Obstacle Races: What You should Know Before Jumping Right In

Obstacle Races: What You should Know Before Jumping Right In

We’ve all seen the ads. the Tough Mudder, the Spartan Race, Rugged Maniac, etc. These types of races can truly be a lot of fun and serve as a great boost (or motivator) toward self -esteem. However, there are some hidden perils that aren’t really talked about.

Jumping Right In, Unprepared. The risk of Rhabdomyolysis

One big rookie mistake that some folks make is that they simply do not adequately prepare themselves for such a feat. There are a lot of other risks we’ll be getting into in this list. But one such risk that not a lot of people think of it the risk for rhabdomyolysis. This dangerous and organ damaging condition is caused by the traumatic breakdown of muscles, generally caused by the sudden introduction of strenuous activity the body is simply not prepared for and can cause muscle breakdown/death. This can lead to the buildup of waste in the kidneys.

Taking care to prepare your body for tackling a new and harsh on the muscles adventure can save on a lot of pain and unnecessary risks to your long term health. Create and follow and adequate training plan to give yourself the best shot possible.

Broken bones, stitches, concussions…oh my!

In races like these, it’s easy to end up a bit roughed up by the end. Scrapes, bruises, and cuts are relatively unavoidable. The emphasis of these races is to get through obstacles in a short amount of time. This can lead to what I refer to ‘user error’. You might not stick the landing on a floating platform and slip off, land awkwardly during a drop down from a given height, or you might be landed on. There are many scenarios where you could end up with a nagging or serious injury. Practice caution as best you can during these events by taking your time if you feel you have to.


With large crowds of people, crawling or running through mud and dirt, obstacle courses can be a breeding ground for potentially nasty viruses and infections. Add in the fact that these courses can pose the risks for creating open wounds and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. Be mindful when running these courses that if you have swallowed any water, or received a cut or scrape, you should get it tended to immediately to get the wound clean.

In the end, preparation and knowing when to tend to an injury is going to be key to safety during obstacle races. Research well before signing up for one so that you know how to properly train and and prepare. Most importantly, have fun! It may be tempting to go all out and set a PR right away, but taking it much too seriously can have a negative impact instead.

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