Winnipeg is definitely not the ideal place to live and train for obstacle races. The terrain provides no playground for the obstacle racer and throws in extreme temperatures to battle through year round. Think Mars in the winter and the Sahara Desert in the summer. Here is a short list of strategies used by a prairie boy to help catapult you into your best 2016 obstacle racing season yet:
1. Replicate the mountain and other obstacles
Even though I do not live near a mountain to train on, I have found many different ways to make my legs feel as if I were on one. First and foremost, it’s crucial to teach your body to carry extra weight over extended periods of time and progress further into your lactic threshold. Make your workouts efficient by using interval training and see overall fitness improve. Whether it is a hill, a simple set of stairs or a bench, the opportunity awaits to push yourself beyond what you ever thought was possible. You may need to become as creative as the Jamaican bobsled team! If the will is there, the location doesn’t matter. Snow can feel like sand, hills can feel like mountains and stairs can become your Everest.
2. Don’t do the same exercises more than once a week
Make your workouts like your favourite buffet line. Never put the same food on your plate and always be willing to try new things. The more you are willing to experiment with new movements the better off you will be on race day. Without having the luxury of seeing the challenges you encounter on race day, it becomes crucial to have a balanced fitness approach. The right mix will allow you to move though any obstacle with confidence. Learning to train on your own and always pushing yourself will help to develop the mental strength which is required regardless of what race you enter. Plan, explore and be creative. Be constantly learning and always willing to challenge yourself.
3. Surround yourself by others that can teach you something
No matter what level you’re at, try to surround yourself with others who can push you outside of your comfort level. Whether it be the long distance runner or the professional rock climber, each can bring provide you with an opportunity to develop the skills obstacle racing demands. Although you may never be at their level, exposing yourself to train with them will make you stronger come race day. As Jim Rohn said: “You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.”
Mikhail Gerylo lives in Winnipeg Manitoba where he teaches Physical Education. He is constantly working to help students find a love for physical activity, learn valuable life lessons and discover something they can stay healthy with for their entire life. He has completed multiple Spartan races across all distances. Amongst the thousands of competitors in each race, Mikhail has yet to stay off the podium. He is undefeated in Manitoba and is ranked amongst the top 50 racers in the world. He continues to follow his “why” and push himself to be he best racer he can be. Follow or feel free to reach out at: