The Importance of Running in an OCR



Runner 3Okay let’s face it. Most OCRs out there are in the 8 to 12 mile range. What I’ve learned from running OCRs, in my opinion, is that the most important part of training is the running aspect. Don’t get me wrong. You need to be in some sort of physical shape to get over, under, up, and through the obstacles, but the majority of time is spent running the course.

That being said when I train I look to incorporate running into my workout in a manner which is very similar to running a race. I have a bad right hip (arthritis), and sometimes it leads to knee pain, so most of my running is done on the treadmill at the gym. I have heard people say, “If you’re going to run you need to do it outside”. In my case, I can’t pound the pavement every day since it just leads to more pain and more downtime. Not good for keeping my training consistent. One advantage for me is that the treadmills are softer than the road. Most of them have built in shock absorption. There are a few other advantages besides injury prevention that I think will benefit others. I’ll explain…

I mentioned that I incorporate running in such a way as running a race. At the gym this is very doable. There are a lot of times where I start with a run, anywhere from a ¼ mile to a mile, then switch off to an exercise. Maybe a few sets of pull-ups followed by mountain climbers, or dips followed by box jumps, or even some burpees followed by planks could work. Then I get back on the treadmill for more running. Alternating running with strength training like this simulates race conditions. My heart rate is up for a specific distance running, and just like hitting an obstacle in a race I switch off to an exercise where I’m pushing, pulling, squatting, jumping, etc. For me, the strength exercises mixed in with the running really does the trick.

The other advantage of using the treadmill is that you can control your pace as well as the incline of the treadmill. Don’t have any hills where you live? No worries, just increase the incline. Want to do speed work? That is also possible by adjusting the treadmill speed to your limits and abilities.

The only other hard fast rule I have when running is that my long run on the weekend MUST be outside on trails. OCRs are done on trails so this is the only other way to simulate race conditions. Plus, it’s great to get “away” on the weekend and go on a nice long trail run. 


This running plan is what works for me. It might work for you as well. Just keep in mind this article was written for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor but if you need to consult one before exercising it is highly recommended.

Happy Running!



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