Give or take, it’s roughly the middle of the year, and either way my obstacle course race season is under way and it seemed like a good time as any to check in with this year’s goals.
I publicly share my OCR goals to hold myself accountable, but also so that you could learn from my successes and/or (more often) failures.
My largest goal this year is to reach Spartan Fit Level One. My goal is to hit this by June. Time is running out, but I’m going in the right direction. I may need more time, but I feel my current training is helping increase my speed. Details about that current training below.
So far this year, I’ve completed two obstacle course races.
Tough Mudder – This spring, Tough Mudder made an inaugural appearance in New Orleans. Gotta say it was nice to have a race within a short drive, hint, hint Spartan.
The race lived up to its name. The course was a lot of mud and I mean a lot. The worst or best part of it, depending on how you look at it was the mud mile. Basically, just trench after trench of slick, deep mud. The course builders made it extra difficult to get out of, but it was a lot of fun, joining up with complete strangers just so we could get out of this mud.
My only goal going into this race was to complete it. It was a little more than ten miles and I ended up jogging most of it. I was really happy with that. The obstacles towards the end that required a lot of extra body strength were tough and I’ll admit I skipped two. Still kind of mad at myself for that. I know I need a lot of upper body workouts, but I wish I had at least tried them.
Battle Races – Gulfport – If you’re in the Louisiana area, you have to check out the Battle Races. They’re a local, independent race series that’s on par with or better than the national races.
Like all of their two previous races, this was a tough one that tested me and gladly pointed out my weaknesses. In this case, it was my inability to pace myself. I went out of the gate too fast and paid for it on the second half of the course. I ended up walking the end and even skipping a few obstacles.
I think that even if I hadn’t run too hard in the beginning, the course would’ve demolished me. It was obstacle after obstacles of arm strength tests, followed by lots of heavy objects to carry. That being said, I did get further on of the multi-rigs than I’ve ever gotten before. Still, have a lot of training to do, but proud of that.
Speaking of training…
2017 OCR Training
I wanted to take a step back this year and really start with a solid base that wouldn’t last just a season, but would be something that would last for a lifetime. To do that, I decided to go down a few notches in training intensity and try out Daily Burn’s True Beginner Program.
Daily Burn is an online video membership site. For about ten dollars a month, you get access to video series that range from beginner to advanced with everything from bodyweight, to Yoga to certified Spartan training. (Full review coming soon in a future blog post.)
Tired of programs where I felt out of place, I wanted to go back to the beginning. I wanted something where I wasn’t just trying to keep up, I was doing more than required. Call it a confidence builder. Call it whatever you want. I got that with True Beginner.
The program is targeted to people coming back from an injury or just getting off the couch. I may technically be a little over qualified, but it was a good fit for my off season training. There were times where I could do more than the people in the video, but other times it was a challenge. It turned into a great way to build up a base after the winter off season/burn out.
I don’t know if I would recommend it for other OCR athletes, because I did feel like I was stuck in a low gear for a little too long and I did supplement it by doing running. When it came within a month of my first OCR race this year, I wanted to get better prepared. That’s when I took it up a notch.
I was pretty excited to see Spartan join up with Daily Burn. I like video coaching/training. It’s helped me lose weight and get in better shape. However, none of the videos I found online really seemed to help me get ready for obstacle races specifically. This, of course, was different.
Each workout was targeted to help the viewer prepare for a different obstacle or part of a race. I definitely felt like I was taking it up a notch. However, for me, it wasn’t a perfect fit. The workout required a lot of jumping, burpees and other moments that aren’t so great to do when you have a toddler that needs his sleep (and my only times to work out is when he’s sleeping). My other option was to workout in the backyard, which I loved, but it was sometimes hard to hear the videos even in the dead quiet mornings, without turning it up so loud on my Kindle Fire that I would worry that I would wake up the neighbors. Plus, it required equipment. Okay, required is the wrong word. The more advanced versions of the workout needed equipment and I just didn’t see myself needing the equipment after I completed the workout program.
Which leads me to my current training program. Yancy Culp’s Yancy Camp is targeted towards elite athletes, but can be scaled down for athletes for even further down for people like myself. I’m only about two months in, but I can already see the results. I’m running faster, I’m doing more bodyweight workouts and I can feel myself really pushing myself. I think it’s going to really help me get to my goal of Spartan Fit Level 1 and perform better on race day. Yancy also sets up tests that you do on the first day, then can redo every few months to see how you’re improving. I’m really looking forward to seeing how I’ve come along.
Related to that, I’ve added a Yancy Camp related goals to my Epic Quest. There’s a two mile run challenge and my initial score was 20.46. For elite athletes that’s extra slow, for me, I didn’t know I can move that fast. However, after a couple months of doing YC training, I feel like I’m going to be able to crush that.
Also, full review of Yancy Camp also to come.
I have another Battle Race coming up at the end of June, a trail/swamp run in July and another Battle Race in September. It’s hot here, but training is in high gear and I’m loving it.