Essential Training Tips for Your 1st OCR

Essential Training Tips for Your First Obstacle Course Race

Clothing is not optional!
Unless you are wearing a Team costume, and racing for fun, leave the cotton T-shirts, lumber jackets, and baggy sweats at home…

Chafing, water-logged shoes and the threat of scrapes and bruises are just par for the course. But you can minimize the not-so-fun stuff by wearing the right gear. Moisture wicking fabrics, “dri-fit” style, will keep you comfortable. Look for compression or tight-fitting clothes, as those will stay close to your body as you move and lower the odds of getting snagged. Don’t show up with a brand new pair of Air Force Ones. In fact, unless you have purchased a mud specific training shoe and intend on the meticulous care and cleaning to preserve them, use a shoe that would would have no problem parting with. Something still with good grip, lightweight, and does not retain water, is your best bet. You can also drill out the sides to make sure they will drain as well. Gloves may be an asset if you are rope climbing, and sorting your hair in pigtails, pony tail, or bandana, will help minimize it obstructing your vision and mental focus.

2. Train like you mean it.
A few laps around the high school track just won’t cut it. If you are running a 5km, then you at least need to have a few of these under your belt. Replicating the terrain you will be running on is the best case scenerio. Trail running should start weeks out before your race, and should graduate in distance as you become more conditioned. And in the case of Met Con, hill sprints/intervals would be an imperative part of your training regime. Interval sprints will be a more effective way of hitting your cardio goals over long distance training anyday.  Additionally, training for the obstacles are essential. It’s not just about the running and endurance, it’s about strength as well. Most courses have “staple’ obstacles. The rope climb, the cargo net, the high wall, the monkey bars. Find a way to simulate or strengthen the muscle groups that would be incorporated to maneuver through these obstacles. Balance your endurance training with strength training. Grip is usually an important part of overcoming course obstacles. A lot of local playgrounds have something to climb on or hang off. Hanging from monkey bars for 30 second intervals is a good start. And finally, stretch. Mobility plays an important role in success. Think of an 18” diameter pipe that you have to crawl through, or under barbed wire for that matter. The more mobile you are, the quicker and easier you will get thought these obstacles. Make sure stretching becomes equal to half the amount of time you put into your endurance, your body will thank you for it.

3. Switch up your training and incorporate rest.
Brute strength is not the be all end all when it comes to Obstacle Course Racing. Think America Ninja Warrior, and you will easily see that most of the Champions are agile, have good balance and understand momentum. To master those skills, get off the treadmill and out of the weight room. Exercises like ladder drills, cone sprints, box jumps and balancing drills, all work muscles that aren’t typically called upon when logging cardio or strength training. For core and balance, nothing conditions you more than yoga. It can also double as a passive workout on your rest days, and give you the much needed mobility. Rest days? Thats right, experts suggest one to two days rest per week and hitting it hard everyday does not allow for proper mental and physical recovery. Along with yoga, if you feel the need to move on rest days, go for a light bike ride or swim to flush out any built up lactic acid.

4. Pace your Race.
For most of us, burning through a 5 or 10km OCR at 90% effort will just not happen. If you come out of the gate fast, chances are you will start to crumble pretty quick. In our minds, it’s ok to walk-run-walk-run, and find a pace that will allow you never to redline your heart rate. Training with a heart rate monitor and using one throughout the race will assist you in breath management as well. The key is not to redline, cause once you do, it’s tough to get your heart to settle.

5. Hydration is key.
Where marathons have numerous water stations, many obstacle races only have one or two. So pre-hydrating 1 – 2 days with electrolytes would be a smart play. This way if you do not wish to carry water, and the event has none on course, you still should be able to mange depending on weather conditions of course. We highly recommend drinking therapeutic ketones 2 – 3 hours pre-race. This will give you a secondary fuel source for endurance once your glycogen stores are consumed.

6. Debunking the Carb-loading Myth.
You’ve heard of big bowls of pasta or pizza as a typical pre-race dinner for those gearing up for an endurance event. There is a myth about this this being a realistic approach to “carb-loading. The reality is, if we were an elite athlete, with 6% body fat, and dialed into my nutrition, do you think this is how we would fuel? Flipside, a Mom of 2 kids and wishing to train and race because she wishes to lose the remaining weight the kids left from pregnancy,  do you think fuelling this way, she will be successful in her goals? We promote feeling healthy in your own skin, and really do not want to emphasize the word weight, as it is better to always check in with how you feel, but, we all have different and personal agendas when it come to health and nutrition. While you definitely shouldn’t shy away from carbs as they’re essential to replacing lost glycogen stores after ‘intense’ workouts, that doesn’t mean you have to get the refined, white variety. Instead, we suggests foods like sweet potatoes, squash, and beets. And alternatively, test your workouts fasted, or in ketosis. Many have reported performance gains in this energy burning state. Questions on any of the information in this article, PM us on our FaceBook page #MetConRace. Whats your goal?  Coach john@crossfitmozomo.com

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