Health authorities have been alarmed by the injuries—and deaths—that have occurred during obstacle course races. Owners of obstacle course gyms say they are addressing the risks of these competitions by focusing on more extensive prerace training.
“We encourage people to train a lot further out from the event,” says Mylo Villanueva,
who started an obstacle course gym in Austin, Texas. “What we find is that people train only
2 weeks to a month before a Spartan Beast, which is 15 miles and includes 30-plus obstacles. I ask those clients, ‘How long would you train for a half marathon?’ And they say, ‘I train anywhere from 3 to 6 months.’”
“A Spartan Beast is longer and more intense than that, yet many people complete a more comprehensive training program before a half marathon,” he observes, baffled. It turns out that race organizers are wise to the problem.
“I’m being approached by various obstacle course organizers about this, because people are getting injured left and right,” he shares. “They have no clue how to do the obstacles, and they’re in poor shape. Yeah, Spartan Races get people off the couch, but people need to get off the couch months ahead of time.”
Villanueva works diligently to help his clients and members improve their fitness levels and understand the techniques required to navigate the obstacles, so they can complete a race as safely as possible.
For more information about obstacle course racing, plus a much wider discussion of the topic, please see “Thinking Outside the Gym Box” in the online IDEA Library or in the February 2015 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.