When training for an obstacle race or another formidable physical challenge, there are a number of factors that can cause progress to stall. Sure you can mix up your training to break through a fitness plateau, but there can be more to it than that. An inclusive approach to assessing performance during a workout and the results that ensue require an analysis of the training environment and external stimuli.
For starters, consider the following:
What do you eat before/after your workout? Do you have a plan for pre and post workout nutrition? Try a balanced meal about 2-3 hours prior to a workout. Then, 15-30 minutes before consume a pre-workout snack. Do you listen to music? Are you rocking out to the same “workout” playlist every day?
Do you train alone or with a partner/trainer? Are you meeting your college buddy at the bench press for the same pseudo-workout before you head to your local pub for happy hour?
Instead of adhering to a predictable routine, get more from your workouts by altering your training environment and outside influences.
When and where do you train?
Or, if you are stuck indoors take your treadmill workout to a new level. Instead of simply performing traditional cardio intervals on the treadmill, with periods of max effort followed by walking or jogging, fill the rest periods with a strength training exercise. Obstacle course races take place outdoors, in the elements. It can be helpful to replicate the race day environment during training. This can be accomplished on an off-road running and hiking trail or at a local park. Take workouts into the field to acquire and improve the skills associated with obstacle race training. For example, head outdoors to a sports stadium, running track or off-road trail, to try one of the following workouts. Using a weighted vest or backpack loaded down with weight try hiking for time or distance and climbing or running hills or stadium stairs, while building up to resisted sprints.
Perform 6 rounds of 60 second sprints on the treadmill
After the sprint perform 15 push-ups in round 1
15 dumbbell shoulder presses in round 2
15 body-weight squats in round 3
10 pull-ups in round 4
10-15x triceps dip in round 5
5 lunges each leg in round 6
*The workout can be completed for time or rounds.
If you are looking to take your obstacle race training to another level add weight to each movement or substitute exercises like the kettlebell swing.