OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) is becoming more and more popular among the masses. Not only are these events challenging and competitive, but they are also done in a fun environment with passionate racers and workout nuts. These people are the real deal when it comes to fitness!
Because of the rising popularity of obstacle course racing, it is important to understand exactly what you need to do to have a great race day debut which will keep you coming back for more. Although learing from experience is the best way to prepare for your next race, we thought we would save you some trouble and give you a few pointers leading into your first race.
Take a look at these three tips for a successful OCR debut:
1) Don't neglect long distance training
Remember, this is obstacle course racing it is not an obstacle course workout or WAD that will be done in half an hour. Most newbies focus their training on the obstacle part of the race and not the long distance running required to complete the race. Training for the obstacles, yes, is important. However, if your cardiovascular system is taxed well before some of the obstacles presented to you in your competition then you will have an even greater challenge completing them.
Some obstacle course races stretch to be as long as half a marathon (that is 13.1 miles)! 13.1 miles is a challenge in itself. Be sure to progress your long distance training strategically throughout your training. Select a race that is far enough out where you can build your endurance and be ready for race day.
Finally, be sure to pace yourself. Remember, this is a long distance race. Run with long strides, take deep breathes, pace yourself, and you will be able to tackle each obstacle with maximum energy at each station. Don't let a poor long distance training and racing strategy keep you from having a fun and successful race day.
2) Be Ready to Carry a Few Things...
If you think you'll be racing with your own body weight, think again. Obstacle course races are known to have plenty obstacles throughout the race peppered with sandbag carries, buckets filled with rice, and even deadballs weighing all the way up into the hundreds. Key here is to add resistance training into your regimen leading up to the race. Throw on a weighted vest or add in farmers walks with some heavy dumbbells. If you have a couple of buckets, fill them up with rice or sand and take off running!
These are all good strategies to get you ready for race day. The more you train with added resistance leading up to your first obstacle course race, the better prepared you will be to dominate.
3) Don't Forget the Grip
One of the smallest muscles throughout your body comes from your forearms. This means your forearm muscles will fill with lactic acid and become plenty more fatigued before the rest of your body does. Forearms are key players in controlling grip strength and endurance, which come in huge on race day.
Think about it... You are carrying, pulling, swinging, and throwing... all of these movements require some serious grip strength and if you haven't trained your forearm muscles to become stronger then they will be burning on race day. You fingers will feel like they can't wrap around and hold even a monkey bar. Keep this training strategy in mind moving forward with your training. Grip training is one of those essentials that are often overlooked for the first race. But if you can improve your grip endurance, then look out! You are one step ahead of many of your competitors.
Be sure to add these three key components to your obstacle course race training to put yourself one step ahead of your competition and have the best racing debut you can have. Prepare with your training. Pace yourself come race time. And have fun competing alongside hundreds of fun and passionate individuals.