OCR Books (Obstacle Course Training Books)

As the sport of obstacle course racing (OCR) has grown into one of the most popular weekend activities authors have been sharing their knowledge with the world. Over the past couple of years a number of books have been published for athletes of all levels. Mud Run Guide has compiled a list of all the books currently available on OCR. Whether you are looking to jump into this muddy world for the first time or want to advance your existing knowledge there is a book for you. Two of the most popular books on the market were written by two of Mud Run Guide’s own Brett Stewart and Margaret Schlachter.

Training Books


Ultimate Obstacle Race Training

Ultimate Obstacle Race Training


Author: Brett Stewart

Published: November 24, 2012

From the publisher:

“Satisfy your hunger for adventure, quench that thirst for competition and prepare for the most fun you’ve ever had in the mud. Ultimate Obstacle Race Training introduces you to these exhilarating events with detailed descriptions of races for every level. Packed with easy-to-follow workouts and step-by-step instructions, this book will help you develop the speed and strength you’ll need to crush any obstacle. Using breakthrough obstacle-specific exercises and training techniques, you’ll be ready to dominate every course and celebrate as you cross the finish line.
• Leap over fiery logs through red-hot flames
• Crawl face-down under razor-sharp barbed wire
• Scramble 100 yards up a slick mud slope
• Scale a harrowing 25-foot cargo net
• Endure shocking cold in a frigid, full-body ice-bath
• Plummet out of control down a 50-foot water slide
• Swing high in the air across a maze of hanging bars”



9780804843911Obstacle Race Training: How to Beat Any Course…


Author: Margaret Schlachter

Published: April 20, 2014

From the publisher:

“The beauty of obstacle course racing is that it gets you out of your everyday routine and lets you experience life. If you are stuck in a cubicle or trapped in an urban jungle—congested traffic and crowds are your daily obstacles. Running an obstacle course race gives you the chance to get back to nature—to roll in it, get dirty, and tap into your primal self so you can experience life—in the raw, unedited and real.

Margaret Schlachter is one the foremost competitors in obstacle course racing today. She put together this simple guide to make your obstacle race experience everything it’s supposed to be—a test of your true self. She describes first-hand her personal training methods in learning to climb a rope, scale a wall, flip a tire, throw a spear, and carry a sandbag. More importantly, she provides guidance on how to get yourself mentally and spiritually prepared for the big day—and how to dig deep within yourself during a race to find the last ounce of strength to carry you across that finish line.” 

MRG Featured Review by Matt Matter

MRG Featured Review by Charity Fick


511yckp-lal-_sx324_bo1204203200_Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing: Training, Nutrition, and Motivation for Top-Level Performance


Author: Evan Perperis

Published: August 9, 2016

From the publisher: 

“Strength & Speed’s Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing is a comprehensive resource for the competitive OCR athlete. The book covers race preparation, training, offseason training, rest, recovery, nutrition, supplementation, techniques for maintaining motivation, and yearly scheduling. Included are twelve training plans that provide easy, medium, and hard difficulty schedules for everything from a 5K Warrior Dash to the ultra-distance World’s Toughest Mudder. The book concludes with interviews with some of the current best OCR athletes in the world including Hobie Call, Corinna Coffin, Marco Bedard, Claude Godbout, Cassidy Watton, and many more. Whether you are a high-level competitive racer looking to move higher up on the podium or an open wave competitor looking to conquer races with greater ease, this book has something for you.”


51wmcghkcdlThe Essentials of Obstacle Race Training


Author(s): David Magida & Melissa Rodriguez

Published: September 21, 2016

From the Publisher:

“Scaling walls, crawling through mud, climbing ropes, and sprinting across rugged terrain. Obstacle course racing is one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, and it’s gaining popularity around the world. The sport is grueling, demanding, and intensely satisfying if you prepare, train, and know what to expect.

Only The Essentials of Obstacle Race Training can ensure you will be ready. Authored by David Magida, founder of Elevate Interval Fitness and member of the Spartan Race pro team, and Melissa Rodriguez, former contributing editor for Mud & Obstacle magazine, this in-depth guide breaks down the events, obstacles, common difficulties, and strategies for negotiating all challenges. Most important, it presents the tools and the plan to prepare—physically and mentally—for the unforgettable adventure that awaits.”



Down & DirtyDown & Dirty


Author: Matt B. Davis

Published: July 15, 2014

From the publisher:

“Author Matt B. Davis offers an overview of the most popular races before tackling the most important concerns for any racer: preparation and training. Each obstacle-focused chapter will feature a leading obstacle race athlete who will offer expert advice on how to get prepared for your next race—whether it’s your first or you’re a recent devotee who wants to try them all. Because each race is different, this book will supply training advice for a variety of obstacles and races. “




Mud Guts & GloryMud, Guts & Glory


Author: Mark Hatmaker & Doug Werner

Published: August 1, 2013

From the publisher:

“This book provides an in-depth look at the training, gear, preparation, tactics, and logistics for making it through. After a brief overview of obstacle racing’s roots and development, the guide provides detailed information on the conditioning techniques required to prepare participants for the unusual demands of these courses.

The tactics section teaches specific techniques for climbing mud-covered ropes, fording swamps, mounting walls, executing an effective belly-crawl, and numerous other tips for the wild chaos that might ensue. A section on logistics gives insider tips concerning gear, lodging, building a team, and the ever-present problem of cleaning up. Whether racing for fun or in it to win it, Mud, Guts & Glory is the one-stop guide for enduring the race from start to finish.”



Obstacle Race Training BibleObstacle Race Training Bible


Author: James Villepigue

Published: December 4, 2012

From the publisher:

“Book includes…

Profiles of all the major races: running distance, obstacles involved, completion percentage, fitness level required, etc.

Obstacle overviews, including photos of what they look like, the mental and physical challenges involved, and the most effective strategies for completing them

Obstacle-specific exercises that condition participants for the strength, stamina, flexibility, and mental toughness needed to complete the obstacle

8-week training programs designed for complete novices, elite athletes, and everyone in between

Important information on what to wear, nutrition during training, and race day strategies”




Obstacle Run Training GuideObstacle Run Training Guide


Author: Jennifer Heard

Published: March 20, 2013

From the publisher:

“Get your body ready for obstacles run such as Tough Mudder, Spartan RaceWarrior Dash and many more. This 10-week guide will get you off the couch and ready to run, jump, climb your way through any series of obstacles. Included in this book are step by step instructions on a series of exercises designed to get your body ready for the demands of running across multiply terrains, hills, over and under obstacles. In this guide you will find, worksheets, strength training exercises, nutritious recipes and healthy eating tips, running guide to go from couch to 5 Km in 5 weeks, specific yoga poses to help the body stay stress-free and limber.”




Run, Jump, Climb and Crawl


Author: Jacob Salt-Berrymen

Published: July 16, 2013

From the publisher:

“A must read for anyone with a curious mind for obstacle racing, preparing for their first ever event, or for extreme mud-loving, obstacle racing addicts. Published by Central YMCA, the UK’s leading activity for health charity, and written by Jacob Salt-Berrymen, an experienced health and fitness instructor, this essential guide will ensure you are fully prepared for the obstacle race that lies ahead of you, complete with its crawling, jumping, dodging and electrifying obstacles! With something for everyone, Jacob’s advice covers everything you need to know to get you from your sofa to the finishing line, including what types of races to choose, what demands they will place on your fitness and your body, what obstacles you are likely to face and, vitally, how you can train for them. ” 



Books About Obstacle Course Racing

Screen-Shot-2014-11-29-at-3.46.11-PM.pngOff Course: Inside the Mad, Muddy World of Obstacle Racing Book Review


Author: Erin Beresini

Published: October 14, 2014

From the Publisher:

Off Course: Inside the Mad Muddy World of Obstacle Course Racing is a snapshot into the obstacle racing world in 2012. Author Erin Beresini chronicles her journey to the first Spartan Race Ultra Beast in 2012 intermixing her journey, the people she meets as well as research into how the top race companies began and the rivalries among them. The book is an excellent overview of the sport, it’s history, and the people who were around in the beginning of this sport. 

Featured Review by Margaret Schlatcher



spartanup-cover.pngSpartan Up!


Author: Joe De Sena

Published: May 13, 2014

From the Publisher:

“Twenty-six point two miles isn’t enough anymore. Obstacle course racing, which combines the endurance challenges of a marathon with the mind-bending rigors of overcoming obstacles along the way, is taking the world by storm. At the center of this phenomenon is Joe De Sena, the driving force behind the enormously popular Spartan Race. De Sena offers a simple philosophy: commit to a goal, put in the work, and get it done. From that philosophy, as played out first in his own life and now for millions across trails, through mud, and up mountainsides, Spartan Race was born.”



510fCvBwtbL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_Confessions of an Unlikely Runner


Author: Dana Ayers

Published: November 20, 2015

From the Publisher:
“Witty, observant, and full of cringe-worthy confessions and heartwarming encouragement, Confessions celebrates both running and life. Part Bridget Jones, part Forrest Gump, Dana Ayers chronicles her awkward mishaps and adventures in transitioning from childhood bookworm to accidental accomplished athlete.

Over the last ten years, Ayers has completed a vast array of races. She runs them all while admittedly not getting much faster, much thinner, or much more disciplined—though she has managed to be on national television, split open her pants, and get electrocuted. Ayers intersperses her hilarious yet relatable struggles with insights about how and why she keeps running. A self-proclaimed ambassador of slow runners, Ayers has completed dozens of endurance challenges, including Tough Mudder, the Ragnar Relay, Muddy Buddy, Warrior Dash, Run Amuck, the Army Ten-Miler, the Country Music Marathon, and many more mud runs, obstacles courses, and races.”