Conquer Your First Hyrox: A Training Guide

Hyrox, is the latest and most popular fitness event around at the moment. A grueling blend of endurance running and functional fitness challenges, its a test of physical and mental toughness that will test aspiring athletes of all levels. Eight one kilometre runs interspersed with stages of functional fitness workouts, from sled pushes and pulls to the relentless rower, sandbag lunges, and the dreaded wall balls. It’s a tough event that requires more than just guts; those that want to do well need a plan and a training strategy. So below we’ve outlined how we’d go about structuring our training for our first Hyrox event.

Overview

This program is structured in four distinct phases, focusing on building a solid foundation of strength and aerobic capacity, enhancing endurance, and honing race-specific skills. The goal is to ensure we’re both physically prepared but also mentally resilient to tackle the challenges on the day.

Physiological Demands and Training Focus:

Aerobic Capacity (VO2 Max) & Endurance:

  • Why It’s Important:Over half of the Hyrox event consists of running, making aerobic capacity fundamental. A strong aerobic base allows for more efficient oxygen utilization.
  • How to Improve VO2 max: Begin with steady-state cardio to build an aerobic base, think zone 2 style training, then progressively incorporate interval training to boost VO2 max and improve oxygen processing.

Muscle Strength & Endurance:

   – Why It’s Important: The event includes various functional exercises that require both strength and the ability to sustain effort over time. Building strength will not only enhance performance but also reduce risk of injury.

   – How to Improve: Start with basic strength training focusing on compound movements, evolving into more functional exercises that mimic race activities, such as sled pushes and sandbag lunges.

Functional Fitness & Working under fatigue

   – Why It’s Important: Hyrox challenges athletes with a unique combination of running and functional tasks, but also working under fatigue, at high heart rates and with lactic acid in the legs. Training the body to be economical and resilient to the effects of lactate is key to a good time.

   – How to Improve: Incorporate threshold work and circuit training that simulates the race layout, focusing on active recovery between high-intensity efforts and sessions that replicate race day challenges. Blocks of work such as sled pushes into tempo runs will help increase your lactate threshold and improve recovery between efforts.

Training Phases:

Ok so how do we structure this into a periodised programme? The below is based on a 32 week programme. If you don’t have this much time then you can adjust the timeframe to the time you have. Just focus on working through the phases so you end up in the best shape possible by race day.

Phase 1: Building the Base

   – Weeks 1-8: Lay down a sturdy aerobic and strength foundation, focusing on steady-state cardio and compound strength movements in this phase. Keep the workout days separate at this point, 2- 3 sessions of aerobic work and 2-3 strength sessions is enough. Your can bias this to your weaknesses, for example if aerobic capacity is an area you need to prioritise then you may want to have 3 aerobic sessions and 2 strength sessions in your weekly schedule. Focus on running but don’t forget to utilise the rower and ski as part of these aerobic sessions.

Phase 2: Adding Intensity

   – Weeks 9-16: Increase intensity with interval running and functional strength exercises, enhancing VO2 max and muscle endurance. After you’ve built the base you can start to add some interval sessions into your running workouts. Work at less than the 1km intervals (250-500m works well) and focus on building intensity. Start building the Hyrox functional movements into your strength sessions, sled push/pull, lunge walks, farmers walks, building to the race weights.

Phase 3: Honing Endurance

   – Weeks 17-24: Blend running with high-intensity functional training to mirror Hyrox demands, focusing on endurance and economical recovery. This is where we add in the burpee broad jumps and wall balls into the programme. Practice working under fatigue and recovering as we run. Keep going with the strength training during this phase and add in the burpees/wall balls into the interval workouts, aiming for 2 a week at this point.

Phase 4: Race Specifics

   – Weeks 25-32: Final preparation, emphasizing longer runs mixed with functional challenge simulations, ensuring race readiness.  Let’s pull this all together in this final phase, start doing some ‘mini hyrox’ events within your sessions. Structure sessions that incorporate half the functional movements and half the runs. Try and keep the movements in the order you will do them on the day so you are used to the demands and are mentally ready for the event. In the last week, its taper time, cut your workouts right back, keep it light and recovery focused.

Nutrition and Recovery:

Emphasizing protein for muscle repair, carbohydrates for energy, and adequate hydration is really important. Incorporate sufficient sleep and active recovery days.

This program is designed to prepare you for the Hyrox event’s physical and mental demands. By following the structured phases, and not neglecting nutrition and recovery, you’ll be well-equipped to face the challenge. Embrace the journey with discipline and dedication, and you’ll find yourself ready to conquer your first Hyrox.