Finding a training routine that can boost endurance and stamina is part and parcel of preparing for any obstacle course race, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth. Faced with a combination of sandbag carries, hill climbs and other strength-sapping obstacles, you’ll have to be able to dig deep – sustaining both mental and physical effort as you make it round the course. But when you make it to the finish line, you’ll reap the rewards in the shape of a JD medal and a heady combination of adrenaline, endorphins and satisfaction at a race well run.
Here are five simple rules for building OCR-level stamina from scratch:
1. Embrace circuits
Circuits and plyometric training require strength, endurance and stamina, developing the fast-twitch muscle fibres that will help you shave minutes off your time. Adding combinations of burpees, box jumps, knee tucks and press-ups to your weekly workout routine to improve your cardiovascular fitness and overall sharpness.
2. Remember to rest
Working out every day in preparation for an OCR isn’t necessarily the best way to improve your stamina. Training too much not only increases the chance of injury through overuse, it can also have an effect on the intensity of your workouts. To ensure you’re able to train hard and get the most out of your workouts, remember to include 2-3 recovery days in your weekly routine.
3. Build intensity over time
One advantage that sprints, circuits and high intensity interval training have over jogging is their adaptability. If you’re training for an OCR and trying to boost your stamina, you’ll need to find a routine that improves your muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness. The key to achieving this is to build up gradually over time, applying the ‘overload principle’ and going beyond your comfort zone.
4. Push yourself
Gradually increasing the intensity and workload of your exercise routine can test your fitness intelligence, that is to say, how well you know your body and its limits. At times during your training you’ll have to push through when your legs and lungs are burning. But there will also be times when your body needs time to recover.
5. Keep things fresh
OCR events provide a complete fitness challenge, testing stamina and strength. That’s why it’s important keep things fresh in your workout routine by regularly introducing new exercises and sports to develop different aspects of your fitness. Our bodies and muscles get used to doing the same thing over and over again. By mixing it up with different challenges, whether it’s swimming, cycling, running or circuits, you’ll be better placed to face everything the course throws at you on race day.