A Few Tips For Obstacle Course Race Success

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Published: 29th January 2013
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Obstacle course racing is all the rage these days. Millions of people will participate in events all over the country. Here are a few tips that can help you when it comes to setting yourself up for success in a mud run or obstacle race.

Give Yourself Extra Time

Obstacle course race locations are infamously crowded. You will likely have to spend a long time waiting for parking, waiting for your racer packet and waiting in the gear check line. Sometimes locations are so ill-equipped to deal with the number of visitors that they get that it literally takes over two hours to enter the venue and get your race bib. If you end up having some extra time, examine the course, take a couple of pictures, and get sufficiently warmed up.

Spend at least 10 minutes Warming Up

Everyone knows that stretching and warming up is important if you want to avoid getting an injury. But did you know that it also enhances your speed and agility? If its essential to you to put forth your optimum performance, you need to invest in at least a ten minute warm up period before your competition. Before you reach ten minutes, you will not be able to achieve optimal blood flow through your capillaries, which means you can't run your fastest.

Consider the Best Positioning

Each wave in some obstacle course races can have more than 600 individuals, and most of them will start at a much faster pace than they can sustain for the whole competition. If you are hoping to finish with a competitive overall time, then make sure to get a place in the front and prepare to maintain a fast sprint during the initial part of a race. If you don't get ahead at the beginning, then you will likely get stuck waiting in long lines at the first obstacle which will make it difficult to finish with a competitive time.

If you are not seeking to be competitive, then don't sprint with the pack. You will likely bonk and the rest of the race will be more difficult than it has to be. Plus if you are even a little bit nervous about the first few obstacles, it will be much worse if you are surrounded by tons of people. If you just take it easy at the very beginning, you will be around less aggressive runners when you deal with your first obstacle, and then you can catch up to all of the people that started out too fast at the beginning.

Have a "I Can Do It" Mindset

Half of the fight when it comes to an obstacle race is the psychological reservation you have that you may not be able to do a race. Oftentimes race websites do not reveal the particular challenges on the course, so that you have that oh crap, I did not know I was going to have to do that! sensation when you first run up to a scary obstacle. Our instincts towards surviving start up and yell at us not to do something dangerous. All of these innate, natural and healthy worries can induce that panicked sensation in your gut as you approach obstacles. But instead of allowing yourself to wallow in this worry, think about it in a positive way. How are other getting over it? What works? What doesn't? If you can make a plan and imagine yourself successfully completing the obstacle, then you are much more likely to clear it successfully. Also, pretty much every obstacle course allows you to get help from others. Take advantage of that.

By training well and implementing these strategies you will be ready for any obstacle course race you try.

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