This is the most common question I get around this time of year. With Spartan Races, Merrell Down and Dirties, Savage Races and Tough Mudders right around the corner, training for them becomes high on peoples priority list. The fear of failing or getting hurt at these races is what motivates people to get into great shape to ensure their success. I have one simple line that I tell all my clients when they ask me how they should train for an upcoming race; "Make your body bullet proof"!
These races are full of running up hills, carrying buckets of rocks, climbing ropes, jumping over 8 foot walls, dragging a tire up a hill and swimming through mud. So the BEST thing you can do is to get strong! Strength will add bone density to you so you don't break bones, added muscle mass will allow your body to take the beating of the obstacles and being strong makes you mentally tough to endure whatever they throw at you.
At No Bull most of the clients goals are to lean out, lose fat, look better naked and get stronger; so we do a mix of full body functional workouts and a little hypertrophy work. So our everyday training already prepares our clients for the challenges of everyday life (laundry, running/playing with the kiddies, carrying groceries, taking trash out, etc). When it comes time for the mud runs we are all pretty well prepared even before we do any "specific" training because I make sure that all clients can Squat, Dead Lift, Chin Up, Bench, Over Head Press, DB Row, Drag & Push Sleds, Carries and Sprint.
Two or three months prior to a big race I encourage all clients to really focus on losing extra weight (fat), and to get really strong - Not 1RM (rep max) strong per se, but strong with decent endurance. The more mass you bring with you up those hills, the harder time you're going to have. Going into these races with less mass will make your life a little easier. Also, I think its vital to find a monster hill in your neighborhood and sprint up it 8 to 10 times while mixing in some Monkey Bar work, Pushups and Pull Ups if available. Local parks and schools are usually ideal for this type of training.
So lets review what we need to do to prepare:
* Keep lifting Heavy Weights (bullet proof your body)
* Make sure you can climb the rope (we have them at No Bull)
* Work on Sprinting Hills (brutal but necessary)
* Stretch More often (avoid pulling muscles)
* Lean out as best you can (extra mass = harder race)
* HAVE FUN - These races are FUN - Don't forget that!