Training for Mud Runs, Part 4: Long Trail Runs

March 20, 2013 | Rob DeCillis

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All challenging mud runs have segments that require you to run for long distance, often on a muddy trail. These parts of the race can fatigue you physically and mentally. It's important to improve your endurance so you can complete the long runs and still be ready for the next obstacle. (Learn 5 Tips to Survive an Obstacle Course Race.)

The single most important thing you should do is to run on a trail beforehand to accustom your body to the unpredictable terrain. Always keep your eyes focused about five feet in front of you so you can plan ahead to avoid natural obstacles.

When training to improve your endurance for the long-run segments, it's critical that you do more than jog. Your long-run days should also have an anaerobic component, because there will be times when an obstacle pops up without warning. When it does, you will have to call on your anaerobic system to get you through the obstacle.

Long run training for a mud run must be different than training for a half marathon. You should stop every quarter to half of a mile and perform a full-body bodyweight circuit that will elevate your heart rate even further.

At first, you may have to rest for a minute or two before starting the circuit. As your endurance improves, you will be able to seamlessly transfer between events.

As you plan your long runs on the trails, make sure to use natural obstacles. Crawl, jump, roll, push, pull and carry anything you encounter as you run. This will make your training more like what you will experience on race day and add some fun to your run.

Long Trail Run Workout

  • Run 1/2 mile
  • Perform the following exercises in circuit fashion: Jumping Jacks x 30, Push-Ups x 30, Mountain Climbers x 30, Burpees 30
  • Run 1/2 mile
  • Perform the following exercises in circuit fashion: Bear Crawl x 20 yards, Frog Hops x 20 yards, Crab Walk x 20 yards, Tiger Crawl x 20 yards
  • Run 1/2 mile
  • Perform the following exercises in circuit fashion: Squats x 30, Push-Ups x 30, Walking Lunges x 30, Burpees x 30

Continue running and alternate among these three circuits until you have completed your long run. The addition of the circuits to your run will allow you to develop the strength and conditioning you will need to finish your mud run.

For a complete mud run training program, read previous articles in this series:

Rob DeCillis
- Rob DeCillis got his start in the strength and conditioning world in 2006, when he had the opportunity to train an IFL heavyweight fighter. After...
Rob DeCillis
- Rob DeCillis got his start in the strength and conditioning world in 2006, when he had the opportunity to train an IFL heavyweight fighter. After...
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