It’s the end of January of 2017, and it’s time to dust off the NorCalSpartan blog and prepare for this upcoming racing season! In the past year I was testing this platform out to spread the word about one of the world’s quickest growing sports, Obstacle Course Racing (OCR). I didn’t know how I could contribute to the sport of OCR (let alone know I could contribute at all…), so I decided to test some ideas out (experiment on myself and others that were willing…) and post about various things I have learned throughout my short career as an amateur OCR and Spartan Race athlete.
In 2016 I posted sample workouts, mobility exercises, and tried to generate discussion and application on How to train for Spartan and OCR races (just scroll through the past posts to see some great free content on each of those things). My initial intent was not to focus on me but to help the beginning and intermediate folks who were trying to get better at the sport. I saw there was a huge need for it when I initially went out to seek the best ways to train and learn about OCR for myself and saw there wasn’t very many resources for training for those levels (I knew I was not ready at least running volume wise for the advanced content that was currently out there). I quickly realized that it was going to be a huge time commitment to come up with great content that would/could have an impact for these level of athletes (at the time of starting the blog I already had many commitments that I was/still am passionate about so this blog went on the back burner till I figured out how I would like to use it).
So, I am going to switch gears with the blog and use it as a tool for tracking my progress this year with training, racing, experimenting, learning from the experts, and my thoughts on anything OCR related. I am also using this blog to hold myself accountable for going after my milestone goal this year, completing the Spartan Ultra Beast in Hawaii (my previous goal from last year was breaking 4 hours in the Spartan Beast at the Spartan World Championships in Tahoe, which I did complete). My hope that is through this process of tracking, experimenting, racing, and coaching that I will be able to inspire and help others with their own OCR journey (if not, then I will still have a great accountability tool and history of how I did in 2017…).
If you are still reading right now, you care enough about the sport or maybe a little bit about me that it may be worth your while to “Subscribe” to the blog so you can follow along with me on this epic journey to awesomeness! Here is a little background story on me and how I got involved in OCR (maybe it will give you another reason why you should choose to follow me on this journey):
In 2013-2014 I had already heard about Tough Mudder and vaguely heard the name Spartan Race thrown around a time or two (we had a few clients at the gym I coach that kept raving about them and talking about the freezing cold water, electrocution, mud pits, over 10 mile runs, etc. they all had to offer). I had already experienced a few local 5k Mud Runs in that time frame and did have a blast doing them (they didn’t have the shock factors I listed above or cost very much to participate…). But, it was never enough to pull or hook me in to try out the name brands of OCR. It just seemed so ridiculous to spend an absurd amount of money ($100-$200+ per event) to run a distance race that required you to get filthy, maybe freeze your ass off, possibly get shocked and/or complete a bunch of other miserable tasks along the way that would be painful at best.
Little did I know that this was all about to change…I finally got some inspiration to try out my first Spartan Race in 2015 after hearing a podcast by The Obstacle Order that randomly popped into my newsfeed on Facebook by one of my friends, Elijah Markstrom. Elijah was one of the hosts on the podcast who I previously ran and coached Track and Field with at California State University Chico from 2005-2008. I was very intrigued on what they (Elijah and his Co-Host Philip Levi) had to say about the sport of OCR,and given that I trusted what he (Elijah) had to say in the past, I decided to reach out to him about how we could get a training program started at the gym I coached at, NorCal Strength and Conditioning. At the time we had several folks asking about training in the gym to prep for races and/or wanting to try some of the races out. Elijah was excited to help us out at NorCal and even had me on the podcast as a guest to talk about exactly that. You can listen to it here: How to build an OCR program at a Strength and Conditioning facility.
After completing the episode with The Obstacle Order and doing research on the current training philosophies and methodologies out there (I was surprised there wasn’t much out there in 2015 for content, but it is definitely changing and growing rapidly as we head into 2017) at the time and I felt that I had enough information and a general idea of how to prepare our very own athletes at NorCalSC (most of them being at the beginning and intermediate levels) to do their first Spartan Race. We went to the Spartan Race website and looked over the race schedule. We picked the AT&T Park Stadium Sprint Race in San Francisco as our first one (thank god we did, the ones that followed were a much different experience and was not a good representation of what Spartan and OCR was all about…more on that in the future…). Stay tuned for a follow up post in the next week or so starting right off where we left here. Later on this week I will be posting last week’s training regime for me (1st week of OCR specific training and Base building for running) and how you can tailor a lot of it for your very own training purposes! Till then check out some of last year’s posts and, Get Your Fitness On!