My goal in OCR is always to do my best...whatever that ends up meaning. Early on, it meant completing all the obstacles and placing higher in the open waves at events. Today, it means pushing myself onto podiums whenever possible. However, there were things I could have done much better in my training when I first started in OCR that would have resulted in myself being a better athlete now.
1: I wish I had learned proper running mechanics/form from the start.
Like everyone else on planet earth, I just ran when I ran. I didn't give a thought to how I ran; probably because I never ran more than a few miles at a time, and never frequently enough for my poor form to cause any issues or injuries. Eventually, the more I raced, and the higher I took my mileage, I ran into issues and injuries that could have been mostly, or completely, negated had I spent a few months of time and effort at the very beginning to work on my running form.
2: In OCR, the way your body looks is not what determines how well you perform.
I'm built pretty small. Average height, but very skinny naturally. It took me a long time to put on a good amount of muscle and definition. When I started taking my training for OCR seriously, I lost some of the muscle mass and definition I used to have. I didn't like seeing it go, and it took a while to adjust, but my constant improvements at races proved that my training was working. I had to let "look" go. Most people aren't going to look big and jacked and be the best possible endurance athlete they can be.
4 Training Days Per Week
The Competitor is for OCR participants that have a few races under their belts but want to build up for longer events or improve their standings on the leaderboard.
3: Running faster/harder all the time isn't the best way to improve endurance.
All of my running growing up was just playing fun random games or in pickup sports. Deciding to compete in OCRs was the first time I took up running consistently. All of my runs were about putting up a better time or going a further distance or a longer amount of time. Every. Single. Run. was me trying to set a new best for myself. I did really well for a beginner too. In less than a year I'd moved up to a 1/2 Marathon in 1 hour 33 minutes. However, not long after, I started having some pretty bad injury issues with my IT band. I could barely bend my knees to walk or sit down for several days after one of my run. Anyway, I didn't understand at the time that further and faster each time isn't the right way to train for running. There needs to be a lot of miles done at lower efforts for very important physiological developments to occur. Those miles should be progressed over time, not increased every time. Once I learned that, and let my stubbornness go, I reached new levels of fitness.
Hindsight is 20/20, so I'm giving you all the gift of perfect vision!