For many people, running a 10km race is a challenge in itself. But throw in some fire, fences, icy water and electricity and it becomes a true test of mental strength and fitness.
Endurance obstacle courses, such as Tough Guy, X Runner, Spartan Race and Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest, which heads to Manchester this weekend, are growing in popularity. Tough Mudder, which is arguably the best known obstacle race in the UK, is now estimated to be worth in excess of £50 million and, by the end of last year, two million men and women took part in their events across the country.
But why are people doing it? Some compete for the bragging rights of completing such a grueling challenge, some do it for a fun day out with friends and others are keen endurance athletes who do it for the variety – after all, it’s more interesting than plodding the road for miles. However, it’s not just seasoned runners and triathletes who are taking part. The ‘weekend warriors’ – those who are not fanatical about endurance challenges, but who like to maintain a decent level of fitness – make up a sizable chunk of entrants.
So, what preparation is needed for novices? Obviously, to be able to run 10km, jump over fences and wade through muddy bogs, you’re going to need a basic level of fitness. It’s important to remember that this isn’t a straight race – it will be lots of stopping and starting. Try a little interval training – a mixture of high intensity runs, with slower jogs and fast-paced walks. This will help your body adjust to the varying pace of an obstacle race.
Aside from the cardio, you can also prep with some circuit training to improve the general strength you’ll need for hurling yourself over fences and crawling under barbed wire nets. Burpees and get-ups will give you that explosive strength needed to get up off the floor, while mountain climbers and Russian twists will strengthen the obliques which will give you that power when you are crawling through the mud.
If you’re looking for another little boost, especially during the colder weather, try out some supplements. MyEndurance, which is exclusive to MonsterSupplements.com, offers an industry first pre-workout Hot Carbohydrate Loader and an intra-workout Train Sustain Formula. The range also includes a post-workout Recovery 4:1 Formula, when you’ve completed your race.
Fancy a challenge? Here are Monster’s top 10 endurance events …
- Tough Mudder
- Tough Guy
- X Runner
- Zombie Evacuation
- Spartan Race
- Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest
- Mighty Deerstalker
- London-Cardiff 24
- Nuclear Rush
- Total Warrior