useful.

This was one of my favourite obstacles. Had to sprint up, catch the rope and climb the rest

4. Box jumps

Box jumps, squat jumps and anything that improves your leg power because for some obstacles you may need to sprint up on walls.

5. Farmer’s walk and TRX rows

Do these to improve your grip. Useful when you just need to hang on!

We saw many people slipping off this one. We managed to stay dry

6. Agility training

Jumping over hurdles, running around obstacles, running in different directions.

7. Overall strength and endurance training

Go to the gym, go running, do HIIT training. Honestly, you shouldn’t go to one of these events without being even remotely fit. They’re not easy.

Just a reminder that you can get hurt. I got a few bruises and scratches from the event.

This was my advice, but I’m happy to hear more tips. Have you ever run an obstacle course? How was it, what obstacle was hard for you?