5k Obstacle Race Training Plan

Get that upcoming obstacle race locked down with Unbound's beginner-friendly training plan

“This training plan is aimed at anyone with a very basic level of fitness who fancies giving a 5k obstacle race a bash,” says leading strength and conditioning coach Jonny Jacobs. “It’ll build up your running level over eight weeks, enabling you to go from someone who’s puffing after a 1k jog to being able to cover 5k while barely breaking sweat. It includes one bodyweight circuit training session a week and two runs.”

Glossary of terms

Circuit training

A number of different exercises, performed one after another, with little rest in-between.


Start in the same position as a press-up. Keeping your feet together and hands on the floor, jump your feet forward so that your knees are against your chest. Then jump to your feet and up into the air, hands above your head. For an easier burpee, don’t jump when upright; to make it harder, add a press-up first. For expert advice, see the Unbound burpee guide here.

Squat thrust

Same as a burpee, except without the standing up or jumping.  A press-up position, feet together, jump till your feet are under your chest, then jump back, keeping your bum from rising too high. For more tips on how to get your squat to thrust without injury, see our tips here.


Stand tall with feet apart, chest out and stomach in. Push your hips back as if sitting down, bending your knees as you lower yourself, keeping your chest lifted and your stomach in. Keep your weight on your heels to stop yourself losing balance and falling forward. For more guidance on the correct way to squat, head over to our dedicated Hints and Tips page here.

Mind coaching

Use ‘chunking’

“The good thing about obstacle courses is that they’re broken up into sections, so your concentration is constantly shifting,” says top sports psychologist and space physiologist, Julia Attias. “This means there’s less likelihood of boredom and more of time passing quickly.

“Use self-talk tactics such as, ‘I won’t be doing this activity for long, because I’ll be doing something else soon.’ During training, this will help break your activities down into segments, making them easier to internalise.”

Have fun

“These events are great fun and can bring you back to your childhood,” says Attias. “Embrace this: smile and make sure you enjoy the experience, as this attitude will ensure you look back on it and laugh.”

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