If you are new to the OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) scene and have an event coming up, here are my tips that I learnt the hard way when I was starting out. Hope they help!
Clothing – You will get wet, you will get muddy! So my suggestion is to wear tight fitting / tech clothing that won’t get caught or water logged. Wear as little as possible, I aim to start summer races a little cool – you’ll soon warm up once you get going.
Shoes – You are going to need grip, as a minimum a pair of trail shoes is a good idea, there are also OCR specific shoes available now – ranging from £20 (More Mile Cheviot) to £90 (The awesome Reebok All Terrain Super) if the event is going to be particularly muddy grip will help!
Gloves – Like marmite the OCR community is split on if they help your grip or not. Personally I don’t use them, and in training I work on building my grip / calluses etc – but a grippy pair may help you with wet monkey bars. Ideally test first!
Hydration – As with all training / race events Hydration is key, ensure you have a good level of electrolytes & liquids going in on the lead up and morning of the race. (ActiVeman Energy Charge or Pure Energy are good options)
Food – Ensure you’ve eaten a decent breakfast (I use ActiVeman Oatein) with enough time to digest before the race start
Gels – Depending on the length of the race you may need to fuel as you go if you are really pushing hard. If you are using Gels ensure you have tested them prior to the race, they don’t agree with everyone. Isotonic gels have more water added so don’t require a drink with them or if you don’t like the texture you can now get Gel Blocks (like jelly cubes) but again they need water to activate.
Training – Ideally get yourself to somewhere that can simulate the races. I use both Bootcamp Revolution (Rayne, Essex) and Wild Forrest Gym (Ongar, Essex) as they have Obstacles that you can learn & practice technique on.
Warm up – It’s important to get your CV system warm for performance, but also your legs / arms / ankles etc as you will be running on uneven ground, jumping, falling, landing. Wake up / activate everything you think you are going to use in the race to help prevent injury.
Recovery – You are going to ache after this! At the finish line grab a Protein drink (Bio Synergy Whey Protein or Essential Sports Fuel are ideal – or their RTD drink if you don’t want to mix it up yourself) before you reach for the alternate post-race celebration liquid refreshment 😉
Post Race – Have a change of old clothes and a towel ready at the finish (bag drop or a spectator) get out of the wet clothes as fast as you can.
Last point of all is to enjoy yourself! Sure the front rows of runners will look pretty serious as they tear off in the Elite wave, but everyone is there for fun first and foremost.
Welcome to the world of OCR I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!