My story and top tips for obstacle course racing.

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Today I am going to go through my time and life doing obstacle course racing. I will go through how I ended up getting to the stage I am at now and what I do to plan, train and compete for every event. With this I will be giving you my top tips on training and taking part.

So firstly I started In June 2014, my first event was called the Holm Howler. This event was a 10K obstacle run down in Lancaster and I was conducting this as just a fun race with my friends. I really enjoyed it and started doing more and more fun events including Bad-ass Mucker 10k, Total Warrior 10 mile, Rat Race 10k, Wild Warrior 10k, Born Survivor 10k, Major series 10k, No Ego 10k and Beast Race 10k where I won with a personal best of 49 minutes! Each time I went for an obstacle race I always set myself challenging goals, like beating my time or beating the last place I came in the race before. This helped me to keep focused.

WinnerThe Beast Race, 2014 (1st Place).

Throughout my first season of racing I completed a lot of courses. I did one almost every weekend or every other weekend at least. I was coming in the top 10 places or top 10%. This was giving me so much experience and motivation ready for the next season.

My first season training involved mostly upper body strengthening as well as a lot of cardio and bodyweight training. The only mistake I made, through the training and doing all the races, was that I didn’t train my hip flexors and legs with weights. This was because I didn’t want to be slower when running. However, this made my joints in my legs weaker and weaker with each race I was doing. By the end of the season, the last race being the No Ego challenge in Penrith, my cartilage around my knee got really sore and very weak. I could barely race. It got to the stage I struggled to walk to work. It was frustrating but I finished the race season in November and had some time out to recover.

bigoneThe Wall.

Now I am going into 2015, my second season. This time I have planned to do a race each month so I can train harder, push further and enjoy each race even more. My training will be 4-6 weeks long, mainly 1/2 week full body strengthening, 1/2 week weight strengthening and bodyweight training, 1 week weight strengthening, bodyweight and cardio and then finish of with just cardio.

The first race of the 2015 season was Bad-ass Mucker 2 and I felt fitter and stronger than ever. I came to make my mark. I finished in 10th place. I then did Born Survivor and I came 6th but unfortunately suffered a shoulder injury for my efforts. What I did for the injury was rest it first, and then strengthen it at the joint ready for next time.
The next race was one well-known in Cumbria, the Gelt Gladiator. I completed the race solo in the 10k but also put a team of clients I had trained into the 5k. They loved doing that with me and are now already signed up to another, the Wild Warrior 10k. I also did the last 1-mile course in the Gelt too, with Angel my friend’s niece. It was a busy day but in my 10k race I came 6th. Very happy with that. The main tip for this part of the season is very important: yes you want to push more and more and progress but you should never forget to have as much fun as you can!

fireThe Fire Pit.

The next race was very important in my season and got me to the stage I am at now. In-between each race I would plan my training with amazing strengthening, bodyweight training and good cardio. This race was the 12k Major series in Sterling, Scotland. With this race was the OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) Championship qualifier. Of the people taking part in this race, the top 20 would qualify. The pressure was on. I came 5th, with an amazing time. This race was my fastest so far and the best one I have ever done!

Yes, I am now in the OCR Championships taking place in Essex in November 2015. So for this amazing race I am training again with the same strategy as before. This time I am training for another race and then using that race as part of my training for the OCR Championships. I have recently done the Total Warrior 10 mile and it was really good to test my prep night before, my nutrition and also the techniques on the obstacles. The other races I have to do in my training are: Beast Race (to defend the title), Wild Warrior, Bear Grylls’ Ultimate Survivor 19 mile and the OCR championships.

waterRiver plunge.

So that’s my story so far. Here are my top 7 tips that have helped immensely over my journey in obstacle course racing:

1. Never forget to have as much fun as you can.
This way you will keep motivated to do more and keep going for that next level.

2. Train hard and well.
This will make you faster, stronger and keep you feeling good. This will also prevent injuries you don’t need in your life.

3. Plan your training.
Pick your race and the date and then plan back to your first day of training. Starting with strength and conditioning, then plan right through to what you need to train for that event.

4. Practice all different obstacles.
Always practice the general type of obstacles, study them and find the best way for you to smash right through them.

5. Great nutrition through your training and night before and after the event.
Always eat healthy and seek great nutrition tips and get the best meal plan for you and your new goal. Have your pre night meal at a certain time. Have a protein drink and carbohydrates ready for after you have finished.

6. Stretch.
Stretching is very important too, this will make you stronger, to get yourself around, over and through the challenges and after the training session and events to recover your muscles and prevent injuries. After the event make sure you always stretch and you will recover quicker and better, ready to go harder and have more fun doing it all ok with no worries. You can also do this to relax yourself the night before the event.

7. Push and challenge yourself.
The more and more you do these obstacle challenges then the more you will want to achieve more than just finishing. You will want to beat your place or time. This will also get you achieving every time and feeling really good in your life.

So there you have it. Feel free to leave your view on these tips or ask any questions, I’m here to help.

Also, don’t forget to check out my previous articles!

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About Author

Carl Fisher

Carl is 26 years old and is a resident personal trainer at DW sports fitness. He has actively been training clients for over a year now, providing them with great results. He specialises in obstacle course racing around the UK and has two children; Chloe aged 8 & Rekarah aged 1. Location: Carlisle

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