It's that time of year again. Several Ultra OCRs have occurred, and now there are people looking at some of the Ultras toward the end of the year thinking, "I think I can do that." Well, YOU CAN! With the proper training that is. So, let's go over what you need to do in 5 steps!
Step 1: Increase your mileage of running and hiking. Nothing can prepare you for being on your feet like being on your feet. An Ultra is going to take you HOURS. Depending on the course, an Elite may finish an OCR Ultra in 5-7 hours. If you aren't in that fitness category, you can certainly plan for 8+ hours realistically. Now! Does that mean you have to train up to that length? No...it isn't realistic at all. However, you do need to train for volume and time on your feet of hiking and running (depending on your fitness level). Scale the distance and length of your training sessions gradually over time so as to avoid injury.
Step 2: Include hill work into your training. Even if you live in a pretty flat area, you can use stair cases, bleachers, hill repeats, incline treadmill and so on as tools to develop similar adaptations in your body as running up hills. Is it exact? No. Nothing beats training for hills or mountains like running hills and mountains, but we do what we can with what we have!
Step 3: Take care of your body throughout your training. This includes, but is not limited to, staying hydrated every day, eating enough nutritious food, foam rolling, stretching, and so on. If you don't do these things your performance will suffer. You will also increase your risk for injury and burnout by a significant percentage by not doing those things. So do the things.
Step 4: IF YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO HILLS, and even if you do, it would benefit you to incorporate lower body strength exercises. First of all, these exercises will help you with your lower body strength, which will typically help with your form and reduce the risk for injury. Secondly, it will help you when you come to those long downhill sections that create a ton of eccentric load on your legs that you may not be used to if you don't have hills to train running down.
Step 5: Obviously you need to be prepared to take on the obstacle portion of the race. This means doing the training necessary to complete obstacles. For some this might take much longer than others. However, it's worth it. To lose the energy after failing and obstacle, and doing 30 burpees, is a pretty big hit on a day when you already have 30+ miles to move. Train to be proficient at obstacles so you don't waste a lot of energy on them.
If you have more questions, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you'd like programming for an Ultra OCR, we offer training for that! We'd love to help you reach your goal. No matter what, we hope you work hard at your training and accomplish all of your goals!
7 Training Days Per Week
The Ultra OCR training program demands dedication and determination. Athletes need to allow at least 12 weeks of training prior to their Ultra. Each week, you'll have 6 days of training followed by a 7th day of fully programmed recovery work. If you're ready for the challenge, sign up now.