When I ran my first Spartan Race back in 2014 I had on clue how to train for one, I just sort of winged it. That was not a very good plan and since then I have learned A LOT about how to train for an OCR. I shared the 3 things that you should include in your OCR training with my private FaceBook group last week.
These things may sound simple but they are often forgotten. Most people don’t create a training plan or start to create one but don’t follow it.
- Strength Training – Most obstacles will be strength based so you’ll want to work on building strength during training. Start by focusing on where you feel you are weakest, for most women this is upper body strength, so I would suggest adding push-ups (all variations: wide, triceps, uneven, hand release, etc) and pull-ups or variations of the pull-up like rows with barbells, dumbbells, TRX or inverted rows on a smith machine. And don’t neglect your core, you would be surprised at how much core strength you will use on obstacles like the rope climb and monkey bars.
- Endurance Training – There will be sections of the course where you will want to be able to run between obstacles so you will need to work on your cardio endurance. I suggest a mixture of steady state cardio like running or rowing and HIIT training using Tabatas or another form of HIIT (high intensity interval training), this is when you can mix it up with Burpees, squat jumps, mountain climbers, skipping and anything else that gets your heart rate up.
- Train Outside: You will not be running the race on a track or in a gym. You will be running outside most likely on uneven terrain with dirt, mud, twigs, roots and grass so you should get used to running on these types of surfaces. Play on the monkey bars at a local park, climb up and down the slide, run up and down some hills, try trail running or run up and down stairs.
When I was training for my first Spartan race I ran a lot but neglected to do a lot of strength training, I did a lot of Burpees knowing that the penalty for failing an obstacle was 30 Burpees BUT I didn’t do the Burpees when I was already tired like I would be doing at the race. Now I include Burpees in a lot of my runs as well as push-ups, squats, mountain climbers and plank jacks. I try to mimic race conditions as much as possible during my shorter training runs and work on endurance during the longer runs.
So how on earth do you create a training plan? It really depends on what race you are training for. They all have similarities but also major differences and different courses mean different terrain. There is also more to it than just physical training, there is a huge mental side to training for an OCR, it’s a very different race than your typical 5k and a good training plan should incorporate mental as well as physical training.
For those of you that have no clue where to start or who are wondering what this whole OCR thing is about anyway I’ve created the Beginner’s Guide to OCR – you can download your FREE copy by clicking on the link below and entering your name and email.
Are you already signed up for a race? What are you doing for training? Leave a comment and let us know how you train for OCR! If you’d like more tips like this and the support of a community of women then join my free FaceBook community here – Ladies who Obstacle Course Race