Tips to Prepare for your First OCR!

By July 7, 2016 No Comments

Are you thinking about taking on an Obstacle Course Race (OCR) with Operation Enduring Warrior?  Maybe the Fort Bragg Spartan Sprint coming up in September?  Are you a little worried about how to prepare?  Have no fear – read this blog by one of our Community Ambassadors, Curtis VonAncken.


I have recently met several new OCA’s and friends who are planning or considering taking on their first Obstacle Course Race (OCR). Many other people know of my interest (read addiction) to OCR and ask me about what should be done in preparation for one. This motivated me to write this blog!

First a disclaimer! I am not a physician, health professional or anything of that nature. This is just one racers opinions nothing more nothing less.

If you are new to the OCR scene I welcome you to what will likely be a new passion. There is nothing like going on a course and taking on an obstacle your otherwise rational self says “heck no”. Conquer it and you will be revved up like never before. For us mere mortals not going for elite glory your experience is normally one of brute survival. At the end you will look back and think “holy c$&p I did that!”. And like most will be signing up for another. Take it to full tilt and come out to an OEW Masked Athlete Event. I guarantee it will change your whole mind set on what can and cannot be done by sheer force of will.

Let me also dispense with one horrible myth. That is that “normal people cannot do these races”. Nothing could be more wrong and I have heard it many times. I have seen a 68-year-old non-runner crush a Spartan.

Preparing for the Race:

In terms of workout I have found that body weight centered workouts and running are going to be best for me. Burpees, push-ups and pull-ups with an assist strap do the trick. Focus on getting up to a 3-mile jog if you are a non-runner. Most races don’t have anything longer than a mile between obstacles. I tend to do a lot of interval runs since I get bored easy.

The closer you get make sure and up your water intake especially the week before. Dehydration is one of the worst fates a racer can have. Don’t let it be you. Drink up.

Day before:

Make this a cheat day. Get a good pasta dinner to get your body some carbs beforehand. By now you should be peeing clear. Good sign you are well hydrated.

What to bring:

  • A pair of good Trail Running shoes – You want something that will grab the mud and keep you going without slipping too badly.
  • Camel Back – staying hydrated is key and some races don’t have good water breaks. Bring your own plus an added benefit is no bag check.
  • Plastic bags – to put stuff you don’t want wet in.
  • GU Tabs – mix one in with your water. These will keep you well hydrated.
  • Mustard packets – Sounds weird I know but they are a MUST to get rid of cramps on the course.
  • Some nutrition like trail mix, and meal bars.
  • Hammer Gel or similar quick take nutrition.
  • For longer (+6 miles) consider bagged sandwiches or roll ups.

When on the course I have a pretty simple motto; “don’t get hurt, help others, and have fun.”

My last tip would be is to link up with friends and like-minded people. You can find a list of Operation Enduring Warrior official races on both our main website and our Facebook site. Everyone is always welcome.