6 Tips For the Beginner OCR Athlete

1) Build your endurance base. Get outside and run, walk, hike, etc. Using a bike, rower and swimming can be good if you have a history of injuries, but getting outside and using your legs will be paramount. Try to build your time up to at least 90 min of running/walking at one time.

Add intervals as you are able to handle the 90 min. Adding in speed work will increase your ability to run more efficiently over terrain. Start with fartlek runs (random speed increases, random rest) to keep you more interested and then add more dedicated time intervals (2, 5, 10, 20 min) as your abilities improve.


2) Build your grip strength. Test how long you can hang from a pull up bar, hang as long as possible and note the time. Train both dead hangs and active hangs (arms remaining bent). Start at 6-8 rounds 25% your max hang and add time as you get better. Retest every month to see improvement.


3) Improve upper and lower body strength and muscular endurance. Use pushups, pull ups, squats, lunges etc. Vary up the rest time, reps, intensity and variations of these movements. You don’t need to be able to lift 500 lbs., you just need to be able to lift your bodyweight many times with limited rest.

If using weights, keep it simple. There is no need to get fancy with balls and balance boards, your improvements will be minimal at best and has a high rate of injury. Master the basics and then add more advanced movements as you improve.


4) Obstacle preparation. Find weird shaped items that have weight and carry them for a distance. Go to playgrounds and play on monkey bars, climb over fences and walls. Jump into cold lakes, then run, and then crawl on all fours. Pretty much go play, like when we were kids. Have fun with it, that’s the essence of OCR.


5) Fuel properly. If you eat properly you won’t need gimmicks to finish the race. Eating a little something every 60 min on the course will be all you need. Test out different fuel sources (we like Advocare Rehydrate Gel) in training to make sure your stomach can handle it before race day. There’s nothing worse than needing to find a port-a-potty in the middle of a race. Water is continuous, but to a point. You don’t always need to hit every water station and in fact that may cause something very dangerous to happen. Alternate between plain water and an electrolyte solution (like the Advocare Rehydrate Mix) . The hotter it is the more you will need to replace electrolytes.


6) Take care of your body. Grind down calluses so they don’t rip, superglue cuts together to make sure you don’t get an infection afterwards. Protect your feet from blisters, wear long socks to avoid rope burns, and wear compression gear. Learn to conduct self massage on legs, arms, back, etc. Treat your body like a fine piece of equipment (because it is) and it will be ready and will work well when called upon on race day.


7) Work with a professional. We at RFT Coaching are dedicated to the sport of OCR. We race it, we coach it, we manage a professional team, and support local OCR teams. This is a big part of what we do.

If you need any help with these your coaches here at RFT Coaching will be happy to help. We have our OCR classes available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday here at the facility. If you live out town, or just don’t want to train at the gym with us, we can always provide online coaching. Hit us up at info@rftcoaching.com for package information.