2 to 5 Mile Challenger Obstacle Course Race Training Plan

Obstacle course racing, mud runs and adventure racing are relatively new but very exciting running events. These high energy events inject some needed fun and variety into your normal running routine. You could continue with your typical training routine and still be fairly well prepared for the unusual requirements of obstacle course racing, but why not switch up your training routine just a bit. By engaging in a semi-custom obstacle course training program you will be fully prepared for the higher intensity movements of the race. You will perform better and even more importantly, avoid injury.

This series of training schedules are designed to meet your obstacle run, mud run and adventure racing needs. Each training plan includes specific running workouts and strength training routines to prepare you for your obstacle course event. This challenger level plan is intended for experienced runners that simply want compete at a high level in their obstacle course. The challenger plan includes high intensity strength training and moderate to high intensity running. This obstacle course training plan will prepare you for a race distance of between 2 miles or 3K and 5 miles or 8K. If you would prefer a lower intensity, try the 2 to 5 mile basic obstacle course race training plan.

This booklet includes the following components to help you meet your obstacle course running and racing goals. Each training component includes training schedules for 4, 5, 6 or 7 workouts per week so you can customize them to your training time.

Build Up

You may or may not need this build up component. This build up schedule will take you from a walk/run combination to running 3 miles or 5K without stopping. If you are a new runner or if you are not able to run 3 miles. I would suggest beginning with this schedule. If you are more experienced runner you may want to skip this schedule and go directly to the 6 week training schedule.

Six Week Training Schedule

The primary training plan is a 6 week schedule that begins with a 3 mile long run and progresses to 8 miles. Drills, strength training and stretching are included in each 4, 5,6 and 7 day per week time lines.

Strength Training

Strength training is important for all distance running plans, but it is especially important for obstacle course racing due to the climbing, jumping and crawling demands. The strength training exercises included are specifically designed for obstacle course racing.

Drills and Flexibility

There are sections included for both agility drills and flexibility exercises. Agility drills are used as a warm up and also to improve your obstacle course agility conditioning. Post workout flexibility training is important to maintain muscle and joint range of motion.

Terrain Training

Terrain training is a very specific type of training for obstacle course racing. Terrain training will prepare you for the specific components of your race. Each race is different, so you will need to look at the events in your race and choose the terrain training exercises most appropriate for your specific obstacle course.

Obstacle Strategy

Some obstacles are easy to conquer while others can be a monster. We have included some easy strategies to help you overcome even the toughest obstacle.

Running Workouts

This obstacle course series includes the following types of running workouts. Your specific plan may include all or only a few of these workouts. The workouts in your plan depends upon the training program level.

Endurance Runs

This type of run is also known as aerobic conditioning. Endurance runs make up the highest percentage of overall mileage for a distance runner. Endurance runs build your overall endurance, increase your blood volume, improve your ability to store energy supplying fuel, and improves the ability of your system to deliver oxygen to your muscles. These workouts are performed at about 55 to 75 percent of your VO2 max (your body’s ability to process oxygen). This pace should feel easy and “conversational” in nature.
Tempo Runs – Tempo runs are moderate to long distance runs that are performed at between marathon pace and about 15 seconds per mile slower than 10K pace. Tempo training intensity is slightly less than lactate turn point intensity. The purpose of tempo running is to improve your ability to run long distances at paces that produce a significant amount of metabolites without the limiting factor of reaching your lactate turn point.

Progressive Runs

Progressive runs are a workout that combines endurance training, tempo training, lactate turn point training and speed training. When performing progressive runs you should start at an easy endurance pace and gradually increase your pace through out your training run. Increase from endurance pace to lactate turn point pace through all but the final 800 to 1600 meters of your progressive run. Then increase your pace to speed pace portion. For example, if you are doing a 6 mile progressive run you should start at endurance pace and gradually speed up to lactate turn point pace through the first 5 to 5.5 miles. Then finish at speed pace.

Lactate Threshold or LT Runs

LT runs are moderate distance, higher intensity training runs that are performed at very close to your 10K race pace or a hard pace. The purpose of these training runs are to improve the ability of your body and central nervous system to deal with the affect of metabolic imbalances.

Speed Runs

These workouts are also known as aerobic capacity training. Speed runs are performed at between 90% and 100% of your VO2 max which is between your 5K race pace and your 3K race pace. Improving this pace will increase your fitness, speed, endurance and speed endurance.
Long Runs – These runs improve your endurance, goal pace endurance and mental toughness. They also improve your body’s ability to burn fat as fuel and conserve carbohydrates. Long runs are performed at an easy pace, goal pace or a combination of the two paces.

Strength Workouts

The second category of workouts in your training program are strength workouts. Strength training is important for runners because it helps prevent injury, improve your impact resistance, improve your running economy and build your speed and power. Strength training workouts fall into one of three types:

  • General Strength – General strength workouts build your overall body strength and provide a base for the more specific types of strength training.
  • Running Specific Strength – These are strength building exercises that target your running specific motions and muscles.
  • Plyometrics – Plyometrics are high intensity strength exercises and drills that are explosive in nature and are great for improving running economy and power.

This 2 to 5 mile challenger obstacle course race training plan is presented in PDF format. You can view the plan in two ways. You can move through the pages with your scroll bar or use the PDF viewer controls at the bottom of each page.



Obstacle Course Challenger 2 to 5 mile