The Obstacle Gym
Practice makes perfect…
I believe this to be true in many cases, well I would If I believed there to be such a thing as ‘perfect’ but that’s a whole different story.
Training for an obstacle course race can be tough, sure you can run and lift weights but how do you go about training for the obstacles? Well, many people attend boot camp and cross fit, some climb but surely there’s a better way?
If you REALLY want to train, then you need to train on obstacles and that’s why Lorraine and I took ourselves to ‘The Obstacle Gym’ owned by the fabulous folk behind ‘Reaper OCR’. Set in the countryside near a paintballing centre (if you fancied paintballing before or after?) The Obstacle Gym offers a 1.2km course packed with obstacles.
Initially, we were shown around with the group, demonstrations were offered on how to tackle each obstacle and then we were left to play. It was a bitterly cold Sunday morning so we started with a slow run around the course to take a second glance and warm up.
Being the smooth operator that I am, I boldly headed up an obstacle called ‘The Bus Shelter’ and promptly got stuck at the top! After a little bit of squeaking, turning onto my tummy and easing down the exit (basically, I was a good 10ft high which feels like a big drop off when you’re all of 5ft 6!) Then I was back on solid ground and ready to Go! Go! Go!
Thanks to lots of previous training at Bootcamp I confidently tackled the walls, however not as fast as Lorraine who appears to fly over them. I’m all about getting my money’s worth and taking rests, so at times I was attractively slumped over the top of the wall, taking a break, thinking about food, talking about the weather…
We zipped up and down A frames, played on the monkey bars, attempted pulling ourselves up the half pipes, chuckled on the rope swings, waded in cold water, wiggled along logs, turned over tyres and generally had a great time. Of course, there are more advanced obstacles and water for those feeling a touch less like ‘Sunday Plodders’.
Sometimes with fitness and sport, you have to think ‘Am I enjoying this? And ‘how can I be more?’ this is why I love obstacle races, it pushes my mind, my body and my overall fitness. It doesn’t matter what your 5km time is or you deadlift PB, it’s about working as a team, to help each other to the next level and chasing that high.
Gaining confidence with climbing over walls and learning the ‘up and under’ obstacle felt like a big achievement to me, when I first watched the demo my initial thought was ‘no way’. Let me explain, an ‘up and under’ is when you move across a section of logs, without touching the ground – but there’s a catch, you need to hold your body weight under and then you need to use good old-fashioned strength and technique to maneuver back up. You can see my video about this at the end…
As you will notice if you watch my video, we laughed the entire time – Fitness is about pushing yourself but laughter is important too, if you enjoy something then that’s half the battle of training.
The obstacle gym is open to the public and would be just as much fun for newbies as it would for a family or seasoned racer. There’s plenty of parking, toilets, a shower to clean your shoes and changing area and an undercover area for picnics. For the more serious men/women, they offer the option of a timed lap but this means you must complete (or attempt) to complete every obstacle.
If you fancy going, here’s a mini checklist:
*Change of clothing.
*Water and snacks
*Sense of humour
Have you ever entered an obstacle race before? would you?