There are always fads with fitness, like anything really, and the latest buzzword ‘OCR’ obstacle course racing is no different but… I think this one is here to stay.

I did my first obstacle course a year ago, Judgement Day.  Having heard all about tough mudder and alike I felt it was time I gave this a shot myself. Funnily enough finding someone to partake with me was proving quite difficult so I entered on my own regardless and right at the final hour a friend did join me I am pleased to say.

For me I find running dull, off road running is less dull but combine that with a few obstacles and it becomes a whole new experience.  The only way I can describe the experience is that it is like being a child again, splashing through muddy puddles without a care in the world, hauling yourself over hay bales and climbing frames.  Of course as an adult you are slightly more aware of the risks involved and I remember having to sign the wordy disclaimer that was provided prior to the event which did include a death waiver which slightly freaked me out.  But there is just something about it that is quite exciting, exhilarating and when you cross that finish line absolutely exhausted, the feeling of accomplishment and pride makes it all worthwhile.

I will admit that on the morning of Judgement Day I was extremely nervous, I felt sick, I couldn’t eat any breakfast (and that’s not like me) and was convinced I was going to die.  My biggest fear was the tunnels, enclosed spaces, claustrophobia.  But as soon as I got there and registered I started to forget my fears and soak up the atmosphere becoming a part of it.

At the end, having accomplished every obstacle including the tunnels (but excluding the monkey bars, and I put that down to being (a) they were very thick scaffold poles and (b) were ultra-slippery and (c) too high for me, I lost grip and fell off), nonetheless I felt elated, buzzing.  If you could bottle that feeling and sell it, it would be more powerful than any drug on the market.

I have since completed my second Judgement Day OCR in November and have entered my third on April 4th. (I even heard that it is tougher than tough mudder from finishers of TM themselves!)… But I cannot comment as I haven’t done one – yet. The electric shock puts me off that one a little.

So how do you prepare for an event like this?  Well its multi-discipline so you need to be able to run across varying terrain like sand and grass and through sometimes pretty deep water, pull your own bodyweight, jump, balance, crawl and climb.  You don’t necessarily need a gym to train, you just need a positive mental attitude, the motivation, determination and willpower to succeed and a few weeks to prepare.  A base level of fitness to start is obviously good, but an already relatively fit and healthy person could focus and train for this event in 6 weeks.

Below is my 6 week Judgement Day Training Plan. This programme assumes that you can already comfortably run 5km.  Over the coming weeks I will be posting a series of exercises and workouts to help you.

See you at the start line – April 4th.

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Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
Mon Strength Strength Strength Strength Strength Strength
Tues Interval Run Interval Run Intervals/ Hill Reps Hill reps + Powerbag Hill reps + Powerbag Hill reps + Powerbag
Weds Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest
Thurs Circuit Circuit Circuit Circuit Circuit Circuit
Fri Strength Strength Strength Strength Strength 5k easy run
Sat Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest Active Rest
Sun Run 7km offroad Run 9km offroad Run 11km offroad Run 13km offroad Run 15km offroad RACEDAY!