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9 White Lies You’ll Hear From OCR Enthusiasts

There’s no doubt that OCR is a subculture. We have athletes and enthusiasts from various backgrounds sharing experiences, knowledge, and inevitably ‘broscience’. It’s what all subcultures do.

Some of the things we hear overlap with pseudo-knowledge and help form the stereotype of an ‘OCR bro’ smashing obstacles and raking in podium places. In the end, this diminishes one of the most wonderful aspects of the sport: that people of any background can do it — with adequate preparation.

So I decided to pull together a quick list of the most common misconceptions (or lies) that OCR enthusiasts and athletes love to talk about. Some of these are funny, others might offend you or make you cringe. Nonetheless, it’s part and parcel of our fast-growing sport.

LIE #1: Anyone can do it… and You don’t have to be a runner to do an obstacle or mud race…
TRUTH: Anyone can finish an OCR… eventually. However, if you want to ‘slay’ it or complete in good time you will need to up your game. More accurately, you’ll need to have been upping your game for years or decades, because that’s where top athletes in OCR are coming from. Running and endurance in general play a key role in performance. The faster you get – the better the results and overall performance will be. OCR is not a sport of physical strength, but of basic raw endurance with some grip-work obstacles.

LIE #2: It’s not about the medals…
TRUTH: I have to admit: after a while the piling of medals gets old, especially when you get a medal for finishing almost every race (whereas in normal parkrun-type races you might only get a T-shirt). More often than not people will proudly admit that the merch doesn’t really matter. However, we’ve seen people get upset that a race doesn’t hand out medals or T-shirts to finishers.

meme ocr shirts and medals


LIE #3: You should race as much as you can to improve your performance…
TRUTH: Please don’t. You can’t rely purely on racing to achieve great results. I see athletes running 12-20 races a year, some even more. Say you allow a week or two for tapering your training leading up to each race, then a week or two of recovery and when can you really train? One race is its own training cycle. Furthermore, like in any other sport OCR needs to have an off-season. Off-season usually means months of easy work and recovery to rebuild a stronger base for the next season.

LIE #4: You’re not going to break a leg…
TRUTH: Some won’t, others will. In most of the events you have to sign a death waiver to participate, and it’s there for a reason. Everyone comes back with bruises, scratches, scars etc. But it’s just the nature of this sport – that nonetheless reels us enthusiasts in – that you could en up with a broken limb or a sprained ankle.

LIE #5: You don’t need to worry about germs…
TRUTH: Actually you do… to an extent. Sometime back we wrote about the mud race fiasco where thousands of participants got a stomach bug after the event. OCR races are usually held in the countryside, near grazing animals, murky swamps and questionable water drains so it’s easy to catch something bad.

That doesn’t mean you should only race in a bio-hazard suit, but it’s worth being careful and not doing this sort of thing:


Couldn’t find stock photo of ‘chicks smiling with mud in their teeth’, but you get the drill.

LIE #6: A specific supplement (e.g. beetroot shot) will make you a better athlete… and you have to get the latest Reebok / Salomon / Inov8 / etc. shoe – it adds +10 to speed and agility…
TRUTH: I’m very guilty of these technicalities. Small things do add up to big outcomes, however I can’t rely on just a supplement or a new shoe for great performance. That said, a fresh piece of gear bought at the right time or new nutrition strategy can help you stay motivated to continue improving your performance.

LIE #7: I love every part of OCR…
TRUTH: No, you don’t. Don’t even try to lie! I’m yet to find a person whose brain is wired to love pain, adversity and enduring hours of extreme exertion. What people really mean when they say they love the sport, is usually what comes after – the recap of having pushed yourself to the extremes and come out stronger. That said, if you do contest this point and love every moment of a race, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough.

LIE #8: OCR is not more expensive than other sports…
TRUTH: It’s not horse-riding, but OCR isn’t inexpensive. Understandably, race organisers face bigger challenges to provide the experiences that muddy athletes require — this is not your 5k parkrun. Aside from the cost of races themselves ($50-200), there’s the brand new gear, supplements,  accommodation and travel expenses… For example, last year my budget for training and racing exceeded $4000! And having a few OCR friends I can tell that this is a fraction of what people spend yearly. It’s definitely less expensive than one of the more prominent sports in the market such as Ironman triathlons, but still.. it’s better not to tell your better half how much you spend on this fun stuff.

LIE #9: You don’t need a coach to prepare for OCR…
TRUTH: Again, to finish a race of course you don’t. To compete? You definitely would benefit from speaking to someone who has experiences and knowledge in OCR. Good places to start are blogs (like this one), SGX trainers and coaches, and online courses such as OCT run by experienced athletes who are at the top of the sport..


What other misconceptions and white lies do you notice or find yourself telling others?
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