Training for your first Obstacle Course Race

Whether you're training for your first Spartan Race, Savage Race, Tough Mudder or some other kind of OCR event, there's a few things they all have in common that you'll want to be prepared for.

First, you'll want to incorporate trail running into your training regimen because you can guarantee you'll be running through the forest, creeks, and other technical terrain throughout the race. Which brings me to my next tip: Make sure you're wearing the proper shoes and socks. You'll likely be going through mud and water, so you don't want to be wearing your normal tennis shoes. You'll want to wear trail shoes or some sort of shoe that has some grip to them. Some great OCR specific shoe brands are Inov-8, VJ Shoes, and Altra just to name a few, but really any trail show will work just fine. You'll also want to be sure you're wearing compression socks. I personally prefer the ones that are knee-high to help protect my legs during rope climbs and rope traverses.

Aside from trail running, the best thing you can work on is grip strength. Almost all obstacle course races have monkey bars, rope climbs, and other hanging grip which all require a good amount of grip strength. While I make race specific OCR equipment and grip attachments that will most certainly help you during a race, you don't need any equipment to work on strengthening your grip. If you don't have your own backyard rig or OCR rig at home, go to your local park, find some monkey bars and get to hanging and playing around on those. If you have a pull up bar, dead hangs and pull ups are great for grip training.  Now, there are some things such as the Spartan Twister and Anchors Aweigh at Savage Race that will be very difficult to successfully complete without training on the real thing, and in those cases, that's where my OCR gear comes in.

Finally, something that most Obstacle Course Racing events will have are heavy carries such as a bucket carry, sandbag carry, or Atlas Stone carry. For these, you simply will want to find heavy things to pick up and run/walk with them. You can go to your local hardware store, buy a bucket for a few bucks, fill it with rocks and you've got a bucket carry.

Hope this helps give you some ideas for your OCR training, but most importantly go out there and do the best you can and have fun, because that's what it's all about. And if you're going alone, don't stress out, because the OCR community is the most supportive and helpful group of people out there. If you get stuck at an obstacle, more than likely there will be people there to offer help, and you'll make friends along the way. Have fun and remember you're never really alone out there.


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