Obstacle course racing incorporates traditional trail running elements with unique obstacles to crawl, climb and jump over and under. In addition, obstacle course racing incorporates “carrying.” Thus, you not only need a strong lower body and the ability to run a 5K or more, but you also need strength to carry strange objects while doing so.
The most common of object that is carried in races is the sandbag. Sandbags can range in weight from about 10 pounds to 50 pounds. The most common weight for women is about 25 pounds. Working with the weight is something you will definitely want to practice prior to race day, as it can either slow you down or give you a huge advantage over the rest of the racers.
How To Incorporate Weight Into Your Race Training
Workout 1 – The Weighted Walk
The first workout to help you practice for the sandbag (or other odd object) carries is to incorporate a moderate weight (10-20lb) sandbag into one workout per week. Start off walking with the additional weight on the road or trail for 1-2 miles. This will help you build endurance while at the same time work your upper body.
Workout 2 – The Total Body Slam
The second workout is a variation of the first and is guaranteed to be a full body challenge! Pick a 1-2 mile trail (you will want to be on a trail). For the duration of the hike, you will pick up and throw a sandbag (10-20lbs) in front of you. Walk to where the sandbag drops, pick it up and through it in front of you again. Continue this for the 1-2 mile trail. You might get a few strange looks, but the repeated motion will help you gain both strength and endurance.
Finding A Training Weight
The most durable sandbags on the market are the Hyperwear Sandbells; however, you can also make your own sandbag with a few items from the local hardware store. In a pinch, you can just grab yourself a rock on the trail and make friends with it for a run or two. However you choose to add the weight for your workout, you will be thankful for the practice on race day.
That’s the dirt for this week! Next week we start to take a look into some of the different race organizers to help you find the best race for you!