Anyone into OCR? (Or other endurance running)

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OCR = Obstacle Course Racing

So the past few years I've gotten into running recreationally. I've never been any kind of athlete. I played 1yr of JV soccer in high school and wasn't very good (I'm 31 now, for perspective) I began running, like a lot of people, as a response to a bad breakup. It helped clear my head I guess.

I really liked trail running and started running with my brother, slowly increasing miles. Then he convinced me to sign up for a Tough Mudder, which was intimidating, but a personal challenge since it's not really a "race". Over the last couple years my brother and I have participated in some trail 5-10ks and I liked the challenge, especially when it involved a lot of steep hills. My brother and I have been pretty close in overall athletic ability, though were built differently (I was about 6'-185 kinda pudgy, he was about 6'3-200 and more muscular).

Then I had a huge wake up call that I wasn't in as good shape as I thought. We signed up for a Spartan Race Super event in Palmerton PA, July 2015. Advertised as 8-10 miles and a bunch of obstacles I knew nothing about. I was overconfident and underprepared. I'd done a couple Tough Mudders so I thought I'd be done in 2-3hrs and be on my way. Well that 8-10miles was up and down a 1000' climb (multiple times) with obstacles much more challenging than the stuff you do at TM. It took us over 4hrs to complete. After that I got a lot more serious with my training. I wanted to do it again and just crush it. I was hooked.

I trained all fall/winter, signed up for a cheapo gym membership so I could keep training for the winter (previous years I'd just stop and have to start over in the spring), slowly changed my diet to make better eating decisions, and started training under an OCR specific program. I signed up for 2 major events as motivation: a trail half-marathon with lots of hills, and a Spartan Race Beast event in NJ(13+ miles, 30+ obstacles), a week apart from each other. Over the next few months I dropped 20lbs and got a LOT faster and stronger. I mainly focused on running endurance and hill climbs.

Half stats: 13.1mi, 2200ft elevation gain
Beast stats: 14.8mi, 34 obstacles, 5500ft elevation gain.

From a personal standpoint, I crushed both events.
-In the half marathon I placed 12th/500 overall, and 2nd in my age group with a time of 2hrs:05mins.
-In the Spartan Beast I placed 37th/621 overall, and 3rd in my age group with a time of 4hrs:25mins Spartan has 3 classes, and they don't rank you against ALL 3, but looking at the times, I was in the top 100 or so out of the 2000 or so people that attempted it. The course also only had about a 40-50% completion rate due to time or injury.

So that's my story and I'm hooked on OCR. I've got 3 more Spartan races on my calendar this year, and a handful of trail runs, and I'll probably add some more. Was supposed to do a TM in June, but I'll be in Japan for work/vacation. Thinking about adding a battle frog event this year, we'll see.

So is anyone else as crazy as me?
I know @awptickes likes the Tough Mudders and I did an event with him last October in Philly.

Never again. I've done 2 October events in the northeast and both were rainy, cold, and miserable.
I did a local 5k obstacle run with one of my sister's in law last year for a non profit that supports adults with mental health issues. It was a good time. I gained back the 20 pounds I lost last year so I'm pretty much starting over this season. I'd be interested in doing another event like that for sure though.
I prefer events in the fall. It's easier for me to run distances when I'm miserably cold than in the warmer weather.
I can deal with hot.
I can deal with cool.

I can't deal with mid to low 40's while it's raining and windy lol. Especially when I'm not moving fast/hard enough to keep my body temp up. (For those not aware, you get fully submerged in water at Tough Mudders, and at one point in ice water, layering up doesn't really help)

It was low 40s at the start line for the Spartan, but warmed up to mid 60s and sunny later in the race, not too much water on that course either.
Co-workers were talking shit, so I decided to do a 1mile time trial.

4laps of the track, 1600m ("metric mile")
Did it in 6:06.

Definitely the fastest I've ever done the 1mile, but I was a tad disappointed because I really wanted to break 5:59. In my defense it was the hottest day of the year so far and I wasn't totally there mentally and I wasn't able to push myself far enough into the "pain train". HR topped out at 182, but I really should have pushed harder to get into 185+ with more speed. After this to finish my day's workout I went to the gym and cranked out a 60min 15% treadmill climb at 3.2mph (fast walk/hike, <150 HR)

I did a 2mi test (on treadmill) 2 months ago, and did fairly well for the time and did it in 13:14. I'll need to re-do this in a few months and see how I've improved.

What's everyone's best 1mi and 2mi times? Just for shits and giggles.

Grip and pull strength is very important in OCR too. So another fun test to try is a 10/100 challenge:

Go to a pull-up bar
Start timer
Immediately jump to bar and do 1 pull-up
Drop to hang for 10 seconds, do not come off the bar, remain at a dead hang
Repeat 1 pull-up and hang every 10 seconds for as long as you can hang on.

The goal is to do 10 pull-ups and 100seconds of hang time. It will really tax your grip strength and pain tolerance on your hands.

I made it to 8 pull-ups and 80seconds of hang time before my grip gave out and fell off the bar. It's a tough test. Give it a shot and see how you do.
I need to get in shape and that wouldn't be a bad goal to set. But like. Cars.
i've never timed a 1 or 2 mile, but i pulled 8:45's on my last 3 mile run and that was a personal best.
When I started I had to work up to a 12 minute mile and then was hoping to break 30:00 for my first 5k, so progress is progress.
Indeed. Progress is progress.

I've never run a 5k on a flat surface like a road or track, not for a race time at least. Last time I ran a 5k (Nov 2015) it was on relatively flat ground, but on trails, so a little slower than flat surface pace. I did it in 24:00. I was pretty happy with that at the time.

I thought of another benchmark test I do if anyone wants to try. All you need is a treadmill.

Set treadmill to 15% incline.
Set timer for 15mins.
Go at whatever speed you can handle, but do not reduce the incline. The goal is to get max distance in 15mins, which means going at a fast speed. My best so far is about 1.25mi.
i'm in the high 9s right now.... i was in the mid 8s last fall. i put on 40 lbs since then though, mostly upper body muscle (190 then, 228 now) so i'm heavier and slower.
6 is never going to fucking happen.
5 is for the olympics lol

you're in killer shape man
More like low 4s are Olympic/Elite level times for 1mi lol. If I can get my 1mi down to 5:30 I'll be pretty content.

I'm in a lot better shape than I was. But I have a ways to go. I'd like to be able to compete at the Elite level in this sport, and I'm not there yet. I'm in the top 5% or so, but to compete at a high level, you really have to be top <1%

I did a lot of training over the last few months to really improve my cardio endurance, since I had 2 long 13+ mi races a week apart. I think I did a decent job preparing for those events. But I struggled with obstacles that required a lot of raw upper body strength, like the sled drags, heavy carries, and weight hoists. So I've thrown in an extra upper body lifting day to my training to try to improve in those areas.

I can run all day, but I can't bench for shit lol. But running and hill climbs are the main thing to be good at in Spartan races. Then grip strength and just enough raw strength to be able to get through the harder obstacles without failing and having to do penalty burpees (30 each failure). You really don't want to be too big and bulky that it slows you down though. That's why most guys that excel in OCR are smaller, but strong guys. There's really only 1-2 "big" guys that are winning at the elite level. Hunter McIntyre is one, he's like 6'2 190 and he's an absolute beast. Most of the other elites are like 5'8-5'10 and like 150lbs with very low body fat.

Whereas I'm like 6'0 165 right now. I'm working out about 4-5x a week with 90-120min long sessions.
what are you using for gps/distance/heart rate tracking?
I have a cheap heart rate monitor that i dont really trust and use runkeeper on the cell phone to track distance.
I have been thinking about a garmin watch with added heart rate monitor.
I have a TomTom Runner Cardio watch. It works great for me. Built in heart rate and GPS. Waterproof, dirt proof, mud proof. Battery lasts like 8hrs while using both HR and GPS tracking. Lasts weeks if you're not using it at all.

You should be able to get them cheap on Amazon. Like $100 on Amazon. If you want to use it for things like cycling and swimming too, spend a little more and get the MultiSport version. The watches are the same, just different software options.

There's only one complaint I have with it. If you're doing movements involving your hands (push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, etc) it really screws with the HR readings and you'll get really crazy or no readings. You can fix this by using a Bluetooth chest strap and syncing it to the watch. The HR readings can also be inaccurate if you don't have the watch tight enough. Any HR watch taking optical readings will have to be very tight.