Get over obstacles on mud runs and races
Found yourself signing up to Tough Mudder, the Royal British Legion Major Series or a Spartan race with no idea what you’re letting yourself in for? Then check out these expert tips.

Get over obstacles on mud runs and races

Running, jumping and leaping over obstacles has never been more popular but the prospect of running an obstacle course race (OCR) can be daunting to beginners and seasoned runners alike.

To help you on your way we’ve enlisted the help of Thomas Blanc, one of the UK’s top OCR athletes, to reveal his secrets to OCR success...


Don’t underestimate grip strength 

Grip strength is one of the most undervalued skills in OCRs. At many races I see competitors who are clearly very strong falling at obstacles such as monkey bars which require good grip strength.

Hanging exercises will help you build this strength up. All you need to do is grab a pull up bar with both hands and simply hang!

If you can’t hold yourself up completely keep the tip of your toes in contact with the ground.

Progress by letting go of one hand, swinging or doing sets of pull-ups. 

Carry it off

I can guarantee that at some point in your race you will have to carry something. Whether it’s a log, a brick or even another person, it always feels awkward and can be incredibly taxing on your legs.

Running with a weighted backpack or picking up a rock while you are out on a jog and carrying it can help you prepare.

If you feel a bit daft carrying a rock around on your runs, British Military Fitness classes will often utilise carrying exercises. This can involve carrying power bags throughout the class which can help you train the muscles you will need on race day.

Use your body weight

Why waste your money on an expensive gym membership when you can get similar results from body weight exercises?

Develop your strength using your body weight. Push-ups, sit ups, pull-ups, dips and their variations will significantly increase your upper body strength.

Challenge yourself to do a certain amount each session and to beat your record the next time you train to keep things interesting.

HIIT is your friend

When training for an OCR, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is essential.

It is great to be able to do a set of monkey bars in your local park but during your race you are going to approach an obstacle with your heart rate way above 150bpm and then it’s another story.

That’s why I really value BMF sessions in my training. The classes involve sprints and body weight exercises done intensively over an hour, which replicates what you might experience during a race.

Also check out How to train for OCR events by British number one female Freya Martin. 
For more information about the British Military Fitness classes, visit


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