Considering your first Obstacle Course Race (OCR) Let's chat training..
Updated: Mar 10
Are you considering your first OCR but are not sure if you’re ready or perhaps considering tackling a longer distance and are lost with your training? Perhaps we need to chat. I've completed my fair share of endurance events and currently train some competitive athletes in this space. From an athletic development standpoint the starting point is always; When are the races What are the distances / obstacles What are the goals What are the weak links Session planning starts here. Those familiar with OCR will understand the considerable amount of grit required and know that with the right mindset its the perfect environment to test limits (mind & body) If you’re going to perform on game day then every quality strength / training session needs to be treated as game day. You can’t expect to make the podium if you haven’t trained and earned the podium. Being held accountable for quality sessions in the gym or pace sessions on the track is what podiums are born from, my philosophy on OCR is training is game day with the race being a fun hit out for the hard work that got you there… Building robust racers - breaking down an OCR and a typical training program. There’s no denying you need to like running, lots of it (depending on race distances) but outside of this quality strength work that ultimately keeps racers injury free, stronger on the obstacles and fatigue resistent is a large component of building a hybrid athlete. A typical quality session would comprise Mobility / warmup Main Lift, Deadlift / Squat / Hip Thrust / Bench / O/H Press Accessory Work Conditioning Cool down Reps would be dependent upon the training phase, however focus would be on strength-endurance not absolute strength so working on % as an example of 5(RM) throughout the training block. A big emphasis is placed on single leg work as runners are never on one leg, as well glute and overall upper body & core strength. With all female athletes (not just OCR) their is a big emphasis on pulling, working on building a strong posterior chain, with the benefits of improved posture, greater body awareness and ultimately greater ability to load key lifts, for example the deadlift or squat and not too mention a strong un-assisted pull-up. Core strength is developed through compound lifts as well as through loaded carries working the entire trunk whilst fighting lateral flexion, banded work like the paloff press as well as other accessory work such as dead hangs with the added bonus of working on grip strength and using objects like deadballs which challenge the core from the ground up. A key element not to be overlooked is high intensity intervals woking in an anerobic state alternating between max efforts and recovery efforts. The ability push back fatigue, recover and repeat is very relevant in OCR racers. This work is very taxing and would be a quality session on its own or used sparingly within a session. Whilst the goal is to get through a race burpee free, building a strong foundation in ground to standing work and a strong push will mean if burpees present, the necessary work has been done. ..and finally the key pieces missing that will make or break training /game day are; Mindset, nutrition & recovery.
Of course you can go it alone but having a coach to keep you accountable and push you in quality training sessions, helping to improve mindset, self-talk and ensuring adequate recovery strategies are in place, could be the difference between a podium finish and missing out.
Image by Natalie Davies Photography