A host of the world’s top athletes compete in obstacle course racing (OCR), outdoor competitions designed to test mental and physical fortitude. Guys who aren’t running through hilly terrain for sport do mud runs for their own reasons, like boosting fitness or putting some adrenaline behind their weight-loss efforts.

Whether you’re prepping for your first mud run or you're a seasoned OCR vet, this workout plan will help you develop the necessary strength and conditioning to improve your time.

“OCR is a test of your raw talent as an athlete,” says Hunter McIntyre, a top-ranked Spartan Race competitor. “I try to find circuits that are going to break down my entire body because that's what happens during courses.” Follow this intense training guide to breeze through your mud run and be ready for more at the finish line.

DIRECTIONS

If you’ve already tried a mud run and you’re in good shape, you need four solid weeks of training. If you’ve never run a race, train for 90 days. A beginner should train three days a week, each labeled A, B, and C.

An elite athlete should complete five workouts a week, each A, B, and C but with different workouts for the repeating letters. “A” day is endurance training, “B” is strength training, and “C” is a hybrid of strength and cardio conditioning. Each day has a couple of options, so this gives you seven workouts total.

Mud run training plan

DAY I

OPTION A: Sprint/Burpee Intervals + Lunging for Distance

Run 400 meters around track
Do 10 burpees

Advanced: Set timer and aim to complete sprint + burpees within 3 minutes
Intermediate: Set timer and aim to complete sprint + burpees within 4 minutes
Beginner: Set timer and aim to complete sprint + burpees within 5 minutes

Repeat 6-8 times. Rest 5 minutes between sets.

Walking Forward Bodyweight Lunge
Advanced: Lunge all the way around track
Intermediate: Lunge for 200 meters
Beginner: Lunge for 100 meters

OPTION B: Sprint for Distance

1000-meter sprint
Rest: 2 min.
800-meter sprint
Rest: 90 sec.
600-meter sprint
Rest: 60 sec.
400-meter sprint
Rest: 30 sec.
200-meter sprint

DAY II

OPTION A: 5-rep max powerlifting

Perform dynamic and static stretching first. Throughout the workout, use the heaviest weight you can to get 5 reps with perfect form. Rest as needed between the sets. The workout takes me an hour and 15 minutes to complete.

1. Back Squat
Sets: 5
Reps: 5

2. Push Press
Sets: 5
Reps: 5

2. Deadlift
Sets: 5
Reps: 5

OPTION B: Modified "Fran"

Do 5 barbell thrusters and 5 pullups every minute for 20-30 minutes.

How to doa barbell thruster: Grab a barbell and hold it at your upper chest as if you were going to do a front squat. Squat down into a front squat position and thrust yourself up with as much power as possible, pressing arms overhead. Bring bar back down to upper chest. That’s one rep.

How to train for a mud run

DAY III

Option A: "Helen"

Do 3 rounds for time:
Run 400 meters
21 Kettlebell Swings
12 Pullups

Option B: Rowing

5 rounds with perfect form:
Row 500 meters
Bench press your bodyweight 10 times

Option C: AMRAP

Do as many reps as possible for 20 minutes of:
8 medicine ball slams using 70-80 lb med ball
10 pullups
400-meter sprint