Obstacle races were once upon a time something children did for fun and soldiers did for training. These days obstacle course racing (OCR) is a popular and involved fitness event which takes guts, training and a little bit of OCR know-how if you want to get to the end intact!
Know Your Comfort Zone
When it comes to successfully running an OCR it is important to understand what your comfort zone is and then disregard it entirely. This type of event, as well as being great fun, exhilarating, a true test of fitness and more it is also one where you get muddy, sand in places you didn’t know existed and you are pushed to your limits.
When it comes to training for an OCR focus on your running skills, particularly your endurance. Remember that you won’t be running on a well-maintained track as dependent on the event you could be running through water pits, over grass, bumps, sand and more. Some off-road running practice could be advantageous!
Training in advance is essential for OCR and of course while a lot of the coursesare run-based (many UK obstacle courses tend to have an approximate ratio of 80% running and 20% obstacles) you need to look at endurance and strength training. Circuit training / HIIT is essential for helping you with those obstacles!
Know your course. Most organised OCR have websites where you are able to examine the course in advance and it is always worth asking people who have run the event before for tips. Knowing roughly what is to come will help you visualise during the race and practice before-hand.
Have the Right Kit
The right footwear for an OCR is essential and you should be looking at wearing something with a decent set of cleats as you’ll be running uphill and down, climbing, running over mud and more. Fit for purpose footwear will keep you on your feet for longer.
Gloves are also well worth considering to protect your hands (and provide grip) when pulling on / climbing up ropes, on nets, over structures and more.
An OCR is a full-on event that will thrill you and exhaust you however the majority of participants all agree that they had a brilliant time at the end of it so let yourself enjoy the atmosphere and comradery.