My first OCR experience
I did my first obstacle race in Sept 2014 with a group of around 10 friends from an outdoor fitness group, Wildfit. Truth be told none of us really knew what we were signing up for, like sheep we followed the loudest person – who said it would be fun.
It was, and despite all of us having different goals we each loved it. That’s the thing with OCRs – there’s something in them for everyone… whether you’re vying for the front of the race, trying to place amongst your age group, or you’re out with like minded people encouraging friends to get up/over/under or through something they think is impossible – there’s a motive that is as exciting as it is challenging.
It was during my second event I became hooked, it was cold (Feb), the terrain wasn’t what I was expecting and the obstacles were totally different to the last event. During standard running events I would normally always check my heart rate, then my average mile pace and doing the math in my head ‘’can I beat last week’s time, can I get a PB, oh no, I’ve not done a negative split’’, then I realised these events were totally different, it wasn’t about personal best times or split times it was about getting around the course and tackling unexpected obstacles, similar to life – you never know what’s coming so just go with it and see what’s around the corner but whatever it is you can try to get it over by yourself and if you fail there is always a smiling face of someone willing to help you.
As adults we tend to give up on things that challenge us but as children that never happened, obstacle races have made a child of me and I loved running, scrambling, climbing and sliding as a child so why wouldn’t I enjoy it as an adult, and I’m pretty sure you were the same.
I’ve done over 20 events now, some have big made man obstacles, some emphasise on natural obstacles, some have more water than others, some can be suited to stronger people but each one is different and that variety is brilliant, to approach each event and only roughly know what is coming is refreshing.
If you’re in doubt about entering an obstacle race I would suggest you either take the plunge and enter a race or just visit and watch a race, they’re popping up all of the country now (over 400 last year) and I guarantee that you will see people of varying abilities, of all shapes & sizes with one generic thing…smiley happy faces.
A word of warning – once you have completed your first event expect things to change dramatically, you will not be able to run past a river without jumping in for a crossing, you will attempt the monkey bars at every kids play ground you enter and you may find yourself running through the woods with wooden log or a car tyre on your shoulder!
Basic training tips.
– These are running events so you will need to be able to jog around 5km, speed isn’t important just the peace of mind to know you can cover that distance is enough to enter of shorter distanced events.
– Body weight exercises are key tackling the obstacles, think press ups, squats, pull ups etc (all assisted if need). These also help with injury prevention.
– Practice running with an object (log / tyre etc), not a for a long period of time but just so you get used to carrying something around with you. Most events will have a carry of some description.
– Kit, good pair of trail trainers, a (non cotton) t shirt that wicks well, non cotton shorts and a good pair of socks – ideally merino wool running socks.
Lee, a converted road runner.