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So You Want to Train for an OCR (obstacle course race)

You’ve checked into it, and decided that competing in at least one OCR (obstacle course race) is the thing for you. Maybe you’re interested in pitting yourself against the physical challenges. Perhaps you’re more interested in the mental challenge. Maybe you just want to see how well you do. Regardless, the decision to train for an OCR means two things. First, you have to choose the right training program. Second, you need the right gear.

The Right Training

When it comes to preparing for an OCR, it’s best to choose the most authentic training program possible – boot camps most closely resemble what athletes competing in an OCR go through, and that’s an important consideration for your preparations. At CFC, our boot camp training program can and will help, unlike most other types of programs out there.

Injury Avoidance

keys to avoiding injuryThe main philosophy to follow when competing in an OCR is injury avoidance. You’ll need to incorporate a training program that goes well beyond what most gyms are capable of delivering. You need to learn to move in nontraditional ways. Those who stick with what’s available at the gym are far more likely to sustain a severe injury during a race than someone who completes boot camp training. Explosive, dynamic movements, like those taught in boot camp, are ideal for minimizing your risk of injury.

The Right Gear

clothing/shoes for obstacle course racesYou need to train using the same gear that you’ll be using on the course. What gear might that be? Actually, you have a range of gear types that you’ll need before you hit the course. Your gear is just as important as your training. Without either, you’ll face potential injury on an OCR.

When it comes to gear, one of the most important considerations is your clothing. You need lightweight clothing that can wick away moisture. You’ll find that Under Armor performs admirably (they’re also a sponsor of many OCRs, so that makes a lot of sense). You should also avoid cotton garments at all costs, as the material soaks up water, stretches and gets heavy, weighing you down and encumbering you when you can least afford it.

The shoes you choose are actually of the utmost importance, trumping your clothing. You can’t wear standard running shoes here – the just can’t cope with the terrain and challenges you’ll face. The wrong type of shoe can lead to injuries during the race, as well. You should actually consider buying several different types of shoes to fit varying race types, conditions and surfaces.

If you’re looking for a great all around performer, consider a pair of cross-country shoes. Their minimal design doesn’t hold water, and the soles offer plenty of traction on slippery surfaces. They’re also designed for multiple types of terrain, so you might be able to get away with buying just one pair of shoes, rather than shelling out for several pairs, which can get expensive.

When it comes to shoes, wearing a new pair on race day is a big no-no. New shoes are stiff, and can cause any number of problems. Break your shoes in well before the big day arrives.

As a final note on gear, you may also need a good pair of gloves and rope. Using rope will get your hands used to the texture and the rigors of climbing (which will almost certainly be a big part of your OCR). Wearing gloves helps minimize the risk of rope burns and blisters, but it’s still advisable to toughen your hands by training with both gloves and rope.

With the right philosophy toward training, the right boot camp program and the right gear, competing in an OCR can be an exciting thing, and you’ll face far less risk of injury. Contact Custom Fitness Concepts today to learn more about our trial memberships and flexible price structure, 877-598-0530.

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