Strength & Speed

"If you want something you never had, you have to be willing to do something you have never done."

S&S Articles

Pick Up Heavy Stuff

Posted by Strength & Speed on November 28, 2016 at 8:10 AM

It is no secret that many runners for years have avoided the weight room. Many people have stated different reasons, “I don’t want to get bulky” “I don’t want weights to slow me down” yadda yadda and many more. However, in today’s OCR competitive world weights are a must.

Gone are the days that you could just be a fast runner and turn that into a win or at least a podium finish at an OCR. With more and more races and series moving toward obstacle completion the elite racer now must have some level of strength to go along with their speed. Granted you can make the argument that outside of heavy carries and walls that all someone might need is the ability to hold their own weight while hanging. With new races popping up all over the place and the existing races thinking up new obstacles to present new challenges to their racers it is imperative that you be ready for whatever may be thrown at you this coming season.

If you look at the OCR season as a full year and break it down into sections of post season, off season, pre-season, and in-season, (micro seasons) each section should have a different training goal and purpose than the other. All of which building toward the final in season goals, whatever accomplishments those may be.

So how do you get ready for all of this? Well that depends on where in your training regimen. Since, for most racers, the season has ended I will assume we have all taken a few weeks to rest, and start with the offseason. During the off season lifting heavy is the way to go. Like really heavy, 4-6 reps maximum for 4-6 sets. “Why”, many of you may ask; “that sounds like the opposite of my goal”. Take into account you should still be on a light well rounded running program as well, but your goal in the off season is not to finish first at every race, the point of the off season is to improve and prepare for the pre-season. Lifting heavy weights, with safe and properly executed form, will build your overall strength. Increase strength will lead to increased power; this is my next transition. After 8-10 weeks of building strength it is a good idea to switch to power based exercises, think Olympic lifts. Your hang clean, jerk and snatch type exercises are excellent ways to create large bursts of power using your entire body starting with the legs and moving up the body. You do not have to look too far into a race to see where being able to generate large amounts of power can be helpful; sprinting up a warped wall, getting your body over an 8ft wall or simply jumping over the fire for that awesome profile pic.

If you are still with me at this point I can tell you are at least curious to see how this all gets back to running miles at a time. Good, I am glad you asked. This again all depends on where in your training season you are. As you move from one micro season to the next your training methods should change with them. As we just talked about off season is for gaining strength and power, and getting closer to actual race season you want to start to harness those new-found abilities into skills that will help you out perform the other racers on race day. During preseason, I start to increase my number of reps per each exercise, and by this time my mileage is starting to creep back up to be ready for the coming races. The rep range I like to keep my preseason exercises to is that magical 10 rep set we all know and love and probably grew up on (if you lifted weights anyway). This will start to help with teaching the muscle endurance under load as well as help build new muscle tissue (hypertrophy).

Moving into the race season I still suggest lifting weights. While the weight being lifted has dropped the intensity should not have. In season, I keep the reps at 15 or above. This is solely focused on muscular endurance at this point, and your mileage should be gauged on how and when you are looking to peak next. Your weights program should also be geared toward specific lifts and movements that are needed on race day. This is usually in the form of pull-ups, muscle-ups, farmers walks etc.

As you can tell, and many of you may have already known, a thorough OCR training program is anything but straight forward. OCR demand a great deal of physical ability from its athletes, and while endurance and physical stamina are a large part of that the strength and power needed should not be over looked.


Jared Renyer

Jared Has a B.S. in Fitness & Wellness and is a Certified Personal Trainer. Jared was a college athlete competing in both soccer and track. Since beginning OCR in 2014 Jared has competed in numerous races, he qualified for OCR World Championships in 2016. Jared finished in the top 50 in the 30-34 age group on the OCRWC short course, he also completed the 15k standard course completing each obstacle and keeping his band. Jared is a member of Team Strength and Speed as well as the owner of JRen Fitness

Facebook/IG @JRenFitness


Categories: Jared Renyer, Strength, OCR