Saturday, 2 February 2013

Dishing the dirt on Obstacle Races

It goes without saying that obstacle races have become one of the hottest tickets around; all you need to do is check your Facebook or Twitter feed to see an array of photographs of your friends caked in mud, and looking as happy as a pig in the proverbial.

Obstacle races, such as Tough Mudder and Total Warrior, provide a fantastic change of pace from your regular 10k or half-marathon (fear not, you’ll still get a free t-shirt), they also test your body in ways you wouldn’t even think were possible. Obstacle races test your stamina, determination, co-ordination, strength and teamwork to within an inch of their life, but in exchange you will get a genuine feeling of achievement that would only be possible in your average road race if you managed to beat the Kenyans to the finish line!

Now I’m not advocating abandoning running completely; I am attempting to open your eyes to how obstacle races can enhance your running performance and achievements.
For a start, obstacle races are addictive! Once you have experienced 10-12 miles of gruelling punishment, you will be hungry for more difficult and challenging races. This newfound motivation will encourage you to take the step up from a 10k to that elusive half-marathon or full-marathon.

Secondly, in an obstacle race there are no PB’s to chase; the aim of any obstacle race is to just get round in one piece. This means that you can tackle each individual obstacle as it comes, and not get too hung up on whether you are still hitting your 4, 5 or 6 - minute mile target.

Thirdly, it will give your mental fortitude a boost; the only way to describe these events is ‘gruelling’, both physically and mentally. To successfully complete an obstacle race you will need mental strength as well as physical strength; having to pick yourself up for the next obstacle is incredibly difficult and is infinitely more taxing than finding the energy to continuously put one foot in front of the other. However, if you have got the grit and determination to keep going, this will be extremely useful for the next time you hit ‘the wall’.

So there you have it, if this has opened your eyes to the benefits of obstacle races, why not sign yourself up for one now. You can find your nearest obstacle race here, and seeing as most of the obstacles are designed up by Special Forces types, why not pay homage to them by competing in one of these functional Camo T-Shirts from Bushwear? You never know, they may even make you feel a bit like Rambo – perfect for when you’re covered in mud and wading through icy waters! 

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