Since I've been primal, I have completed two 5k Obstacle Runs (Warrior Dash-55min and Champions MudBash-39min). I did not really train for either. I signed up for another in October (Iron Mudder), and I want to train for it, but I don't like the chronic cardio approach. Do you think since it's a relatively short distance I could successfully train for it following the primal blueprint approach (walk, sprint, and lift) or is some longer-distance running important?
Also, anyone think these races are anti-primal because of the distance? (Even if they are, I will continue to do them periodically because they are fun--but I'm curious.) I would like my exercise lifestyle to be as primal as possible, while still getting me to a point where I can complete one of these in 25-28 minutes. (This would be a hell of a feat for me, since the best time I have ever had for an individual mile was when I was in high school--around 8:45.)
I knocked a massive amount of time off my 5k (currently at 20:21) with nothing but lifting and sprinting/HIIT. Especially for something like an obstacle course where you'll be able to "rest" between running pieces, faster and shorter should be fine. What might be best is a combination of sprints and circuits, in order to get used to using your muscles when winded, and running on worked muscles.
Short answer, not running 5ks to prepare for 5 k events based on the idea that paleolithic man didn't do this makes about as much sense as not swinging a bat while hoping to learn how to hit home runs does since Paleo man didn't have bats. Its a sporting event that you need to train for specifically, yes of course you want to sprint, lift and walk as well. Thats the best way to prepare your body for GENERAL fitness, However when you decide you want a Specific Preparedness it needs to include training that is well SPECIFIC to that event. How you allocate your training time depends on your current level of sport performance and how much general fitness versus specific you desire.
It's my understanding that a 5K run is nowhere near approaching "chronic cardio". 5K is a very short distance, really. I think sometimes people go overboard with the cardio-hate, leading to questions like "Is walking for an hour a day/running 10 miles a week too much cardio?"
If you like the running and feel fine, I say go for it.
I'm preparing for one too, and my thoughts are that you need to know, confidently, that you can bang out that distance. 2-3 days a week of moderate cardio isn't excessive, and let's not forget that cardio has significant health benefits too, as long as you don't go overboard.
So I say do whatever races you like. They serve to keep things fun and interesting. But yeah, run the distance at least once or twice to be sure.
I'm more worried about the obstacles in the Warrior Dash. Any advice for how/what to workout ahead of time?
Chronic cardio is loosely defined as 45-60 minutes a day of intense aerobic exercise... Sometimes intense is defined as 75% or more of max heart rate. I think it's safe to train for a 5k with less than that kind of effort if you are seriously concerned about chronic cardio. :-)
(This coming from an endurance athlete... But it's what I do for fun. :-) )
I think the most paleo way to train for a 5k event would be to do training runs in varied terrain - trails, hills, rocks, mud, whatever you have access to.
The other paleo perspective on training to run an event is that I doubt that most paleo people would have engaged in physical "training," they were highly physical when required by their daily lives. Can you work a similar distance into your routine? Jogging to the grocery store? Walking to work and back a few times a week? Heck, you could just get a dog and you'd have no trouble upping your weekly mileage!