Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Tough Mudder, Battlefrog, and Atlas Race. Obstacle racing events have become increasingly popular over the last few years. With more than 4 million participants worldwide people are diving into the mud and tackling these crazy courses in record numbers. Trading in road running for trail running as their primary form of preparation, obstacle races and mud runs have replaced 5ks through marathons as the preferred weekend event among fitness enthusiasts of all levels. Yet despite the increasing number of participants one thought seems to be echoed by those looking to transition into the muddy world of obstacle racing. How do I prepare? While there is a small amount of information on how to properly get ready for your first event very little is actually written about how to tackle the obstacles you might see on the course. We asked some of our Oral IV sponsored athletes to give us their tips on how to take on some of the more daunting obstacles found at races. The Spear throw Trouble with the spear throw? Simple, start throwing at hard wood. If you can stick it in a board of wood that bale of hay on race day will be a piece of cake. Planks of wood are generally much smaller targets than a bale of hay, forcing you to be more accurate. Not only that, but sticking it in a hard piece of wood is much more difficult than sticking it in a soft bale of hay. You’ll have to generate more force to get it to stick. With enough practice, that hay won’t slow you down at your next race. Since I’ve started this practice, I’ve only missed one spear throw at over 20 races. Another area that can help improve is looking where you want the spear to go. So many people miss the spear throw because they take their eyes off the target. If you need to, stop and pause, take aim, then throw. Sure this may take a few extra seconds than just running up and letting it fly but the extra moment to pause and aim is still way faster than the 30 burpee penalty. Oral IV Sponsored Athlete – Dennis Smith Traverse Wall When training for the traverse wall, I focus on improving my grip strength. I can do this with simple exercises such as simply hanging from the monkey bars, transferring my weight from one arm to the other. Another thing to really focus on is wrist mobility. Having mobile wrists will make it easier to accommodate for the change in the angle of each block. You can then "cup" the corners, allowing for you to use leverage as you make your way across the wall. If you have a local rock climbing gym, specifically one that offers bouldering (climbing without ropes) go give it a try. Grip strength is dependent upon tendon strength and not muscle strength. Rock climbers aren’t huge guys but they can do some amazing things on the walls. The stronger you are at climbing the better your tendon strength, and core strength, will be. You will be flying through the traverse wall with ease. Oral IV Sponsored Athlete – Sarah Pozdol Body Weight Exercises – Better Rope Climbs My training advice is to do as many body weight rows as you possibly can. Start with 3 sets of 10 and add 1 every other day. There is a lot to be said for being able to simply move your own body efficiently. When you look at any obstacle race sure there are some weighted obstacles, but a majority of what you are doing is based off the strength to move your own body well. Body weight rows will help with pull-ups, rope climbs, and any pulling obstacle. The stronger you get at body weight rows, the easier time you will find you have on obstacle courses everywhere. Oral IV Sponsored Athlete – Chris McCorkle Use Everything Around You I find any sort of cement walls 6-8ft and practice my wall climbs starting in the standing position and jumping up trying to push my body weight up and throw my body over the top. It helps with my wall obstacles a ton. There isn’t a wall out there that I can’t get over these days. I also practice strict pull-ups almost every day so I can have strong arms for all those obstacles where your grip strength and upper body strength are so important. Obstacles like the rope climb, monkey bars, slippery walls, hoists etc are killers for women more often than not. You see a lot of women who fail these obstacles because their upper body isn’t strong enough to pull their own weight. Strict pull-ups are a big part of why I don’t stumble at these obstacles and I recommend them to everyone, men and women (because I have seen plenty of men not make the obstacles as well guys). Oral IV Sponsored Athlete – Orla Walsh Don’t Forget to Hydrate! All these tips are amazing. The athletes that provided them are top tier performers in the obstacle racing world. They train hard and leave everything on the course every time they go out to compete. Each athlete does something a little different in their training, some things they all practice though, and one of the big things is proper hydration. No matter if it is a training day, race day, or even a recovery day your body will only perform up to a certain level before it starts to shut down without proper hydration. We all know how important the daily consumption of water is to not only physical performance but also mental performance. Sometimes though water just isn’t enough to prevent the body from slowing down. You need something more, something to help your body process hydration more efficiently and one thing all the athletes above have in common is the use of Oral IV to help them maximize their hydration and perform more efficiently. With a formula that uses trace minerals specifically engineered to help your body process hydration into the cells more efficiently Oral IV is your #gamechanger. If you’ve tried it out for yourself you already know, if you’ve never tried it give it a shot and use it in your training, recovery, and race day hydration routines. Join the hydration revolution with #oralivnation now and elevate your game.