Sure, you can hit the gym and up your reps – or you can take your training closer to a real obstacle course and get inventive.
What is it about an obstacle course that makes you feel like you’ve really accomplished something? Scaling walls, getting covered head-to-toe in mud and muck, bailing enough to use up a box of band-aids probably have a bit to do with it. But how do you train for one of these things, so you can maximize the experience? We dreamed up some accessible ideas to get you fired up for falls and fun.*
1. Monkey bars
Mastering the monkey bars as a kid was a big deal and you might be surprised how challenging they can be, even now. Get swinging, skip rungs or go backward to work your core, lats, deltoids and upper back.
2. Ice bath
So the water may or may not be freezing at your race, but it will definitely be cold. You might as well get used to some chill sessions so you know what you’re in for.
3. Take shortcuts
Beat your friends to the coffee shop by hopping a fence, climbing a low wall, or helping each other up over a barrier taller than you both (without trespassing, of course).
4. Piggyback friends
Next time you’re headed somewhere, offer to give your bud a lift. If you’re feeling ambitious try a light jog. Carrying to-go coffee is not recommended with this one.
5. Slide and ramp runs
Scout out a playground with a giant slide, find a high skate bowl or ramp and run up it. Doing a warped wall obstacle on a race is pretty much a guarantee.
6. Crawl around
Tunnels, tubes, small spaces – there is definitely some claustrophobic crawl space waiting for you. Get familiar with the underside of your dining table and the stash of seasonal gear under your bed.
7. Stadium sprint
Find a high school track or stay behind after the next football game. Run the risers in singles, then skip every first or second stair and repeat.
8. Mud fight
Exactly what it sounds like. Get used to getting dirty.
9. Balancing act
Grab a balancing board and use it any time you’re doing something inactive – at your stand-up desk, while you’re on the phone or even reading. Switch up your stance and try going one-legged too.
10. Provoke the cat
You may as well get used to a few scrapes and scratches, plus your cat will love you.
11. Water walkers
Head to your local pool and make like an aquasizer. Run, walk and tread your way from either end of the pool. Add some flotation devices to your ankles to turn up the intensity.
12. Gym class hero
Remember those brutal sit-up competitions you had to do in elementary school gym class? Challenge your friends, coworkers or siblings.
13. Pile high
You know that pile of dirt out back? Yeah, that one. Or the gravel one. Or the sand one beside it. Climb that thing and descend. Repeat until your legs burn.
14. Walk the line
A roll of masking tape and a flat surface are your new best friend. Walk that line, again and again and again. Tip toes, variable speeds and backwards mode encouraged.
15. Trampoline time
What better way to get comfortable with getting some air? Bonus: toss and catch a ball while you’re on it to dial up your coordination.
16. Long way down
Make friends with heights and head to a local pool with a diving tower. Start at one metre and work your way up to 10.
17. Mind the gap
Before parkour athletes could flip, they jumped. Couch to floor, deck to grass, bed to pile of pillows. Get used to taking a leap.
*Kid-like enthusiasm plus grown-up common sense are strongly encouraged.