Meet Obstacle Course Racing Kate
In this weeks blog we meet Kate who went to the obstacle course racing world in 2018 and is the person who first introduced me to Obstacle Course Racing. I sent Kate a server of questions to answer and she has come back with some great answers for those of you interested in obstacle course racing!
1) Could you give us some background information about you?
After leaving school fitness dropped to the bottom of my priorities. My career and socialising definitely took over. I dabbled in the odd 10k race or sprint triathlon but never really applied myself to any structured training. It wasn’t until I had my second child that I really prioritised my fitness. I was a bit overweight and really needed the headspace so exercise was just what I needed. I began by going to an outdoors bootcamp and have slowly increased my exercise and fitness levels so that I’m now training 5 times a week through a nicely varied programme.
2) What was your first Obstacle Course Race?
My friends at bootcamp convinced me to take part in The Major Series. It was more of a tough cross country run with a few fairly easy obstacles thrown in, so perfect for a first obstacle race. The run would have been pretty dull without the addition of the obstacles. It had me hooked and keen to sign up to more!
3) What has been your favourite event?
Probably the Spartan Beast in Windsor. It consisted of about 35 obstacles over a half marathon distance. I did it with some friends so no time pressures and found the Spartan marshals to be really encouraging and friendly. I enjoyed the endurance challenge, and because it was so long I got to try pretty much every type of obstacle Spartan has to offer. It was a useful race to highlight the areas of my training that I needed to work on. I did way too many penalty burpees!
4) What is your favourite obstacle?
Anything where I have to jump from a height. It requires no skill and I love the adrenalin rush!
5) What is your worst/ most hated obstacle?
At the moment it’s the stairway to heaven as it always defeats me! I just need to focus on my upper body strength and I will do it!
6) When was your first Spartan Race?
Windsor Beast in 2017
7) Do you remember how many burpees you had to do?
It all became a bit of a blur but it was definitely over 120!
8) You went to the Worlds this year, can you describe how it was?
I was very excited just to be there. I said I wanted to qualify but think I only really said that to motivate myself to train. Just as I arrived Jon Albon was coming over the last wall to win the Pro mens devision so that was great as the crowd was really loud and energised.
I was in the 35-40 age group 15k race. The race had over 100 obstacles in it so it was the toughest event I have done to date. I managed to keep my wristband until the dreaded stairway to heaven! I didn’t fail many obstacles after that but the last sections of the race all drained grip and upper body strength. Nearly everyone around me (me included) were having to hit the retry lanes. At the end, apart from my grip, I felt surprisingly good even though I’d been out on the course for over three hours! I’d like to go back in 2019 and keep my wristband!
9) What is your best tip to a beginner who wants to do their first obstacle course race?
Obstacle races require you to be strong and fit from a cardiovascular point of view. All races involve running so thats got to be part of your training. I would try to get out on the trails rather than road so conditions are similar to those in a race. Interval runs are a good idea and you can stop and throw in a few burpees on your route! Not many people get to train on the actual obstacles but you can work on areas of strength that will help you with obstacles. Body weight exercises are great as it’s your body weight you’ll be hauling round the race! Pull ups/dips and other other exercises that strengthen your grip such as Farmers carries and deadlifts are great.
Obstacle races are often cold, muddy and wet so what you wear on the day is important. Good trail shoes and compression clothes are what I wear. I make sure I bring some really warm clothes to change into after the race and have some high energy snacks at hand.
10) What training do you do for Obstacle Course Racing?
My training is constantly evolving as I work out what I need to improve on. I run about three times a week which consists of one longish run, one cross country run and one speed or hill session. I also do one PT session with Craig where he comes up with great ideas/exercises to improve my strength in all areas required for OCR. I then either do another strength session at the gym or attend a muddy bootcamp session. I’ve installed a pull up bar in my garden so I often mess around on that for 15 minutes here and there!
11) What is your goal now?
Obstacle Course Racing training will take a bit of a backseat until I’ve completed the London Marathon in April. I will still be keeping some upper body strength work in my weekly sessions so I should be able to get back to OCR races in April feeling fitter than ever. Hopefully I’ll qualify for the World Championships again and this time I aim to keep my band!
12) What was the muddiest obstacle course race you have done?
Mud Monsters! It was ridiculous! I didn’t think I was going to be able to pull myself out of some of those swamps!