Are you one who doesn’t exercise much? Are your friends encouraging you to join them at the best obstacle course race in Canada, Mud Hero? Are you concerned that you won’t be able to make it through the course? Don’t worry!
Regardless of your background in exercise, everyone is welcome at a Mud Hero event, and everyone is capable of participating successfully – whether you train or not! Of course, training is the better option to enjoy the event more on race day, so we’ve come up with some basic strategies for preparing yourself for your first obstacle course race at Mud Hero.
Food & Drink
The correct energy and preparing yourself with the correct food and drink leading up to an obstacle course race is of utmost importance. The key here is to not change your diet drastically before race day; rather, a gradual change over the weeks leading up to the race is the way to proceed. Water will keep you hydrated on race day, and you need to ready your body by drinking water on a regular basis in the weeks leading up to the race. Gradually increase your water intake throughout your preparation. Focus on foods like turkey, chicken, and fish for lean proteins, and slowly increase your intake of these as you approach race day. Compliment the proteins with plates full of colourful veggies. Consume healthy fats from nuts and avocado, and gain healthy carbohydrates from oatmeal and sweet potato. Utilize yogurt, tomatoes, and broccoli to increase your intake of electrolytes as race day nears.
On race day, consistently sip on water throughout the day, and eat a healthy, protein- and fiber-filled breakfast to fill you with energy properly for the race. All of this will prepare your body with the correct energy to increase your strength and endurance. (Read our article here for additional nutritional tips.) Ease into exercise Part of your preparation should include exercise. The last thing you need to do to yourself though is jump into monster workouts that strain your body. Start slow: there’s no need to rush.
Set realistic goals that work into a strategy. If you’ve got a month before race day, then aim to lose, say, 5 or 10 pounds in time for the race – a realistic goal that is achievable if you stick to your plan. Come up with a workout plan that sees you working out at least 3 times a week. Couple this with an improvement to your diet, and 5 or 10 pounds should come off fairly easily.
Circuit training For your workout regime, circuit training is the best way to prepare for obstacle course racing. These types of exercises are timed routines with varying amount of rest in between. Their advantage is working both your strength and cardiovascular system, and it pushes you towards a fast pace. Build yourself a workout based on this, and then slowly expand it over time. Focus exercises on your core strength, such as push ups, sit ups, squats, and lunges (see this article for additional core strength exercises); and your grip strength, with chin ups, pull ups, bar hanging, and climbing (see this article for additional grip strength exercises).
You will also want to include running, but it is best to avoid running on a treadmill or even on the street: you want to head to the trails to experience hills and various surfaces, such as grass, gravel, mud, etc. – the sorts of surfaces you will be running at Mud Hero. If you can add a long distance run in every week as well, then you’ll really get yourself prepared for the race.
Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, is stretching. Stretch before your workouts to prevent pulling any muscles, and stretch after your workouts to ensure your muscles develop the way they should. The nimbler you are on race day, the better you will succeed. If you train both your diet and body in the time leading up to the race, you’ll have an easier time on the course and be less tired and dehydrated at the end of the race.
Remember though, every participant is here to have fun – you’re racing less against the field and more against yourself. We’re here, first, to have fun together. You’ll have fun with your friends, but you’ll also meet a whole new group of friends at the race.
There’s no pressure: join us for some muddy fun! Take a look at available Mud Hero races here.