Obstacle Race Training Plan – Short Distance


  •  6 week, 5 days per week
  • Designed to maximize performance in short distance obstacle races
  • Running emphasis, with some strength and work capacity work
  • This training plan is one of the 200+ Plans included with an Athlete’s Subscription.


6-Week Training Plan (30x total training sessions) specifically designed to prepare athletes for shorter obstacle races (3-5 miles). Begin this program 6.5 to 7 weeks before the event to allow for 3-5 rest days before the event.

This training program has a significant running emphasis, but also includes focused strength training and multi-modal work capacity efforts.




1. Mini Events: Every other week, starting with Day 1, you will perform a 1-hour event that mimics the difficulty of the Spartan Sprint race. The only equipment you will need is a 40 or 60# Sandbag and the venue you choose should also have a pull-up bar (most high school tracks or city parks have one). You should view these as fun assessments that gauge your current fitness and allow you to analyze your relative weaknesses and strengths. You will be fresh for these events, so run them as you would the actual event.

Additionally, all Mini Event circuits should be done without stopping or using rest intervals. Each event is constant movement.

2. Strength + Work Capacity Circuit: These sessions are designed with the goal of achieving strength above and beyond what is required for obstacle race events. They are based on foundational lifts, such as Power Cleans, Front Squats, and Push Press. Strength components are followed by circuit- based work capacity efforts designed to prepare you for the various obstacles, hardships, and energy systems you will need for the event.

3. Endurance:  These days will prepare you for 3 mile runs.

4. Core Strength: Most obstacles are designed to be unstable. The key component for mounting and overcoming these obstacles is a strong core that can achieve both 1) a solid transmission of power for movement and stability and 2) protection for vulnerable limbs should you fall. Core Strength will not be done exclusively on these days – it’s important and so the core is trained at least 3x per week. Days that are dedicated entirely to Core Strength should be viewed at recovery sessions of a sort and should take less than 45 minutes.

5. Durability
Durability is trained daily in this program. Take these circuits seriously and train them with focus. The Durability circuits at the end of each session purposefully train movement patterns and stabilizer muscles that will protect you and aid in injury prevention.



How long should the training sessions take?
Session times will last 60 minutes. Some Speed Development sessions may go to 70 min.

Some of the circuits are loaded heavier later in the program, what if I can’t handle the weight?
The prescribed weight is for most people. Various factors affect what you can do, so err on the safe side. If you feel tired or that your movement is degrading, drop weight by 10# and try again. Repeat as needed until you are at a safe weight. Train you body with the movement, not the weight.

I train at a Globo-Gym and can’t use more than one rack at a time, and sometimes all the racks are taken. What should I do?
All of the circuits are done using one barbell, body weight, and a set of dumbbells or kettlebells, so you don’t need more than one rack. If all the racks are taken, you can substitute barbell movements with dumbbells (Thrusters become DB Thrusters @ 25# – it’ll still hurt, promise). Questions about substitutions, if needed, should be directed to rob@mountainathlete.com.

How come there are different loads listed for some exercises?
The lighter load is for women, the heavier load is for men. So if the training session prescribes “10x Scotty Bobs @ (15/25#),” women use 15# dumbbells, men use 25# dumbbells.

What if I miss a training day?
Ideally, you will train 5 days in a row, and take 2 full days off for rest. If for some reason miss a session,  do not skip ahead. Start again where you left off and complete the sessions in order throughout the plan.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE

Can I see sample training?
Yes. Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.

How do I access the plan?
You can access the plan via username and password either through our website or through our app (Mtn Tactical Fitness) available for IOS and Android.

Can I print out sessions to take to the gym?
Yes – you can print a week of programming at a time

More Questions? Email coach@mtntactical.com

Required Equipment

- Fully equipped gym, whether that be a globo-gym, garage gym, or otherwise, e.g. 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s, CrossFit, etc.
- Track or trail of a known distance. (400m track, indoor track, marked trail)
- 40# (females) or 60# (males) sandbag

Sample Training

Session 7

Obj: Endurance


Run 6 miles in 48 min.

(2) 3 Rounds
5x Shoulder Scarecrow (unloaded)
3x Floor Slide
Instep Plus Stretch
Session 8

Obj: Core Strength

4 Rounds
Run 200m (30 seconds on treadmill)
8x Push-ups
8x Squats
4x Pull-ups
Hip Flexor Stretch


4 Rounds
20/20 Standing Founder
20/20 Low Back Lunge
20/20 Kneeling Founder
10x Kettlebell Hinge Lift (12/16#)

(2) 3 Rounds
5x Y + L @ 2.5#
3x Shoulder Sweep
Session 9

Obj: Speed Development


Run 1 mile at an 8 min. mile pace
Rest 4 min.


(1) 4 Rounds
Run 800m in <2:45 min.
Rest 3 min.

8 Rounds
Run 400m in < 90 sec.
Rest 90 sec.

(3) 3 Rounds
HUG Stretch
3x Floor Slide
Instep Stretch
3x Floor Mantis
Session 10

Obj: Strength


4 rounds
Barbell Complex (45/65)
Instep Plus Stretch + Hip Flexor


9 Rounds
2x Power Clean + Push Press - increase load until 2x is difficult but doable
Lat+Pec Stretch

6 Rounds
4x Front Squat - increase load until 4x is difficult but doable
2x Box Jumps (20/24”)
3x Floor Slides

5 Rounds Every 60 sec
6x Thrusters (45/65#)
6x Renegade Rows(15/25#)

4 Rounds
5x GHD Sit-ups
5x Russian Twist (15/25#)
10x Face Down Back Extension
30/30 Side Bridge
Session 11

Obj: 1 hour Mini-Event

(1) 6 Rounds for Time
Run 400m
5x Pull-ups
10x Plank Walk-ups
15x Sandbag Get-ups (40/60#)
20x Toes to Sky

Run 400m*
Alligator Push-ups
Squat Jumps
Sandbag Back Squats (40/60#)

*Each Round, run 400m once, then do the exercises at the prescribed numbers, e.g.:
Run 400m
12x Alligator Push-ups
12x Squat Jumps
12x Grasshoppers
12x Sandbag Back Squats (40/60#), then

Run 400m
11x Alligator Push-ups
11x Squat Jumps
11x Grasshoppers
11x Sandbag Back Squats (40/60#), then

Run 400m
10x Alligator Push-ups
10x Squat Jumps
10x Grasshoppers
10x Sandbag Back Squats (40/60#), and so on...

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1)  Mission Direct

Gym numbers mean nothing. All that matters is mission performance. 

To this end, MTI’s fitness solutions and programming are not boxed in by convention, tradition, orthodoxy, public opinion or any other artificial constraint driven by inside or outside forces.

We begin with the raw fitness demands of the mission and build a fitness solution which directly prepares the athlete for those demands.


2) Fitness Solutions Built from the Ground Up

MTI’s programming is not “re-tread” bodybuilding, football, CrossFit, kettlebell, strength or general fitness programming. We’ve built our fitness programming for mountain and tactical athletes from the ground up.

The Fluid Periodization methodology we deploy to concurrently train multiple fitness attributes is completely original and has continued to evolve and improve over the years.

Our mid-section training methodology, Chassis Integrity, is also original, as is our endurance programming, 7 strength training progressions, tactical agility, and work capacity programming.

Our mountain sports pre-season training plans, tactical PFT, selection, school, course, and fitness improvement training plans across military, LE and Fire Rescue are MTI-developed, tested and athlete-proven.

Over the years hundreds of athletes and coaches have taken our advanced programming and unit fitness leader programming courses and MTI is widely recognized within the mountain and tactical professions and fitness media as a thought leader in fitness programming for military and tactical athletes.


3) The MTI Method

→ Research: MTI begins program design with extensive research of the fitness demands of the mission, sport or event, identifies the exercises and progressions which sport-specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the training plan.

→ Deploy & Assess: We deploy the training plan “Lab Rats” at our Wyoming facility. Training session and cycle issues are identified and fixed as we work through the training plan. Post cycle we assess the programming’s effectiveness and efficiency. We keep the stuff that works, and fix or toss the stuff that doesn’t.

→ Publish & Assess Again: Plan is published for purchase as an individual training plan and made available to our subscribers. Feedback/results are assessed.

→ Iterate: We take what we learn from lab rats and athletes, re-visit, update and improve already published training plans. Several of our individual training plans are on their 4th or 5th version.


4) Mission-Direct Research

MTI exists to “Improve Mountain and Tactical Athletes mission performance and keep them safe.” To that end, we have developed a unique research methodology aimed at identifying real world areas of improvement and identifying immediately deployable mission-direct solutions. Click HERE to learn more about MTI’s Mission-Direct Research methodology, and Here to read about just few of our research efforts.

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Our stuff works. Weekly we receive unsolicited reviews of our programming and testimonials to its effectiveness.


6) Programming Breadth

MTI’s library of 200+ sport-specific fitness plans for mountain and tactical athletes is unmatched. Resources range from specific programming for tactical special forces selections, to specific plans for climbing Rainier and Denali, to general fitness solutions such as running improvement, to post-rehab from injury.

Over the past decade, MTI has partnered with hundreds of athletes throughout their individual mountain and tactical careers, and provided fitness solutions as they face new mountain objectives, tactical schools, selections, PFTs and deployments, and came back from injury.


7) Worldwide Influence

Our work is not limited to US Athletes.

We’ve developed selection-specific training plans for Canadian, UK, Australian and German Special Forces Selections and worked with individual military personnel from Scandinavia, South, and Central America.

Canadian, Australian, UK and western European law enforcement and fire/rescue athletes have used MTI programming for mission-direct fitness.

On the mountain side, Alpinists from Japan to Slovakia have consulted with MTI and used MTI’s programming to prepare for mountain objectives.


8) Mission Performance beyond Fitness

MTI’s exists is to improve Mission Performance for mountain and tactical athletes and keep them safe. 

This focus on “mission direct” solutions, enhancements and improvements drives our work and research and extends beyond fitness solutions to include training, leadership, gear, team culture, and safety. 

Fitness is just one area of our work.

Our non-fitness research has included tactical cultures, combat uniforms, and gore-tex performance, and effect of stress on marksmanship.

Our work on defining what it means to be a Quiet Professional has had penetrating influence and driven healthy conversations with both mountain and tactical professionals.


9) Direct, Honest, Clear Answers

Since 2007 we’ve taken and answered dozens of questions weekly from mountain and tactical athletes. We’ve saved these individual Q&A’s and now thousands are archived on our site.

We’re not salesmen, and our answers are noted for their directness, honesty, and clarity. Our stuff isn’t for everyone. If we can help, we’ll let you know. If we can’t, we’ll let you know that, too.

– Rob Shaul, Founder


All of the Above is Backed Up By Our Promise: Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

Our Stuff Works. Guaranteed.

By Rob Shaul

I received notes frequently from athletes hesitant to purchase a subscription or training plans asking me to sell them on why they should make the purchase.

While I understand the question, I’m not a salesman – so I can’t put a hard sale on anyone for our programming.

I can tell them the process we go through to design our programming.

We begin with extensive research on the fitness demands of the event, identify the exercises and progressions which sport specifically meet those demands, chose end-of-cycle goals, and program backward to design the plan.

Then we test the cycle on ourselves and our lab rats here in Wyoming. We document, note what works and doesn’t work, re-assess, and make changes and modifications.

Then we publish the programming in the form of one of our plans or as part of our subscription daily training sessions for tactical and mountain athletes.
We don’t stop there – our daily programming is the “tip of the spear” for our programming evolution. We use these sessions to learn and make continuous improvement.

As we learn more and improve, we go back, and update the sport-specific training plans on the website. For example, we’re currently on Version 5 of our Ruck Based Selection Training Plan and Version 3 of our Dryland Ski Training Plan and Version 4 of our Big Game Back Country Hunting Training Plan.

We understand our programing isn’t cheap, but we believe it’s a great value. The $79 for the Ruck Based Selection Training Plan, and $39 for the Dryland Ski Training Plan reflect the, research, work, innovative theory, iteration, testing and feedback we’ve put in and received to make these plans effective.

All that matters for us is outside performance, and we feel strongly that Our Stuff Works in the real world.

Here’s our guarantee:

1) Individual Training Plan Purchase:
If you purchase an individual training plan, follow it as prescribed before your season/event/pft/selection, and if you don’t feel you were physically ready for your season/event/pft/selection, and/or didn’t see dramatic improvements in your early season performance, we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

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If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

Email: rob@mtntactical.com


Do you have any reviews or testimonials from athletes who have used your Athlete’s Subscription
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Is it true you guarantee your stuff works?
Yes. If you purchase an Athletes’ Subscription, follow the training sessions as prescribed, and are not satisfied with the quality of the programming, notify us within 30 days of purchase, and we’ll refund your money, no questions asked.

How is MTI programming different than CrossFit?
This is a common question. Read our answer HERE.

You have a lot of competitors. Why should I choose MTI?
MTI is driven to improve mountain and tactical athletes’ mission performance and keep them safe. This emphasis and focus on mission performance sets us apart. Read about more that sets us apart HERE.

If I purchase a plan or subscription, how do I access the programming?
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You can log in through our →Website  or Mobile App →IOS and Android.

Do you have downloadable .pdf’s of the training plans?
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If I purchase a subscription and have questions about where to start or what plans(s) to use for my goals, will you help?
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If you add new plans or update existing plans after I subscribe will I have access to them?
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What Equipment is Required?
Click the “Required Equipment” tab to find out what equipment is required for the specific plan you are interested in.

Where do I find unfamiliar exercises?
See our Exercise Library HERE. The Run and Ruck Calculators are listed as exercises.

What about nutrition?
See our Nutritional Guidelines HERE.

Can I see sample training?
Click the “Sample Training” tab to see the entire first week of programming.
You are encouraged to do it before purchasing.

What if I have more questions?
Email rob@mtntactical.com

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This Plan is one of 200+ plans included in the Athlete’s Subscription.