Some of the people reading this may be new to Obstacle Course Racing, and some may simply not have tried these strategies yet. So here are 10 tips to make your life easier at the next race you attend. I must say, Number 10 is by far the most important tip.
1: Bring plastic bags. Don't waste the money with trash bags, just bring some plastic grocery bags to put your wets clothes and shoes in. I've seen SO MANY people throw away clothes at the end of a race (including shoes). Certainly some of those clothing items were already dead, but sometimes people throw away perfectly good clothes that can be worn for the next race. Wash your shoes and clothes in the hose, and toss that wet laundry into a plastic bag for the ride home. I know, it sounds like common sense...but no.
2: Drink water at each aid station if the race is more than 30 minutes long. Dehydration, even at the earlier "lower" levels, will result in a dramatic drop in performance. Hydrate during the race, and keep performing!
3: If you're at a Spartan Race, jump into the water in Rolling Mud. Most people try to carefully walk down into the water, and many slip and fall and get more wet and muddy as a result. If you just jump right down into the center, you'll save time, energy, and potentially a fall as well.
4: If the race is cold, wearing gloves might be a great option to keep your hands warm between obstacles. When you get to obstacles that require some decent grip strength (rigs, monkey bars, rope climb, etc.), remove the gloves to complete the obstacle. Bare hands are almost always (with very very few exceptions) going to be your best bet for grip, so use your bare hands. You can put your gloves back on when you get back to running.
5: When running the open waves, assist other athletes when they ask for it! Probably the best part of open wave running at any OCR is the comradery. Help others, and take help from others if needed. You can train harder after the race to complete the obstacles solo next time, but if you can't do it right now, there is nothing wrong with getting help for completion.
OCR TRAINING PROGRAM
4 Workouts Per Week
The Forge training program provides you with 4 workouts per week designed to help you crush your next Obstacle Course Race. Your strength, speed, and endurance will all be tested and elevated. Every week of programming is designed to build your running endurance and grip strength. It's time to forge yourself into the best OCR athlete you can be! Click to learn more.
6: Bring a post-race protein source. Recovery is super important for any training...and your body doesn't know the difference between a race and a training session...it's all just stress to your body. Make sure you bring a healthy source to assist your recovery after the race is over. Drinking enough water, and getting the right nutrients, will help you recover much faster.
7: Attempt every single obstacle. Unless you have a limiting injury, try your best each and every time. Not only does it set a mental precedence so that you know that you will always try no matter what, it also gives you more practice and training...even if it's the slightest smallest bit. Every little step forward moves you closer to a bigger goal.
8: Carpool. Especially if you are going to events further away, it'll save you a lot of money to car pool with someone who lives near you who is going to the same race. You can cut the gas price in half and maybe get some extra sleep when you change off drivers. This one may seem like common sense as well...but I'm just saying...it's not.
9: If your hands are wet as you approach a grip obstacle, try drying them off with A) Dirt B) Grass or C) On your clothes/shorts. Now, if it just rained, you probably won't have dirt to work with, and if you went into water, your pants may not be dry, but there might still be some grass around that you can dry your hands off with...even if you only get some of the water off, that's better than having completely wet hands. It's worked for me in the past, or I wouldn't be suggesting it.
10: DON'T GO OUT TOO HARD TOO FAST! This is especially true in Age Group and Elite/Pro waves, however, I know from experience (as someone who did it at my 2nd ever race) that people SPRINT right out from the start. If you don't have the fitness level to maintain that level of effort, you WILL crash...and it'll be sooner than later. It doesn't matter if 40 people sprint ahead of you in the first 100 yards of a race (especially a longer race). I've been at so many races with people who go too hard too fast, and a mile into the race, I'm passing all of them because I paced myself according to my fitness level. Now, did I learn this the hard way? Yes. Yes I did. Learn from me so you don't crush yourself in the first mile and suffer through the remainder of your race.
That's it! 10 quick tips to make your all-around race experience better! Thanks for reading, and hopefully you took something valuable away.