Article Submitted by: Strong Momma, Jaime
One mom’s take on what it’s like to train and prep for the OCR season while holding down a full-time job, raising two boys, and being a devoted wife.
**Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming expertise in this article. I am not a professional trainer or elite OCR racer, so please take this advice as mere suggestions to help you on your own journey.**
Beginner: I can help you!
Intermediate: You might pick up something new!
Advanced: You don’t need to read this.
Expert: PLEASE…if you somehow came across this article, contact me on my FB page and give me your secrets!
A little background on myself and why the heck I think I am somewhat “qualified” to write an article like this. In September 2014, I decided to enter my first OCR race. It was a 5K race, on the beach, with 17 obstacles. I was 30 pounds overweight and had run ONE 5k road race in my life before this. Most of my runs were on a treadmill, indoors, or outside never more than 2 miles at a time. I had heard about these races and decided that it was time for me to do something WAY out of my comfort zone.
I trained for a few months before the race, went on some trail runs, and did a few weights here and there and some fitness DVDs. I honestly had no idea what I was doing or what I was getting myself into.
One thing I DO know…I was NOT prepared for this race. The very first obstacle I had to complete was “rolling sand hills.” (Think 10 foot high sand piles that you had to climb up and over three times) Believe it or not, after that first obstacle I was winded, tired and thought “holy cow-what have I done?”
You think the obstacles will give you a “break” from running, when in fact, they don’t. They tax your arms, legs and sometimes your entire body and then, you have to run AGAIN!
Although I was pretty proud of myself for completing my first ever obstacle course race, I knew that I was HOOKED and needed to train smarter and harder if I wanted to compete in more.
So in January of 2015, I started to train more seriously with my husband and some friends. Seven months, one BeachRaid, one Spartan Sprint, one Spartan Super, one BattleFrog later, I have learned a few tips along the way.
I broke my TIPS down into three parts, Prepping, Training & Post Race:
Here are some Prepping tips I have learned in the past year–
1. Clothing. Train in the apparel you will race in. In other words, don’t go buy brand new shoes or a cute outfit the day before the race. Make sure your clothing fits well, almost on the tighter side and that you can move freely. This is especially true for race with LOTS of mud and water.
2. NO COTTON. Again, this is especially true with races that have LOTS of mud and water. You want your clothing to be synthetic material so that it’s breathable and dries quickly when wet.
3. Underwear vs. No Underwear. Frankly, think about what you are rolling in. I wear UA Cheeky’s. I have to wear something under my racing shorts. This is just MY personal opinion and tip. There is a lot of debate out there on this topic! Decide for yourself after your first OCR.
4. Hair. Do NOT spend any time on your hair before the race. It’s just a HUGE waste of time. You will be caked in mud and drenched with water…..concentrate on getting your hair out of your face in a nice tight pony tail or braids.
5. Hydration. For a week to few days before your race for a 5K OCR-hydrate and eat normally (healthy normal!) You can even put some lemon or nuun tablets in your water.
6. Nails. I wouldn’t spend the money getting your nails done. Seriously, they will be caked with mud and you can possibly hurt yourself if they are too long. I highly suggest cutting them as short as you can, and don’t forget to cut your toenails too! Your toes will be slamming into the front of your shoes so much that if your toenails are too long, you risk ripping them off.
7. Essentials. Bring a backpack, most races have a bag drop, and be sure to pack: sunscreen, lip balm, soap, shampoo, face cloth, towel, hair brush, a change of clothes, change of shoes, and plenty of plastic bags. Your racing apparel will be WET and MUDDY. You don’t want to put the clothes and shoes you raced in back in your backpack. (Unless you have a specific bag that you only use for racing)
8. Plastic Bags! Bring lots of zip lock bags. You will want to put your phone, keys, credit cards and ID in a separate little ziplock bag that you check because it’s really easy to find in your backpack after your race.
9. Watch. If you have a waterproof watch, GPS watch, that you can bring with you while racing, this is a good thing to have. I remember my first couple of races being worried about the time for about an hour before our race started because we had checked our bags already and my phone is the only way I check time, and that was tucked away in my bag in the bag check!
10. Race Clothes. I remember, before my very first race, seeing women in YouTube videos of other OCR races, wearing tight sports bras and just compression shorts during their race. I thought they were trying to look “sexy” or cute. But…I now understand WHY women wear what they wear. Compression wear doesn’t move around while you are running, jumping over walls, and crawling under barbed wire in mud, or doing your penalty burpees. Also, the mud and water will pool in your capris, or shorts if they don’t fit tight. My very first race I ripped off my capris, mid-race, because they were water logged and hanging by my knees (Don’t worry, I had compression shorts underneath!).
~ Stay Tuned for Part Two ~