Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Taper for the Ruckus

You may be able to get away with procrastinating for high school exams, college finals or that big project you have to present to the company.  But when it comes to training for a  mud run or obstacle course, it’s important to not put off your training!  You simply can’t wait until the week before the competition or race to kick your training into high gear; in fact, you should be doing just the opposite.

What is taper?  
Following weeks of proper preparation, we suggest taking the seven days before your Ruckus run to practice what is known as tapering.  This means that instead of pushing your body to the limit right before race day, you should reduce the distance and volume you run to allow for optimum performance come race day. 

What are the benefits of tapering?
Tapering has not only physical, but mental advantages as well.  The final week spent tapering leads to improved muscle glycogen stores, expanded blood plasma and repaired connective tissue.  All of these things need “taper time” to build back up after intense training.  In addition, the week of relaxed training builds mental confidence for the impending race.

Big, fancy scientific terms aside, tapering is so effective because training usually involves working your body and mind to exhaustion daily, and not allowing time for full recovery.  We want to make sure that before taking on our challenging obstacles (especially all you with eyes set on the competitive Champions Heat), you are at the peak of your abilities.  You’ll need all the strength you can get!

How should I taper for the Ruckus? 
We suggest the following tapering plan for all of our serious Ruckus runners out there: 

  • Six and five days before competition, reduce your training distance and volume to 75%.
  • Four and three days prior, work at 50% of your training level.
  • On your last day of training, two days before Ruckus, take it easy at 25%. 

You will then want to completely take off the day prior to competition in order to give your body ample recovery time.  Then, come the next morning, you will be ready to have all of that training pay off.

For our future Boston Ruckus runners, your week of tapering will begin June 9, so make sure to continue your training, and the results will speak for themselves!  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ruckus: Coming to a Fit (and Fat) City Near You!

Do you live in a fit city? In recent years, a lot of focus has been placed on Americans’ waistlines. The main reason being that obesity dramatically affects a person’s overall health while increasing their chances of developing life threatening diseases like diabetes. Many attribute American’s weight gain to a sedentary lifestyle and love of fast-food.

Men’s Fitness magazine recently compiled a list of 25 of the fittest and fattest cities in the nation. Each list was based on a multitude of factors. The research yielded some interesting factors into what makes a “fat city”. Take, for example, #1 on the list—Houston. Thirty-four percent of its residence is overweight. That number becomes less shocking when you see the factors as to why:
  • The city lacks a comprehensive mass transit system that inherently adds more movement to a person’s day. It should also be noted that mass transit correlates to cleaner, more breathable air.
  • The city has over 1,034 fast-food restaurants (the most in the country).
  • Lastly, Houston’s environment plays a big role.  On average, the city experiences over 100 days of 90 degree plus temperatures along with relative humidity. That makes a workout in outdoors feel like a workout in a sauna.  Because of this, few make the effort to go out and be active.

When you look at the rest of the city on the “fat list”, it’s easy to see patterns like high number of fast-food restaurants, lack of mass transit and high use of cigarettes and alcohol. When combined with sedentary lifestyles, a recipe of self-destruction is born.

But what makes a fit city?

The obvious indicators are active citizens and an active culture. Upcoming Ruckus city, Boston, rounds out the top 5 fittest cities in America. Bostonians spend 92% less than the national average on fast-food. Boston also has an engaged mass transit system and active culture that keeps its residence on the move.

So does that mean that all of our Ruckus cities are “fit cities”? Not necessarily.

We are looking to help change the way America works out—in both the “fit” and “fat” cities.  We made sure to schedule Ruckus mud runs in a variety of cities—from the East to West coasts and all areas in between no matter “fit” or “fat” they may be.  As a matter of fact, three Ruckus cities are on the “fat” list (#20 Atlanta, #22 Kansas City, #23 St. Louis). Our goal here at Ruckus is to motivate communities by stimulating an active culture and showing how fun exercise can be! Just because these cities are on the fat list now doesn’t mean they’ll stay on the fat list forever! Bringing Ruckus to a city is the first step in the right direction! 

What cities should Ruckus come to next? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We’re Goin’ Bananas for these 5 Monkey Bar Workouts

When it comes to our Ruckus obstacle course, don’t play around about playing around! We take having fun while staying fit seriously, which is why we’ve designed one of the most engaging, entertaining and challenging mud run courses in the nation.

One thing that makes our course so unique is our Gorilla Bars, which are monkey bars all grown up! Although the Gorilla Bars are one of the most popular features of our obstacle course, people often comment about how it’s also one of the most difficult parts of Ruckus run.

Crossing the Gorilla Bars requires a lot of upper body and abdominal strength, and it’s best to train for the day you encounter them. But what’s the best way to train to tackle the Gorilla Bars?  Just head to your local playground! Next time you’re near a playground, head for the monkey bars and go bananas with these 5 monkey bar workouts:  

1. The Hold
Odds are that at some point in your life, you and some friends have had a competition to see who can hold themselves up the longest on the monkey bars. This is excellent training for Ruckus Gorilla Bars! All you need to do is hold your head above the bars for as long as you can. Try making a new record to brag about.

2. The Dip
Dips are a great, albeit challenging training exercise. Cross your legs at the ankle, hoist yourself up until your arms are straight, then slowly lower yourself down and repeat. You’ll find that the slower you go, the more you feel the burn. If you do multiple reps, you’ll definitely be preparing yourself for Ruckus domination.

3. Legs to Chest
Remember—monkey bar exercises aren’t just for your arms!  They’re for your core too.  While holding onto the monkey bars in a parallel position, slowly draw your knees toward your chest and back, repeating as necessary. This is perhaps one of the most challenging monkey bar exercises around, but with repeated reps, you’ll be ready for Gorilla Bars in no time!

4. The Spread Eagle
Starting with your legs dangling down toward the ground, slowly raise them up into a spread eagle position, lifting them as high as you can go or until parallel with the ground. A real leg and abdomen burner!

5. The Good Ol’ Pull-up
The pull-up is one of the most tried-and-true, time-tested exercises for training for the Gorilla Bars. See how many reps you can do, and within no time you will start to feel your arms getting stronger.  Don’t be frustrated if you can do only 1 or 2 at first.  Pull-ups take time to master.  Try to increase by 1 pull-up every week or so. 

With these awesome monkey bar exercises, you’ll have an edge over the competition in no time! And with all this training under your belt, odds are you have a higher chance of making it into the Champion’s Heat of Ruckus. We can’t wait to see you there!

We’re Boston-bound next!  Sign up for Ruckus Boston to test your mud run abilities.  Sign up here!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Big Running Question: Should I Train Through Injury?

Injuries.  They happen.  But they come with the territory of exercising and maintaining a physically fit lifestyle.  Participating in Ruckus could very cause a small injury or two, but what happens if you get injured before Ruckus...or any other running event for that matter? 

An injury can just be a setback and not a reason to give up on your training.  Sure, Ruckus is a race, so you are running (at your own pace!), but that doesn’t mean the only worthwhile training is jogging.  If you suffer an injury leading up to your 2013 Ruckus event, here are some ways you can continue preparation for your fun in the mud.

Trying Biking
Many are convinced that biking is the best training option for injured runners.  The best part about biking is that you have the option of using a stationary bike or riding on a trail in the fresh air.  Your legs are still the primary recipients of the strength training, and like running workouts, you have the option of doing intervals or a pedaling at long, steady pace.

Water Works
Constant pounding from running on grass or concrete can take a toll on a runner’s calves and shins.  If you are sore from this, try doing some pool exercises.  Running in the water offers resistance for strength building without the wear and tear on your legs.  Swimming laps is also a great cardio work out and strengthens the upper- and lower-body.  Plus, you might be swimming in some mud, so you want to master that breaststroke!

Efficient Elliptical
One of the most common machines at your local gym, the elliptical is a great alternative to running.  The motion closely mimics your running form, but does not require any impact.  Another advantage of the elliptical is that you can choose to work harder on your legs or arms, as both are used to power the machine. 

Pain, Pain Row Away
Few people have access to an actual in-water rowing machine, but the machine at your gym will do just fine.  This is a fantastic exercise for building muscle in the quadriceps and hips, which will be very helpful when attacking Ruckus’ climbing walls, cargo nets and numerous other obstacles.  However, this machine is often used incorrectly, so either study the proper form or ask a trainer for some pointers.

Stair Strength
Much like Sisyphus having to roll a boulder up a never-ending hill, the Stairmaster can be depressing.  But if you can look past its monotony and challenges, you’ll realize how good of a workout stair climbing can be, especially when nursing an injury.  Runners tend to have strong hamstrings, but the muscles targeted on the stairs are the quadriceps and hip flexor, which will lead to better muscle balance. 

So if you think your injury is holding you back from being a RuckStar, think again.  Try these running substitutes and find the one that works best for you, and you’ll be ready come race day!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is Ruckus for Kids Too? (Here’s a Hint...Yes!)

We make no secret of the fact that Ruckus is the premier family-friendly event for runners of all ages. We’re good, muddy fun for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you’re 2 or 92 years old, we welcome all ages!

We get a lot of parents who participate in the mud run, and we see a lot of children standing on the sidelines, cheering on parents, family members and older siblings. While each family’s decision about what age is appropriate to participate in is their own to make, there is an increasing number of children participating in running activities and races.

According to, there are 364 running events just for kids and 255 running events for families throughout the U.S. just this month! From Los Angeles to Boston and all cities in between, there are so many opportunities for kids and families to get active together. 

The great thing about family friendly events is that portions, if not its entirety, are tailored to kids. A 6 year-old in St. Louis recently ran a marathon over the course of 9 months in half-mile intervals. The marathon was tied to a reading program in which the participants read 26 books and performed 26 good deeds. Events like this encourage learning and responsibility while respecting a child’s natural limitations.

Just as with adults, there is an abundance of children’s running gear that has come to market in the past decade. It is important to provide any young runner with the proper shoes and running gear as soon as they start their running career.  That’s right—no more light up Elmo sneakers for these Mini RuckStars!

When we say Ruckus is for everyone, we really mean it! When kids are given the chance to exceed expectations, they always surprise us. We look forward to seeing you and the whole family (grandma too!) at the next Ruckus event.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Swap Your Cover Photo for a Chance to Win a Free Ticket to Ruckus Boston!

Want to win a free ticket to Ruckus Boston?  Now's your chance!  Simply swap out your Facebook cover photo for our Ruckus image (above) and you could win!  Here's what you need to do:
  • Upload the image (above) as your Facebook cover photo
  • Tag Ruckus Sports in the photo
  • Leave a comment here
  • If you win, we will notify you via Facebook!
Many will enter, only 5 will win.  So what are you waiting for?  Swap out your cover photo and show your Ruckus pride!  It may earn you a free ticket (or a reimbursement if you've already purchased your ticket) to Ruckus Boston on June 15 & 16.  Good luck!

Follow us on Twitter too! @RuckusSports

Boston, Ruckus is Headed Your Way!

With the first of the 2013 Ruckus runs now in the books, we look forward to the next location: Boston!  Yes, we are headed eastward to bring the mud, obstacles and fun to one of the busiest and coolest cities in the nation. 

With just over two months before the big dates (yes, there are heats on both June 15 and June 16), there is still time to get to training, and more importantly, sign up.  Spots are filling up quickly, so get your team together (or sign up individually) and select your heat time.

Ruckus Boston has a little bit of something for everyone – Ruckus Mini for the kids, the 2-mile Heater race for competitors of all skill levels, and the taxing 4-mile Challenge, in which the top 10% of finishes from each division compete in a Champions heat.

We can’t wait to see you out at the Marshfielfd Fieldgrounds in mid-June where you will officially become a RuckStar!  Sign up today for Ruckus Boston.