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How They're Training 2021 - 65 OCR Athletes Respond

In 2019 we surveyed OCR athletes to see what their training was like. You can find the results from that survey by clicking HERE. We thought it was time to update the information and see how OCR athletes are training now. We had 65 random OCR athletes fill out the survey, and the results are below.

During an average training week, how many days are you training?

In our opinion, 1 and 2 days of training per week just isn't enough. You won't see much progress, even over a long span of time, with such low training volume. 3-6 days is the ideal range, and the number of days is then dependent on your fitness level and goal. We have some really active people in our surveyed bunch. 19 people are training 5 days per week, and 22 are crushing 6/7 of the week!

During an average training week, how many miles do you run?

Of course, your weekly mileage should be completely goal dependent, so for us to say someone is running too many mile, or too few miles, without knowing their goals, would just be silly. I will say, that for those running just 1-5 miles per week, based on the question asked, you probably aren't seeing continued progress in your running ability because the work load is too low.

Do you do any cycling? If yes, how far do you typically cycle per week on average?

Cycling is a great way to mimic the function of running, and still use the "running muscles" without having the impact that running brings with it. While not necessary, it is a good way to break up training and improve your fitness while giving your body space to recover. Just something to keep in mind!

Do you do specific work every week to prepare for technical obstacles?

The thing about our surveys is we almost never know who fills them out. We always post them into OCR Facebook groups so that we get a wide variety of OCR athletes and our data is as legitimate as possible. With that in mind, we don't know if most of those surveyed are great at obstacles or not. With the results listed here, more than half are working on their obstacle completion, but 29 aren't. Maybe those 29 complete all the obstacles each time, or maybe they just don't train for completion. I will say, that at every single race I've ever been to, there are people in all waves who fail obstacles...and it's the majority, not the minority. With that in mind, most people should be training for obstacle completion on a weekly basis.

Where does your average running pace fall? Choose the option that is closest to your average pace.

Paces are all over, as one would expect from athletes at different levels. The only one that surprised me was the 1 person running below a 6 min mile average pace. That's a fast person. With consistent training, all of these athletes could bring their time down to a lower average pace. But anyway, these numbers are where they currently are!

Oh average, how many days per week do you perform a strength training workout?

Strength training CAN BE tricky with OCR training depending on the goals and fitness level of an athlete. For those training 5-7 days per week of strength training, we'd recommend scaling that back. OCR is primarily an endurance sport. It does require strength for obstacles, but not the type of strength you'd spend 5+ days per week training. However, if your goal is to be strong and just complete an OCR, then you can do whatever you want! For a best performance at an OCR though, you'll need a lot more endurance work in comparison to strength work.

Do you cross train? If so, select all other forms of training that you participate in on a semi-regular basis (at least once per month).

Cross training is important to improve different movement patterns and fitness levels overall. It's great to see that most people are participating in multiple forms of cross training. Challenging your body in different ways is not only beneficial mentally, but can also help reduce chances of injuries occurring. It's worth it to cross train when possible.

On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night?

A good training program is essential for making real progress. However, without recovery, a perfect training program is useless. Sleep is the best form of recovery that you can do, so getting enough sleep is essential to being the best athlete you can be. We know, life is crazy and sometimes it's just not possible to get enough sleep. WHEN POSSIBLE, try to shoot for 7-10 hours. We're sorry for the person who is only getting 4 hours per night on average...

Do you work with a coach for your training, or do it all yourself?

Most people are doing their own programming, or seemingly aren't following a program at all. The only wrong answer here is to not have a program. It is possible to make progress without one, but the progress with be minimal in comparison to what could be achieved with properly designed programming. If you can do it on your own, do it on your own. If you need help, find help! Just have a program!

On a scale from 1-5, how important would you rank recovery in regards to your overall training and preparation?

Too low. Way too low. Out of 5 stars, this should be at 4 stars minimum. Without recovery, all of your hours of training are worthless. Without recovery, you make no progress and you will actually regress perpetually. Taking steps to recover from training should be an essential part of every athletes training. That means stretching, foam rolling, resting, sleeping, eating healthy, and so on.

Which forms of recovery/bodily maintenance do you use? (Select All That Apply)

It's great to see athletes using varying forms of recovery tools. Recovery and keeping your body moving properly are so essential to performance and injury prevention that to not do them, with all the options today, is just crazy! Good job, athletes!

How seriously do you take your nutrition?

So, how to say this. There were 22 people surveyed who aren't getting near their full potential based on nutrition alone. I know, not everyone has big or lofty goals, and many would rather eat whatever they want most of the time, but it's certainly not the way to see improvements continue over time. Nutrition is, in our opinion, still the most undervalued part of athletic performance in OCR.


7 Training Days Per Week

If you're planning on running an Ultra OCR in 2022, now is the time to start training. Ultras require long-term endurance, and the only way to gain that is by putting in lots of work over a longer span of time. Click the name, or the photo, to get signed up!


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