Obstacle course races are taking off as one of the most popular sports in the world, with thousands of participants a year.
Here are some tips to help you complete your first obstacle course race:
1. Research what race you would like to do based upon your fitness level
There are numerous races out there that offer a wide range of challenges for every fitness level. Fun runs, challenges, and races all offer a different experience with varying levels of intensity. Be sure to research the race that you would like to attempt prior to signing up, in order to avoid spending your hard earned money on something that may be out of your fitness realm. The idea behind your first race is to complete it, so be honest with yourself and choose accordingly.
2. Sign up with a friend!
Signing up with friends and completing the race together is a great way to ensure accountability, push each other through obstacles, build relationships–and at the end of the race you get to spend the evening celebrating your successes together. Nothing wrong with that!
3. Dress appropriately
With obstacle course racing, you run rain or shine. This means you need to prepare for the elements. Trail running shoes are meant to take on any sort of terrain. Also, avoid wearing any loose or baggy fitting clothing as these clothing options will weigh you down as you go through the water and mud obstacles. As there are a limited number of water stations in races. You may consider some type of hydration pack or belt, especially if the weather is calling for dry conditions. Some other options that you may want to consider, but are not necessary, are long socks, and knee or elbow sleeves. During the race you will spend a significant amount of time on your hands and knees. Long socks and sleeves will provide some protection for these obstacles.
4. Eat some carbs
The shortest distance for an obstacle course race is 5 KM long. Your body will need energy to move for that distance, jump over obstacles, and lift and carry objects. Ensure that prior to the race you fuel up on some complex carbohydrates so that your body is able sustain the entire race. For longer distance races, you can also carry carbohydrate rich gels and drinks in order to propel yourself to the finish line.
5. Have fun!
Your first OCR experience is supposed to be enjoyable. Use the time on the course to get back to having fun. Some things to consider on race day to make your run even more enjoyable, is to really be in the moment. Dress up in costumes, yell at the top of your lungs, jump in the mud and water. Go into your first race with an open mindset and allow yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Your body will thank you at the finish line.