How to mentally train for an OCR

How to mentally prepare for an OCR race | BMF

Here are our top tips to prepare yourself for the big day!

Cold showers

While the weather in UK can be quite warm at times, somehow the water seems to always remains cold!! Water is quite common in OCR and the Major Series even has an entire "marine zone". Cold showers are a really good way to get physically and mentally prepared for the water sections. Plus, it's a cheaper and more efficient way to wak up in the morning than coffee!

Be ready to be uncomfortable

The nature of the event means you may get cold, you’ll definitely get covered in mud and you’ll hopefully have plenty of obstacles too! The mix of these elements means it's quite likely that at some point in your next OCR you may feel uncomfortable. Be ready!

Picture yourself crossing the finish line

Think of how good it will feel to succeed. What will it mean to you, your family, your friends? Think of that during your training and during the race, and when it's getting tough remind yourself that those efforts are worthy.

Go to BMF / train outside when the weather is really bad

Doing a race with bad weather can be daunting unless you've already trained in those conditions. Then you will realise that actually it's not that bad, as long as you keep moving.

At some point, the thought of quitting might come to your mind, be prepared

Sometimes it happens, even to the best, during a race the idea of giving up becomes really tempting. It’s alright; it will pass even more if you have a plan. Beforehand choose what you want to tell yourself if it happens. With that pep talk ready, you won’t be caught short by that feeling and it will be easier to remember why you’re doing this.

Test your kit before the race, especially your shoes

Not only do poor shoes lead to injury, but they’re also virtually impossible to control in slippery mud! A good pair of shoes with good grip and good laces will give you the best chance of staying upright and avoiding injury. Unless you’ve forgotten something that you need to buy on the day, you should have tested all your kit well in advance to check you’re comfortable with it and that it’s fit for purpose. If you want to test your kit in muddy conditions, try your local BMF class where you’ll be on muddy terrain and using body movements comparable to tackling obstacles in a race.

Find a training buddy

Get someone you know to sign up to the race you’re doing. Family, friend, coworker or you can even post something on the facebook page of the event and ask if someone living close by would like to train with you. Plan training sessions together, hold each other accountable and be supportive during your training prep. It’s also great to share lifts to events too.

Show up! That's what really matters

It may sound obvious, but we see a lot of people drop out last minute. Standing on that start line on race day is the real accomplishment. Regardless of what happens next, success or failure, you've shown up and you've lapped all those couch potatoes saying "If only" or "one day". If you fail, well... Show up again next time! You know the drill now!

Always remember that what you're doing is good for you

Mentally and physically any form of training, even that 5min jog, is something you can learn from. Never think it's too small or too short to be worth doing – as they say, “every little helps” and it does improve your wellbeing. Plus, just stepping out for a "5 min jog" can turn into an hour without you noticing.

You are creating memories of a lifetime

Think of the stories you want to be able to tell your friends or your grandchildren. No one will care about "that night" when you got drunk at the pub...again. But how cool will it be to mention "that time" when you were crawling in the mud, climbing walls and sliding down that water slide. (link video MS water slide)

Don't compare yourself

Just don't. You're doing it for yourself, you are your own competition, even if you want to win the race, just give it your best and see where it stands amongst the best of others. We are all different, with our abilities will vary and we all doing it for our own reasons.

Find inspiration

Look up to someone that inspire you, whether it’s someone you know or someone you’ve never met - it's easy to follow anyone on social media nowadays. You can check out the BMF race team, for example, they all have atypical profiles and are all big achievers. (link race team)

Plan your training in advance

Set up a training plan. It’s up to you whether this is months in advance, on a weekly basis or the night before (if you really must, but we don’t advise this!)! Whatever works for you but you do need to have a plan. It really helps with your motivation when you can tick off your training and you can see what’s to come and how you’ll progress.

You can find some inspiration with the our OCR training plans.

Treat your training sessions as doctors appointments!

No cancelling, no postponing, no "next time" and no "coming late" - even more so if you have a BMF session planned! Your training time is like a GP appointment nothing less.

Get into the real outdoors

Especially if you're a true Londoner. Your race shouldn't be the 1st time in months that you venture outside the "Big Smoke"


That's an awfully long list of serious tips about "mental preparation" but don't be overwhelmed by it! Those are to be referred to when needed but the main advice and what really matters is to HAVE FUN. Laugh at your struggles, laugh at your falls and laugh at your successes. Have fun training, have fun at BMF, have fun racing and have fun after racing. That's why we love OCR and that's what makes OCR so special.

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