Raising a Ruckus: Obstacle Race Training is Seriously Fun Workout Motivation

Here’s the funny thing about committing to a better fitness life… As your workouts begin to work, and your goals of weight loss and strength gain come to life, you start looking beyond just working out, seeking exciting new ways to motivate and challenge your healthy body.  Many people sign up for a 5k or a bike race, both excellent goals worth training for, but there’s another option. A muddy, muddy, muddy option: Ruckus.

Koko FitClub Trains for RuckusRuckus is a fun, challenging, family-friendly obstacle race that combines trail running with world class obstacles. Think rope swings, barricades to scale, authentic cargo nets to climb, tire fields to scramble across, humongous dirt walls and muddy craters to slosh through. Good, (not so) clean, fun and a great cardiovascular and functional fitness challenge. (Did I mention the mud?)

Anyone who consistently follows the Koko Smartraining protocol of 3-4 strength sessions and 3-5 cardio sessions weekly should have a solid training foundation for a 2-4 mile Ruckus course.  With a little extra work, and a pair of sneakers you don’t mind ruining in the mud, you can be on your way to enjoying this fun personal challenge, too.

Koko FitClub Ruckus Team Boston

I did my first Ruckus Boston event on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in 2012. Although I registered and trained for the 2-mile obstacle course, I somehow found myself in a 4-mile heat on race day. I went for it, finishing the event in about 75 minutes. Some of the obstacles were pretty challenging, but with Smartraining, I was prepared.

Now, we have a team of 15 KokoNuts from Koko FitClub of Northern Virginia participating in Ruckus DC later this month, and there’s talk of another Team Koko rockin’ the Ruckus Fall 5k in Boston this November. Here is some personal advice to them, and for anyone considering an obstacle race like Ruckus:

  • If you feel like you can’t do a particular obstacle, if you are tired and feel as though you’re running on empty, skip the obstacle. It’s OK, you will not be penalized in any way. They want you to have fun. Don’t hurt yourself.
  • To train for the running, I did an 8-week interval program on my own plus a few Koko cardio sessions each week for a few months prior to the race. You should be able to run the distance of the Ruckus course comfortably.
  • As for the obstacle course, my best advice is get to Koko FitClub for total body strength training 3 times a week for a minimum of 4-8 weeks  (my programs Born to Run or the 21-day Fat Burn Booster are perfect primers for Ruckus). If your upper body needs more work, increase your strength training frequency to every other day until race day. Wean off a few days prior to the race, though, and take it easy to give muscles a rest.
  • Push the healthy carbs, get plenty of sleep, and hydrate well in the 2-3 days prior to the race.
  • Remember to go at your own pace, especially if you’re running with a bunch of friends. Pacing is key for this type of race – you can get caught up in all the hoopla of the day with thousands of people participating and cheering. Just take your time.
  • Remember to bring an extra pair of sneakers and clothes with you on race day. You can hose yourself off and change your shoes after the race.
  • My post recovery fuel was a banana, a whey protein drink and lots of water.  If you can stick around for the post-race festivities, you should. It’s a great time meeting other friendly people who are fired up about your shared accomplishment. (Just remember: water first…then beer.)
  • The Little Ruckers obstacle course for kids looked awesome, too. Great way for families to participate together.

If you are interested in trying Ruckus DC for yourself, Koko FitClub members can get $15 KokoNut at Ruckus Bostonoff registration with the code KOKOFIT. Register today as part of the Koko Adventure Team at http://www.runruckus.com/pages/ruckus-dc.

Have fun, wear your orange with pride, and stay Koko Strong!!!

Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer
Koko FitClub


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About Michael Wood, Chief Fitness Officer
Michael Wood, CSCS, is Chief Fitness Officer at Koko FitClub, driving the development of integrated strength and cardio training and nutrition programs for Koko members nationwide. A nationally acclaimed fitness expert, Michael has conducted research as a Senior Exercise Physiologist at the Nutrition, Exercise Physiology and Sarcopenia Laboratory at the Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, and has lectured at Boston University and the University of Connecticut. He has been named Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” Personal Trainer, and made the Men’s Journal “Dream Team” list of the nine best trainers in the U.S. Michael and his family live in North Attleboro, MA.

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