This week we’ve asked Patrick Dietrich (@ocrpanda) about his training and recovery routine. Patrick is a very well trained OCR athlete who takes his recovery just as serious as his preparation.
Improve your performance: focus on recovery
Training is a factor that will improve your performance. Another important factor besides training is to make time for rest and relaxation. It is important to have some breaks or to add some alternative exercises to your train routine: relaxed cycling, massage, sauna or just a walk with the family.
After an exhausting OCR season and at the end of the heaviest run of Europe (I did Getting Tough the Race) it’s good to take some more time to save your energy for the coming year. In this period I’m doing something that’s atypical for me: I rest for two whole weeks. No running, no cycling, no heavy weight or bouldering! I just do some walking and enjoy the peace and quiet. I am also focused on healthy food and eating (a lot). Furthermore, I have some massages and enjoy the sauna in combination with a ice bath. Only this way the muscles, tendons and joints can really relax and recover.
How do I train for an Obstacle run?
Obstacle Course Races are very all-round and versatile. This means you have to train to be a more all-round athlete as well.
1. Running & Technique
If an obstacle race has a more technical nature, you don’t necessarily have to be the best and fastest runner. At many races you will lose one band or a second band if you don’t succeed in taking all obstacles. Someone might be faster than you, but when you did take all obstacles you will be higher in ranking than someone who did not conquer all obstacles. Prepare yourself for those technical aspects of a race!
Nevertheless, it’s still important to focus on running. When you run fast, you are able to make up time for further obstacles and it can be a big advantage if you have a good head start! I am running marathons and do some smaller runs as well (5km – 21 km). I’ve also joined a running group where I get professional training schedules and receive tips and tricks from top runners. With my training schedule I sometimes run about 100 km a week (interval training, longs runs and recovery runs).
2. Physical strength
Besides running and technique, you have to focus on physical strength. To conquer all obstacles in the right way, you need grip strength and you have to be able to move your entire body weight just by your arms (pull and push). My occupation helps me very well with this since I’m working as a roofer. This means I’m climbing everyday from scaffold to roofs while moving and carrying heavy objects. So, during my work day I am already doing my power training by carrying bags, buckets and chains. In addition I’m also doing basic exercises (pull-up, squats, etc.) and functional training in my gym and bouldering as well.
3. Mental strength
It can happen that you’re in front of an obstacle and think, “Can I do this?”
I always tell myself I got this! With that positive mind-set and ‘yes you can and you will’ approach you will definitely get more out of yourself and discover you are stronger and tougher than you think.
At some races you have to make a jump into the water. This can be a bit fearful and exciting, but you can train this. For example, make a jump into an ice bath after a sauna or jump into a lake or river on a cold day. This way you get used to it, so you will be calmer and the shock when you have to make such a jump at an obstacle race will be less intense.
All obstacle course races are a challenge for your body and mind. Do not underestimate the importance of preparation! Each training, every painful exercise and all your hard work and discipline.. It’s all absolutely worth it when you’ve reached that finish line..
– Written by Patrick Dietrich.