Training for an Obstacle Course Race – Part 2: Advanced Tips

Now that you’ve taken a look at our 5 beginner tips for OCR racing and are (hopefully!) implementing some of the advice, we thought we’d crank things up a notch and share more advanced training methods to help you prepare for the big day.

Mix up your runs
Long, short, fast, slow and fartlek runs – embrace them all! As you get closer to the event, ensure you’re doing some good speedwork and short hill sprints to build your engine and leg strength.

If you have access to trails, these are better to run on than roads as they’ll ask more of your tendons and ligaments, which strengthens them. This not only makes you less injury-prone, but also better able at tackle undulating obstacles and rutted fields.

Get to the climbing wall
There’s a couple of great climbing walls in Bristol – Redpoint Bristol and Bloc Climbing – which are well worth a visit before an OCR. Not only are they great fun, but they develop grip and forearm strength which comes in handy when you find yourself dangling over a muddy pool.

The climbing wall is a great addition to your Obstacle Course Race training

Do bodyweight circuits
Most gyms offer circuits classes. This classic, all-round fitness session will always leave you with hands on knees, heart beating out your chest. The group environment too is a great place to build OCR-specific fitness.

If you’re not a fan of group circuits classes, there’s plenty you can do in the gym or even your living room to prepare for an OCR like the Battle of Lansdown.

Burpees, squats, lunges, press ups, pull ups, tricep dips and planks should form the foundation of your bodyweight exercises. Nail these and you’ll be well on your way.

Cross train
Running can get a little tedious, but there’s loads of other activities you can do to boost your heart and lungs. Swimming, cycling, hiking and the rowing machine are all superb for developing your body’s ability to withstand the aerobic stress of completing an OCR.

Mountain biking is another great way to develop the fitness and coordination needed for Obstacle Course Racing

Don’t neglect your core and flexibility
Two things we know are good for us but infrequently actually do!

Core work and flexibility are both key components of an enjoyable OCR experience. A strong, stable core helps injury-prevention as well as supporting your entire body as you challenge it over various obstructions.

Improved flexibility will help you reach, stretch and lunge over, under and around each obstacle!

Pay attention to your mental game
Hopefully you’re bagging some semi-consistent training now. That should give you confidence for the big day, but it’s worth adding some mental tactics to your process too.

Don’t let the day get the better of you! Visualise tough moments so that when they come, you’ll cope.

It’s often overlooked, but the power of visualisation is very real, particularly if this is your first OCR and you’re a little nervous. Close your eyes and picture what the day will look like and how you’ll feel in various situations – in the water, caked in mud or hanging from a monkey bar. When you visualise the day, ensure you’re in a happy place and relishing the challenge with a broad smile on your face.

Make your training slightly uncomfortable
It’s no secret, you’re going to be scaling obstacles wet and muddy, so if you can replicate this in training, the day may be more enjoyable than if it’s your first time wearing soggy trainers and shorts!

If you’ve yet to enter the South West’s premier obstacle course race – the Battle of Lansdown – get a group of friends together and ENTER HERE. We give a discount to group entries so hurry before all the waves sell out!