Last week, I ran the Warrior Dash for the first time with a group of friends. I’m not a runner, so the thought of doing a 5K obstacle course seemed a bit daunting. I decided I needed to prepare myself.
Since running the Dash, I’ve also included a few other tips to help future warriors. So here are the methods I used in my training, and some other ideas to keep in mind as you go along.
Build momentum for yourself
Six weeks out from the Dash, I devised a plan for myself. Like I said, I’m not a trained runner since I’ve never done cross-country or track. I started by running a mile every day for a week. Then 1.5 miles. Then 2. By the time I got to 2.5 miles, though, I could only run 3 days a week because of an erratic work schedule and other conflicts. Starting a summer class and a full-time job meant that I could only find one day in a week to run 3 miles, and the same for 3.5 miles.
A 5K race is only something like 3.25 miles, but I thought by preparing myself for 3.5 that I would be ready for a lesser distance. I ran another 5K race six days later, with no training in between, and I had to stop and walk twice.
Run in similar conditions
The Warrior Dash isn’t generally held on a straight road or a track, which were my general training conditions. Though, a few times, I made it to the park where I ran on dirt trails on little hills that best replicated conditions at the Warrior Dash I attended.
Unless you have jungle gyms or your own obstacles, it’s probably difficult to train for those. If you’re a rock-climber, that may help you. The obstacles, in my opinion, weren’t that difficult and actually allowed you a chance to rest in between the run since you had to slow down for everybody else.
As I ran up a hill, my foot was on a slight slope and I thought I rolled my ankle about halfway through. I felt it ache but I kept going. By the time I completed the race, I was limping out of the mudpit trying to keep my balance.
The Warrior Dash conditions are slick in spots because of the mud, and you aren’t given any safety devices when you climb the obstacles. Granted, a fall from the height wouldn’t kill you, but it’s a little more precarious when you’re hot, sweaty and a bit worn out from running.
Don’t be afraid to get dirty
Not only will you be sweaty, but you will be caked in mud. The final obstacle is a giant mudput, covered by strands of barbed wire that force you to army-crawl through a pit of filth. You are only allowed to wash your face and hands after the race, so the rest of the time will be spent caked in mud.
Unless you’re like us, and you find a tiny water hole where everybody else as washed their filth off and you’re just bathing in nastiness.
We had about a 90-100-minute drive from home, so we had fun in the car blasting music and we motivated each other as we ran. The Dash has bands on site and offers you a free beer once you’ve finished.