3rd May 2017

What is an OCR?

Obstacle course racing (OCR) is a sport in which a competitor, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges that are in the form of obstacles. Mud and trail runs are combined and the races are designed to test and push mental and physical ability.


My name is Dave Zidane and I’m one of the Fitness Squad UK Instructors and I’m a really big fan of OCR’s. I’ve been lucky enough to compete in many OCR’s over the years, including the UK Championships and I’m off to the World Championships in October.

Over the years I have made some rookie mistakes and would like to share with you my top tips.


One of the most frequently asked questions is what trainers to wear?

Now this is a really personal thing and everyone has their own opinion and recommendations. This is also not helped by the fact there are hundred of makes of trainers, all of which may not be the right ones for you. But before you start going nuts on Google and fall into the rabbit warren of colours, tread and brands, I would recommend you getting your running analysed at a running shop. Gait analysis provides you with essential information about your running style. This is important however long you have been running, as only through knowing your running style will you be able to select the right trainers. I know this, as I didn’t get this done soon enough and I have been through more trainers than I care to imagine.

Next step is budget. Try to decide how much you want to spend before you start looking as there is so much choice. From Irock2 at £110.00 to More Mile Cheviot 3 at £29.99. I wear Inov-8 X Talons which are middle of the price range, which I find do the best job for me in races.

With any of these trainers there are a two key points to look out for;

  • Drainage
    • A trainer that drains well and does not hold water after you have been through a water obstacle. Look for drainage ports (little holes in the sides of the trainer) or a perforated sockliner.
  • Grip
    • Nothing worse than trying to run and instead you are sliding about everywhere or trying to get out of a muddy ditch and can’t get a good foot hold. Make sure the grip is of a medium depth so you get good grip but are able to run across dry fields if needed. Also the additional grip on obstacles is really helpful especially on rope climbs or muddy/slippery walls. My Inov-8 X Talons tend to grip the rope a lot better because of them the way the diagonal tread is on the bottom of the trainer.


So you’ve got your trainers, now I’m going to show you how not to lose them!

I’ve seen many people start off with trainers and come out bare foot, especially when going through knee
deep mud. This simple tip will save your trainers and show you how to correctly tie your shoes. CLICK HERE


Does my bum look big in this?

When I first started doing OCR’s I use to wear football shorts, which once you went through a water obstacle would be half way down my bum, full of water and heavy. Again there are lots of different options on offer and this is all about personal preference and what you are comfortable in. For shorts, I’ve found train running shorts very good, I use Higher State trail shorts as they don’t hold water and dry out very quick which is so important when going through water and the temperature is near to freezing. As for t-shirts most tech t-shirts will do the job. They don’t hold water, like a cotton t-shirt which can feel heavy. Tech t-shirts allow the body to get air in, to aid cooling down and dry quickly keeping the water and sweat away from the body. As for base layers you can get so many different types and even novelty tops but they mostly provide different qualities for different conditions. Either keeping you cool or keeping you warm. You’ve only got to ask someone who has done either Winter Nuts or Tough Guy, how important it is to have the right clothing to keep the onset of hypothermia at bay. If you are a first timer or enjoying the races during the Summer months, a basic base layer like this Under Armour heatgear baselayer will do the job.

I hope you have found this information useful and don’t forgot to message us on Facebook if you are taking part in any challenges or events, we’d love to hear from you. Good Luck and enjoy the mud.