Obstacle course racing (OCR) is a sport in which a competitor must overcome various obstacles while also running. They are both mentally and physically challenging. There are multiple types of Obstacle course races that you can do: Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and Warrior Dash are the most popular. Spartan races range from 3 miles to marathon distances and can include 20-60 obstacles depending on the race. Tough Mudders are endurance events where you have a 10-12 mile obstacle course. A Warrior Dash is a 5K Mud Run with 12 obstacles. No matter which one you choose, here are some things to know before you do an OCR.
Choosing The Race:
Spend some time researching each type of race mentioned above and find the one that is best for you. If you are a beginner, a warrior dash might be a good race to start with before trying a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race.
How to Train:
You need to have a mixture of speed, strength and endurance. Crawling, pulling, pushing, and running are all components that you’re likely to face. You will need to split your training between cardio and strength training. Interval training is what your body needs to prepare for an obstacle race. When you mix in slow distance runs with short intense circuits you are training your body for what an OCR will actually be like. Exercises like ladder drills, box jumps, pull-ups, bear crawls, and squats are all great to prepare your body.
What to Wear:
Don’t wear cotton. While cotton is great it does not work well when doing an OCR. Cotton is great at holding water. Once it’s wet, clothes will lose shape making you regret ever wearing cotton in the first place.
Don’t wear any accessories. Don’t run with anything you don’t mind loosing. All the mud and water mixed with the obstacles themselves mean that any jewelry could get caught and be lost immediately.
Instead the “less is more” phrase is relevant here. Men go without shirts. Women mostly stick to just sports bras. If you choose to wear a shirt choose one with wicking fabrics that are formfitting or compression so as to not get caught on the obstacles. On the bottom, compression shorts are definitely your best bet.
Finally, you are going to be filthy by the end of the race so choose the clothes that will help you race not slow you down.
What if I can’t do an obstacle?
If you are doing a Spartan Race you will be forced to do push-ups if you skip an obstacle but with Tough Mudders and Warrior Dashes you are allowed to skip obstacles without any penalties. Watching other competitors with their successes and failures can also help you conquer the obstacle if you decide to go for it.
Carb-Load & Hydrate
While you shouldn’t shy away from carbs, choosing the right type of carbs like vegetables and rice are better for your body than pasta or pizza. On race morning, eat something satisfying enough like a Promax bar, with 20g of Protein, that you won’t be worried about, and also won’t weigh you down. After all, you have obstacles to climb!
While marathons have numerous water stations, many obstacle races only have one or sometimes none. So, start drinking a lot of water two days before the race.
If you are seriously considering an Obstacle race this year, make sure to remember these tips and to do your research. Test your physical strength, stamina and mental grit with an Obstacle Course Race this year!