Camp Pendleton Mud Run, How To Train For A Race

On A Personal Note: The 2014 Camp Pendleton Mud Run

I really hate running. Out of all the things fitness related it probably ranks up there as one of the things I look forward to the least (okay, maybe burpees). Ironically, I love mud runs. Something about them makes it not seem like just straight forward running to me. Maybe it brings me the competitive drive for me to compete with myself. This year I plan on once again doing the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. Here’s how I plan on beating my time from last year.

The 2014 Camp Pendleton Mud Run

In 2013, after rupturing my appendix, I decided it would be a fun challenge to start training for the Camp Pendleton Mud Run. I only had about thirty days to train for the race but I ended up beating my 2009 race time (1:42 minutes) and set a new time of 1:14 minutes. So this year my goal is to beat that time. Luckily, I’ve had a lot more time to prep for it and here’s how I plan on doing it.

The Run Itself

Running – the boring part in my opinion. Luckily, San Diego is a city that has quite a few views to enjoy while running outside. To get my running up, I start out at a basic five miles – while this may not be a good starting point for the average person, it works for me. The main idea is you want to start somewhere, then increase the distance. So I go from five, to six, to seven, and so on. Each run is longer than the last. I’ll do one to two runs for distance in a seven day period (with about four days in between to allow for recovery). The Camp Pendleton Mud Run is 10K (6.2 miles) so my goal is to work up to about nine miles so that when race day comes, the 10K feels like a breeze. Aside from distance running I also do…

Hill Sprints

As much fun as hill sprints aren’t, I love them more than just flat out running. Hill sprints are metabolically taxing and great prep for mud runs. We have a hill here in San Diego that I love: Cowles Mountain. It’s a round trip of three miles from bottom to top and has an elevation climb of about 1000 feet (500ft at the bease to almost 1500 ft peak). For this specific run I’ll be aiming for three times up to the top and back. I like to do interval sprints: thirty second runs followed by thirty second walking then repeat. Want better looking legs? Try hill sprints.

Burpees

What I love about mud runs is the structure of mixing up traditional running with trails and military style obstacles. It throws boring right out the window. The thing with going from straight running to an obstacle is that it taxes other parts of your body other than your legs. To adjust your body needs to compensate by delivering oxygen to your WHOLE body, not just your legs. One way to do that is to consider exercises that tax your body and your metabolic system. Burpees are the perfect way to do that. I’ll be honest, I hate burpees and I normally don’t do them unless I have to. But for mud runs, my goal is to get as good as possible at burpees. To get better at burpees aim for a weekly goal. Throw these in to your workout somewhere three times a week:

Week 1: 10 burpees for five sets with one minute of rest in between
Week 2: 15 burpees for five sets with one minute of rest in between
Week 3: 20 burpees for five sets with one minute of rest in between
Week 4: 25 burpees…
Week 5: 30 burpees…

I Can’t Forget About Strength Training

I generally like to cycle through certain cycles: resistance, strength, power. One thing with increased cardio in my workout regimens is that I lose some of the strength gains that I’ve made. On my non-cardio days I’ll spend that time working on strength so that I won’t have any major regressions. I’ll focus on the basic positions: pulling (pullups), pushing (bench presses), and pressing (squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses). Strength is the name of the game here – low reps with high weight.

And The Most Important Thing….

Stretching. I can’t forget about the stretching. Your best workout is only as good as your flexibility. Without increasing your stride length, without keeping your muscles at an optimal tension, without working on hip flexibility all is lost (at least in my opinion). Things I do to keep me limber: foam rolling and multiple types of stretching (see posts for further descriptions). The only way to make sure my running pace is as effective as possible is to make sure I’m as “loose” as possible. The same goes for my strength. It’s ironic to me how many people spend so much time on the “working out” part but have so many issues with the flexibility part. Ever watch a professional athlete before they go into the big game? They don’t go straight into the big game. They spend at least an equal amount of time prepping for it when it comes to keeping limber.

Summing It All Up:

So after all is said and done there’s only really four components to training for a mud run:

1. Flexibility
2. Endurance
3. Strength
4. Metabolic Conditioning

It’s really not that hard, is it?

What’s your preferred method for mud run training?


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