The Most Effective Form of Endurance Training

Training for an obstacle race? STACK Expert Rob DeCillis recommends using anaerobic techniques like Hill Sprints and Density Training to build endurance.

Endurance Training

When running an obstacle course race, you must be prepared to conquer several obstacles over a long distance, potentially over 13 miles. So it's important to build your aerobic endurance.

Yet when most people are facing a long run, their immediate tendency is to focus their training on—you guessed it—long and slow runs.

Problem is, this type of training is by no means your most efficient option. The hours you spend running are better spent in the weight room, and you'll save yourself a lot of wear and tear from the ground impact.

Instead, I encourage you to develop your aerobic endurance with workouts that challenge your anaerobic energy system. You can accomplish more in less time while improving your ability to conquer obstacles.

Anaerobic workouts are performed at high intensity for short durations. Your muscles will be on fire, your heart will be thumping out of your chest and your energy will be sapped.

It may not seem like traditional endurance training, but it will develop your aerobic energy system as well. After your workout, your aerobic system kicks in to replenish the anaerobic system's fuel. This improves the efficiency of your aerobic system, helping you sustain your energy over a long race.

In the Obstacle Course Training System, we use two types of anaerobic sessions to improve aerobic capacity and limit the amount of long-distance training we have to do.

Hill Sprints

Hill sprints are one of the hardest sessions we perform. Depending on the person's fitness level, he or she may go from the basic Hill Sprint with long recovery to adding different bodyweight or resistance exercises between sprints. Hill sprints can serve alone as a training day or can be added into your trail running workout, depending on the terrain in your area. Click here for a sample plan that can be used with your hill training day.

Density Training

Density training improves muscular endurance, an important quality to have during an obstacle course race. You'll perform several exercises trying to complete as many reps as possible. Your heart rate will spike. The different exercises simulate the constantly varying demands of a race.

Here is a sample density training session. Perform it at the end of your workout twice a week as a finisher.

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