How To Train For Obstacle Course Running Events

joe pitts

Trudging through mud, hopping over walls, crawling beneath through muddy water…Piece of cake, right? I’ve put a training plan together that will make it so. This plan is designed to get you ready to tackle anything that Mud Run’s throw at you, remembering that you more than likely be picking yourself off the ground more often than not.

The purpose of the circuits is to make sure you can complete each obstacle successfully and without getting so winded that you have to stop and catch your breath.

Obstacle Course Training

People who struggle with obstacle events spend too much time running and not enough time developing the upper body strength, core and stability necessary to tackle obstacles on the course. If you’re already in shape and running on a regular basis, some form of high-intensity total-body resistance training is crucial to provide the other components needed for a mud run.

I have chosen these movements because they have the most functional in relation the Mud run obstacles you’ll encounter during the event. The spider crawls, for example, will open up your hips so you can crawl under obstacles.

Burpees, push-ups, and pull-ups will help you scale a wall, climb a cargo net, or swing across monkey bars!

Obstacle Course Training |
The Plan

Perform this circuit three times a week after your normal training sessions. You can also do it on an off day—just make sure you leave at least one day a week for recovery. If you’re performing the routine after strength training, warm up with a 5-minute jog.

Perform the following number of circuits for your three weekly workouts:
Workout 1: Perform 2 circuits (12 minutes)
Workout 2
: Perform 3 circuits (18 minutes)
Workout 3: Perform 4 circuits (24 minutes)

The Exercises


Run at the fastest pace you can sustain for a full minute.


Your body should stay in a straight line for the entire move. Tuck your elbows so that your upper arms form a 45-degree angle with your torso. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor.

Burpee with jump

Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body down, bending at the hips and knees, so your hands are on the floor. Thrust out your legs behind you, so that you’re at the start of a pushup position.

Perform a pushup, then pull your knees toward your chest so your feet are beneath you. Jump up and land softly in a standing position.


Use an overhand grip, your hands at shoulder width. Raise your body until the top of your chest touches bar, then lower your body until your arms are straight.

Spider crawl (walk or crawl)

From a position in which you are on all fours but only inches off the ground, crawl along the ground keeping your body very low, arms and legs spread as wide as possible.

Obstacle Course Circuit Time
Sprint 1 minute
Pushups 30 seconds
Sprint 1 minute
Burpees (with jump) 30 seconds
Sprint 1 minute
Pullups (overhand grip) 30 seconds
Sprint 1 minute
Spider crawls: 10m up 10m back

Take Home Message

If you’re not a regular runner, don’t sign up for a 5K, show up to the start line, and hope for the best—even if you’re in pretty decent shape.

An actual training plan will help you cross the finish line strong, injury-free, and not feeling like you’re about to puke.

Get the best results with these Essentials:

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