How do you train for OCR!?

There are so many different, fun ways to train. I love mixing different elements in each week so I don’t get bored. Bearing in mind that you use every muscle in OCR so any training is great training. The general basis of my training is 3-4 runs a week, a weight session and some form of plyometric training.

Depending on how much time I’ve got and what events are coming up, determines what extras I add in. Maybe I’ll add a few heavy carry sessions if a Spartan is coming up, or if a more technical event is in line, I’ll make sure I add some rig work in.

I’ve always thought obstacle training centres are really good for our sport; to help it grow and to better the athletes we already have. I probably don’t go to them enough, mainly because of the distance to travel or the times they are open, they never seem to work with my busy lifestyle. So when the owners of One True Grit in Hertfordshire set up a training facility 20 minutes from my home in Bassingbourn, called the Obstacle Training Ground. I decided to go and check it out.

Living and working around Hertfordshire, I know the area very well, but finding the venue was even easier than expected, with signs guiding you right in. As you enter the venue, it gives off a very professional look, an army marquee as the registration area, a flattened grass area for parking that’s covered with a metal grid base to help drive on and off in the winter season, and behind all that, is a field of obstacles. They’re all smartly painted black and red, reminiscent of a Spartan theme.

Pulling up, a smiling Harry Harrison greeted me – it’s always nice when the team come and meet you, especially when you’re travelling alone. I signed in for pay and play, met the group and off we went. There is a standard half hour to an hour induction, running through all the obstacles, where you are able to ask any questions and have a quick go, while Harry gives you tips and advice on technique. After a few plays on the obstacles, we all gathered round for a sip of water, ready to go back out for a timed lap. I loved attempting it in a race-based scenario.

As far as obstacles go, there’s a lot going on there; 40 obstacles with a great mixture of balance (my Kryptonite), strength and technical challenges. My personal favourite was the ninja style trampoline to cargo net - I’ve never done this before and knew there was a strong chance it could all go wrong, but luckily there was no water in the ditch - just chunks of foam to absorb your fall. I made it; what a feeling! But even if I didn’t, that’s what training’s all about… Learning, so that on race day, we smash it!

Afterwards, I had a good chat with Harry, Harry has been training military personnel for 23 years; he’s set up a parkfit group, which he still runs today. Keeping in line with his military training and love for fitness, he set up One True Grit OCR. Wanting to expand on getting people fit and off the couch, he decided to go one further, and create a fun, all ability obstacle training centre.

I asked him what his ambition and focus is for the facility, he said it’s all about the family side of things; some have partners and children that might not be into OCR as much as us, but his aim is to create an environment where everyone can come for the day and enjoy themselves. As the obstacle course is for 5 years and above, they are in the process of setting up a toddlers play section - all fenced off with a picnic area next to it for OCR partners to be able to chill as well. So after your session, you can jump in the on site showers, get cleaned up and enjoy some family time.

As a lovely idea on top, one pound of every entry fee is donated to the Rooprai Spinal Trust Charity.

All in all, I’m very impressed with this training facility; Harry has a real passion for fitness and obstacles, I can’t wait to see this place grow.

If you do have a OCR training centre close by, try and add it in to your schedule, you’ll be surprised how it can improve your performance on the course.

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