The Top 5 Best Tips for Obstacle Races

by Mike
(Framingham, MA)

I have never been a great runner growing up. 60% of my life I have been anywhere between 10-40 lbs overweight, however when I do train I enjoy running more than any other kind of cardio activity be it outdoors or the treadmill.

I had participated in a few 5Ks during my life but in 2015 it was different. I was overweight and made a vow to not only make a goal to get into shape but to also accomplish something I’ve never done.

It was as if the Lord was listening because I was given a free opportunity to participate in a 5K obstacle course race known as Battle Frog. This is similar to the well known Spartan. I agreed to this challenge in February 2015 which took place in July so I knew I had 5.5 months to be in the best shape of my life to complete this race which was created by the Navy Seals.

I spent all winter, spring, and two months of summer training, which basically consisted of weight training, cardio, and eating healthy.

Keep in mind the eating healthy part was the hardest and most important. I only worked out once per day for 5 days per week between 90 and 120 minutes and that included 30 minutes of cardio.

You don’t need to spend your day at the gym to be successful.

Long story short by the time race day came I had dropped almost 50 lbs and not only completed the race and earned my first medal, but it turned out to be nearly an 8K and not 5, which meant I finished the longest race in my life.

That was the most proud moment of my life.

I’ll never forget ringing that cowbell on the last obstacles. The 7 months of grueling training paid off.

Here are my 5 tips which helped me prepare:

1. Know that clunker days will happen. You may work late, give in to that donut, skip a workout, or have a horrible workout. Don’t worry about it. You can’t be perfect every day. Life Happens. You are human. As a good friend told me. If you get a flat tire you fix it, not junk the car. Wipe your hands clean. Once your head hits the pillow that night ITS OVER. Next day it’s already long gone. You’ll be back on track by 8 AM.

2. Follow motivational like-minded people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc. It amazes me how hearing a speech, reading someone’s story, or letting quotes sink in pump me up. Hell if there’s a movie you love that motivates you watch it every day and visualize yourself as the main character. Whatever motivates you, do it.

3. Don’t worry about the “distance”. Remember for 90% of the people an obstacle race is not a “race”. For most it’s challenging yourself to complete as many obstacles as you can and finish. Who cares where you finish. I was by far not the most talented runner but I ran with a team and regardless of how good the members were we all ran TOGETHER and cheered each person on. Keep in mind you are not actually running this entire race. Between waiting in line at an obstacle, finishing one then cheering the next teammate, or having to walk slow over treacherous terrain, your pace will change often so let the distance of the event scare you away.

4. Dress in a way that works for you. What I mean is not wear shorts in the snow but more like dress in a way that best makes you feel confident. It’s very strange how sometimes what you wear may effect your mental state. For me I wore a pair of lightweight black shorts, a fitted Nike t shirt that would never have fit me before, a pair of football cleats all dyed black, gloves for gripping, knee pads which you could not see, a bandanna, eye black, and taped wrists with a bible scripture. I felt Badass and nothing was gonna stop me. Whether you go shirtless, a tank top, a Halloween costume, marathon attire, or armed forces attire, do what makes you feel confident, weather permitting.

5. Do it for YOU. You’ll be surprised how many people want to workout so the opposite sex will stare at them in awe, or to get as many “likes” on Facebook, or compete with what other people look like. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your goals or accomplishments, but do this for you. A better way to look at it is pretend you’re running this alone or you need to cure your disease by finishing it. This is YOUR goal, YOUR challenge, and YOUR life. Pay attention to yourself and not the guy 3 benches down, or the hot girl on her phone. Focus on the task at hand. When you finish it will feel much more amazing knowing you did all of this for you and not to impress others. You’re no better than anyone else. No one else is better than you!

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Aug 07, 2019
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We Love Obstacle Races!
by: The Marathon-Running.com Team

Thanks for the post, Mike! Awesome story!

We're huge fans of OCR (Obstacle Course Racing), and that BattleFrog Series was so much fun. The obstacles were fresh and new, and kept up the excitement.

Great tips on preparing, too. We're sure many of our readers will benefit from hearing your perspective! Hopefully, they'll put your tips into action!

Keep rockin' and keep running!

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