With COVID-19 disrupting races all over the world, training and preparing for your next OCR is tricky – but this doesn’t mean you can’t keep the fitness up ready for the return of races.

The beauty of OCRs is that even though it’s technically an endurance event, it also requires an array of skills and varied fitness components such as strength, speed, power, agility and balance. All of these need a solid endurance foundation upon which to build. You need the aerobic capacity to utilise these fitness aspects over the course of a race. And so, the one thing we can all still do throughout this period is keep up our endurance training.

A great way to do this is by introducing hills into your weekly routine. OCRs expose your weakest links, which is great! However, most of us shy away from training those aspects of fitness we’re not so good at…but it’s the simplest and most effective way to build a strong aerobic base.

There is often a lot of hill climbing over rugged terrain in an OCR, so now’s the perfect time to focus on this, get stronger and build confidence on the hills.

So, how can we persuade you to get out and find some punchy hills to run up and down? Firstly, head out and search for some varied terrain and routes that you haven’t experienced before. Automatically, running in an unknown area will make the session more exciting. If you approach a daunting hill during the event you are more likely to enjoy the prospect of getting up and over it to continue exploring the new route.

When looking for hills, try and find one that is long enough that you are able to work off of – ensure it’s not too so steep you’re unable to maintain good technique, and not shallow enough that it doesn’t challenge you.

There’s no denying that hill sessions hurt – and they never get easier! – but implementing these hard efforts and hill reps into your training will certainly improve your ability to utilise oxygen consumption and expend more energy.

Finally, the best thing about these sessions is the feeling you get after completing them. You feel superhuman! There is something incredibly satisfying and rewarding of smashing out 8-10 hard hill reps and looking back feeling a huge sense of accomplishment…just like crossing that finish line at the end of an OCR!

So get out there and find those hills!

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