I completed my first HYROX last year – these are my 5 tips for beginners

Are you taking on your first HYROX? Here’s what I wish I'd known

T3 Active Writer doing HYROX
(Image credit: Future)

So, you’re doing your first HYROX - congrats! Maybe you’re buzzing, or maybe the thought of race day is making you sick with nerves and now you’re wondering why the hell you’re even doing one. Don’t worry, I completed my first HYROX last year with only four months of training, no running experience, and I was very much the nervous wreck, but I did it. 

However you’re feeling, let me just tell you, you’re going to have a great time and there’s no better feeling than crossing that line and being handed your finish badge to stick on your gym bag afterwards. As someone said to me in the start tunnel, “your first HYROX is always the best because you have no time to beat”.

There are certain things you’ll want to make sure you do to help you feel mentally good on race day – like getting a good sleep the night before and arriving with plenty of time. However, the tips I’m sharing focus on the physical aspect and will hopefully help you perform well. Here are my top five tips for beginners…

1. Pace yourself

T3 Active Writer doing HYROX farmer carries

(Image credit: Future)

This is may sound obvious but, trust me, as soon as the timer hits zero and you leave that tunnel, the urge to keep up with the people alongside you will kick in. Especially if you’re a little more on the competitive side. Don’t let it take over though. Remember, this is an endurance race and you’ve got 16 exercises to complete in total, so you need to focus on yourself, not blow all your steam, and stay at a pace that you can continue to hold.

2. Don’t slow down in the roxzone

You’ve probably now heard of the ‘roxzone’ the area that you have to run into to get to your exercise station. What a lot of people do is run into the roxzone, but end up walking out of it. I definitely did and it ate into my finish time. It’s also where the water and Red Bull station is, so you may end up walking over to that, having a drink then, before you know it, you’ve wasted three minutes. So, if you’ve got a finish time in mind, just be wary and try and hold a pace, even if it's a slow jog.

3. Load up those sleds

I think the sleds are the worst station in HYROX, moreso the pull than the push and it’s because of that notoriously tough carpet beneath them. I don’t know why, but it makes it feel so much heavier than they are. My advice would therefore be to load up the weight in training, as much as you can to avoid too much of a shock on race day. I trained well over the competition weight and they still felt 10 times heavier. 

4. Get low on the sled push

Before I started my race I had a quick nosy round at all the stations (which I highly recommend). When it came to the sled push I noticed that a lot of the women were pushing their sleds very high up and that the sled itself was lifting off the ground. I therefore knew I needed to get low, to about the middle of my sled, to avoid this happening, and, as you can see from the video above, it worked. If you push your sled and it doesn’t lift up, then that’s great but, if it does, then get low and just put your face the other side of the annoying pole in the middle.

5. Use the warm up zone

Even if you're feeling nervous, like I was, try and get some form of a warm-up in before your race starts. Make sure you get to the warm-up zone with plenty of time too, because it's only small and can get a little crowded. I only did a 10-minute warm-up as I was so nervous and, as a result, my running felt quite stiff at the start of my race. I've also heard stories of other people pulling muscles, or old injuries kicking in throughout races. But by warming up and allowing more blood and oxygen to reach your muscles you will move more efficiently, which will only increase your chances of performing well.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.