If you are not up to watching the video, you can read about it below!!
When it comes to obstacle course racing, gaining strength and learning the right technique to clear each obstacle comes to many people’s mind. As such, many boot camps focus a lot on high-intensity circuits, heavy lifting and lots of grip/hanging work.
Don’t get me wrong, these sessions will get you ready for obstacle course racing; however, I felt that one aspect of training is SEVERELY lacking – time on feet AKA running/walking. There simply is not enough time spent consistently moving around to develop a strong aerobic foundation which is so crucial in building a high work capacity for obstacle immunity.
The next question many will ask is: how does running/walking and an improved aerobic capacity improve obstacle immunity in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)? Here are the benefits:
1, Reduction in fatigue during the race.
If you take a look at most OCR races, they are in actual fact, a form of a footrace, with physical tasks to be cleared between the start and finish line. Thus, having the endurance and stamina to complete the distance is a primary requirement. If you cannot complete the distance (without obstacles) without significant fatigue, you will have issues clearing the obstacles
If you cannot complete the distance (without obstacles) without significant fatigue, you will experience difficulty clearing the obstacles during the footrace itself, as the fatigue from covering distance will set in and make obstacle clearance that much harder.
By increasing your aerobic capacity and cardiovascular efficiency via running/walking, you will be able to cover the distance without much effort, and this sets aside your energy and allows you to focus on clearing the obstacles itself.
2, Ability to beat the crowd to obstacles.
As more people clear the obstacles, the more slippery the obstacles (such as monkey bars, multi-rig, atlas balls, etc) gets, which makes the obstacle much harder to clear as you will need more energy to grip onto them. In addition, OCR races are usually designed to be on trails; certain segments of trails with soft dirt will turn into gooey mud after being trampled on by thousands of feet, which increases the difficulty in moving through them.
Therefore, to conserve energy, with a strong aerobic foundation developed from running, you can beat the crowd (in your wave at least, or even better if you are in the earlier waves), to run on firmer dirt and clear dryer obstacles which will not require as much effort as the wet and slippery ones, increasing the chance of clearing the obstacles!
3, Faster recovery between obstacles.
With a strong aerobic base developed from running/walking, the runs/walks between obstacles will become recovery segments instead of wearing your down, allowing your body to clear the lactic acid in your body and gets you ready for the next obstacles in a few minutes’ time!
4, Better performance on long loaded carries.
How many of us dread the sandbag carry, bucket carry or tractor pull? With a strong aerobic foundation developed from running/walking, you will be less winded while performing these draggy loaded carries (possibly even move faster than the rest), and thus conserving energy to clear the more crucial obstacles (multi rigs, Atlas carry).
How can you build a strong aerobic foundation specific to OCR?
1, Long runs
Spending time on the feet at low intensities is the cornerstone of developing endurance. Below are the recommended distances which you should build up to prior to each specific distance in the Spartan Race:
Sprint (5-8km) – 10-12km long run
Super (14-16km) – 16-20km long run
Beast (21km) – maximum 25km long run
These runs should be done at a conversational pace; running with a friend will be enjoyable. Ideally, you should try to get in these runs on the trails with some elevation as it will mimic the course to a certain extend. Since the key is to keep moving at low intensities, don’t be afraid to walk up the inclines.
2, Burpee-long runs
I particularly love such runs as it mimics the Spartan Race. These runs can be anywhere between 5-16km long. At each kilometer mark, perform 30 burpees. This will build up your burpee resistance during the race and it is a REALLY good way to build OCR specific endurance. Start off with 5km and you will know what I mean:)
3, Obstacle specific intervals
This is to simulate fatigue on the course itself and clearing of the obstacles under high heart rate. This should be done closer to the race itself when your aerobic condition is at its peak and after gaining the ability to clear obstacles properly (without fatigue).
An example of OCR specific intervals will be:
6 rounds of:
-clearing the monkey bars
-200m sandbag carries
Hope that these gives you an insight to training for OCR from the endurance perspective.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email (contact me section), drop me a DM on Facebook or look me up on Instagram (@thefitnessextremist). I do design
I do design customized training programs and do personal training as well so if you are looking at upping your game in OCR with proper programming, you may drop me an email and we can further discuss how I can help you achieve your goals.
Goodluck and train hard!