10 Tips to Enjoy Your Next Obstacle Race
What better way to spend a day in the great outdoors, than by participating in an obstacle course race. (OCR) These events can be tough and challenging, but they are absolutely a lot of fun! If you’re running an obstacle course race for the first time (or if you’re a seasoned weekend warrior) keep these tips in mind to make sure your experience is as enjoyable and memorable as it can be.
1. Dress the part:
The last thing you want to do is wear baggy, hot clothes that will not only weigh you down on the course once they get wet, but might get caught on obstacles and hold you back.
Wear tight fitting clothes made from material that won’t retain water such as dry-fit fabric.
Wear trail shoes with strong grip in both wet and dry conditions and can take on tough terrain.
Make sure to tie your shoes tight so your feet don’t slip out as you crawl through the dirt and mud.
You may want to wear gloves for better grip when carrying and using upper body strength.
Don’t wear jewelry or take anything of value with you on course that you don’t want to lose. (like your car keys or wallet).
Remember – your clothes may get ripped or damaged on course, so it’s a good idea to wear something you don’t mind discarding after the race.
2. Decide what type of race you’re running:
Many people sign up with the intention of “racing” only to find out it’s harder than they expected, or they weren’t as prepared as they thought. This can lead to disappointment and a less than enjoyable experience. Before you walk up to the start line make sure you decide what type of race you’re running.
Are you running to compete against fellow athletes, or are you there to have fun?
Does it matter to you how quickly you finish?
Are you ok with walking some of the race or is it your goal to run the entire course?
At the end of the day it’s You vs You so make sure you enjoy yourself.
3. Warm-up before the race:
It’s important to warm-up before any race. It helps get your body ready physically, and your mind ready mentally for the adventure ahead. It can also help prevent injury and cramping while you’re on the course. Below are some quick and easy exercises to warm-up before the start line.
Do some static stretches to get your legs moving
Try a few 30 second jogs to warm-up the lungs
50 Jumping Jacks
10 Air Squats
10 Squat Jumps
10 Pull-ups (using a tree)
4. Stay hydrated and breathe efficiently:
Obstacle course races can be much more physical than you think and your body can use a lot more water than you expect. It’s important to stay hydrated while you’re on the course. You never know if and when there will be a water station setup so it’s best to always bring a few bottles of water or a camelback with you on your run.
Breathing is another important component to keep in mind when on course. A trick soldiers use to teach themselves how to breathe efficiently is they run while holding a little water in their mouth to remind them to only breathe through their nose. It’s simple and an effective way to learn good habits.
5. You’re allowed to ask for help:
Obstacle course racing has a very inclusive community of participants at its events. Everyone is there to have fun and the majority are more than willing to help a fellow racer in need of a boost over a wall, a sip of water, or a partner to run alongside with when they need that extra motivation to push them through the last mile of the race.
Remember, stay safe! If you get to an obstacle and you don’t think you can complete it safely, ask for help.
6. Bring a change of clothes:
Odds are, you will get dirty, wet, sweaty and muddy as you embark on your adventure. And chances are when you cross the finish line, you will not want to stay that way. To keep your spirits up, plan ahead and bring a fresh pair of clothes and shoes to change into once you’re done. Leave the race clean – and happy! (p.s. showers are usually not available at the race grounds)
Things to bring:
Garbage Bags for your dirty clothes
7. Don't race alone:
Let’s be honest, experiencing anything – is more fun and memorable when you have someone to make the memories with. Racing with someone provides you with:
The extra words of encouragement when you need motivation to keep going
The extra hand when you’re in need of help over an obstacle
The extra laugh after the race when you’re telling stories about your experience
The extra cameraman on course so you have someone to capture your moments of victory
8. Start the morning off right:
If you want to really enjoy your day at the race, make sure you start it off on the right foot.
Pack your race gear the night before so you aren’t rushed the next morning
Get plenty of sleep
Eat a good breakfast so you have the energy to race
Stretch so your loose and limber for the adventure that awaits you
9. Plan your reward:
Think of it as the gold at the end of the rainbow, or the light at the end of the tunnel. Plan to treat yourself to a tangible reward after you finish the race. It will give you a little extra motivation when the finish line doesn’t seem so close, and the fatigue starts to set in on course. Here’s a few examples:
Delicious victory meal at a favourite restaurant with your race partners
A cozy spa day to rejuvenate your tired muscles and soul
Something as simple as a coffee or cocktail you can cheers with friends
10. Don’t be scared and Enjoy yourself:
All the nerves and thoughts of doubt you may have had during the days leading up to the race will disappear as soon as you leave the start line with everyone else in your group and the feelings turn into excitement. You forget all the reasons why you were thinking of not signing up or even showing up and your focus turns into enjoying yourself and finishing the race. Everyone who embarks on the adventure is there to have fun. Everyone is running for their own reasons and will experience the race in a different way. Laugh, smile, challenge yourself, motivate one another, take photos and don’t forget to smile!