What You Need To Know Before Your First Obstacle Course Race

Heres what you need to know before your first Obstacle Course Racing event, and help you get prepared

Wear the right gear

Those that have done an OCR will all be familiar with this one. You’re lined up to your first obstacle course race, wearing the latest road runners or Nike Met-cons from the Box. You glance down, and all of a sudden you see a sea of trail shoes… Oh wait… I didn’t read the small print… This race is on trail?!

Or worse, you don’t even notice that 90% of these events are off trail and you’re running along in your fresh, reebok nano’s to be met with a muddy downhill and your skating like Bambi on ice.

Do yourself a favour, get some good trail shoes!

Prepare to grip

Monkey bars, rigs, hoists, Walls, all these obstacles involve GRIP! Your best bet is to work to maximise your max pull-ups on your run up to the event, that will give you the biggest bang for buck. 

But if you have a lot of time, then do a dedicated grip training program. I have a free Ebook, about training your grip for OCR, check it out.

Running is involved

Be prepared to be able to run the distance of the event… and hopefully a bit more. 

Generally, events range from 5km to a half marathon distances, so make sure you’re fairly comfortable at running the distance you have chosen and bare in mind you will have a myriad of  obstacles fatigue your along the course!

It’ll be a good idea to look at the previous race at that location to see if there is any sneaky elevation involved. If there is… Hit some hills!

Learn to carry

Whether it be a Sandbag or an atlas stone. These events generally involve some sort of carry. Get used to be able to carry in all sorts of different holds, from front rack, to on your back, to farmers carries (This will also help with grip)

Don’t think doing some hypertrophy 10 reps of 3 sets in the gym will get you through this unscathed. Get used to carry weight and moving with it!

You may get wet or muddy

Some events pride themselves on making you as MUDDY as possible… personally, i hate this aspect of OCR. But it still stands as some sort of gimmicky part of it!

My advice, don’t be wearing something plain white, as you will look like you’ve come straight out the sewer! And don’t go getting something brand new for the event – Things can easily get ruined or ripped on course!

in fact, in the USA, a lot of people have taken to not wearing much clothing at all!

It may push you out your comfort zone

If its your first event, its’ a pretty good guarantee that you will be pushed out of your comfort zone in some way. Theres not many sports like it and it will test you at some point on course. It could be how technical an obstacle is, a big fall, mud or how heavy something is.

The bonus to this, is after the event, most people feel great, feel accomplished, like they have been through the wringer, and everything that seemed tough before, isn’t so tough anymore!

If you have any questions regarding your first OCR event, then feel free to drop me a line and i’d be happy to answer your questions and have trained beginners all the way to elite field athletes.

Jake Barber

Jake is a coach who specialises in Endurance and OCR events.


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