It is always important to know what you are getting into when doing a race. Here are a couple tips to help you avoid showing up completely unprepared. These tips can also help you shape your training.
Is this a flat course? Is it full of wonderful hills? What are other bloggers reviews & suggestions on things to watch out for? You don’t want any surprises.
Okay let me rephrase this – you want to train properly for the terrain of the race so it reduces the chance for surprises. Cross training is really useful but still you want to spend some time becoming acclimated to that terrain if it is possible (sometimes it is not). You want to have the confidence that you can tackle some hills and not be gassed at the top. If mud – read advice of others and the race organizers themselves about what to wear. This will all help you decide what you should wear on race day.
For instance you don’t need to wear trail running shoes on that race on pavement, but mud or trails it is a good idea for traction. Or another example, its not a good idea to wear cotton clothing with pockets in a race where you will for sure be getting good and muddy …as you will end up carrying around extra water weight plus some mud in your pockets.
I won’t insult your intelligence that you are aware that the ½ Marathon is …..yes a ½ Marathon. In comparison many Obstacle Course Races (OCR) don’t necessarily list the actual length rather rank them by other names like “Sprint.” But that usually is easy to find out on race websites or discussions of past participants. Plan and train accordingly. Just keep in mind if it is an ocr the distance is only one piece of the puzzle.
In comparison endurance events like Goruck are a different beast. There is a general length (and time frame) but length is not that relative. Check out my post about Goruck…
Specifically for OCR’s they will have a pretty thorough layout on their website of the obstacles you will have fun getting over under and through. Some will have some surprises for you and reveal what they are on race day. Keep in mind when you know the obstacles in that 3miles race – train for that. You may be able to run a blistering 3miles. However some gnarly obstacles will test your muscular strength, agility and endurance you will be wheezing on the side if you are not prepared for them & trained for endurance.
A plus when you do it as a team then you can help each other over them if someone needs help. But still people are often helpful at such races and provide a boost or helping hand. Blogs and youtube videos talk about good strategies for some obstacles.
Yes, you may not be able to train specifically for encountering every obstacle. However you can at least know what kind of movement (crawling, jumping up and over, etc) you will have to do. You can still get stronger and more efficient doing those movements even if you don’t have a 8 foot wall handy to practice climbing over.
Rules, Checking in, Bag check & Other Stuff
It is good to know ahead of time if there are rules of penalties if you cannot complete an obstacle . Some events will have volunteers at each station making sure you complete the obstacle & direct you to an area to do an exercise as a penalty before moving on. Other events may be okay with you running around an obstacle if you can’t do it.
There may be specific things you have to bring like water or items that are banned (earphones). Also know what time bag check opens to give yourself time to drop your stuff off and get ready. If it is a big event make sure you know what race wave you are in, you don’t want to miss it!
I saved the arguably most important thing for last. Is there a beer garden? Where exactly is it? It is very important! Where is it located? Make sure you know. Don’t be that person that forgot their ID. Know well in advance if there is a free drink ticket on your bib and where the garden is. Don’t lose that ticket & make some new friends in the garden while trading stories (and tip the people serving you). You don’t drink? Cool, but feel free to hand that drink ticket off to a fellow finisher that does!
Have fun, race safe & as always if you have any questions or are interested in my Personal Training services & want to Get Incremental… feel free to contact me at: