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Training for Obstacle Course Racing

In the fitness realm, few things have grown as fast as CrossFit.  One of those things is Obstacle Course Racing (“OCR”).  You’ve seen the ads, the social media posts, and probably know the major brands – Spartan, Tough Mudder,  Warrior Dash.  These, along with many others, have put military-style obstacle courses together and let regular Joe’s & Jane’s have a crack at them.  Joe & Jane then discover what every veteran and Boy Scout know: they’re so much fun they should be illegal.  But how to prepare for something that’s intentionally secretive and where you don’t know exactly what you’re going to face?

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You start with what you do know, which is usually the approximate distance and number of obstacles.  Many races are also established enough that you can make good predictions about at least the types of things the race will throw at you.  Some have signature elements that will always be there, like ice water, hills, or tasks that require mental acuity while working physically hard (like memorizing a phrase to be reported after you carry a bucket of rocks up a ski slope).  While the specific tasks may be unknown, you can bet they will challenge a broad range of physical and problem-solving abilities.  These will undoubtedly include: mobility, grip strength, loaded carries, and proprioception (the ability to tell where your body parts are in space, as when you need to place your feet but can’t see them).

The best way to prepare for these challenges is a program that is constantly varied in its demands and requires you to learn to use your whole body as a functional unit rather than a collection of disparate parts, together with enough endurance work to keep you focused on the obstacles, not the distance you have to cover.  In a nutshell, you need CrossFit Endurance.  That’s the Constantly Varied selection of Functional Movements performed at High Intensity of CrossFit, plus additional endurance work to enable you to cover the distance, develop efficient running technique, and ensure you have the speed and endurance you need to allow you to treat the distance as a nuisance, and focus on the obstacles.

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CrossFit Endurance is why CrossFit Slipstream exists.  We are here to help you develop the abilities needed for Obstacle Course Racing and other events lasting longer than 10:00 – triathlons, running anything from 1 mile to ultra marathons, bicycle racing, trips to the Boundary Waters, and everything in between.  Contact us to see how we can get you to your finish line!

–John Bryant

Founder & Head Trainer

john@crossfitslipstream.com