Updated: May 21, 2020
As always, THANK YOU to the 85 athletes who filled out the survey. We really appreciate your feedback, and we wish you all, and everyone else, the best in all of your OCR training and racing!
This article has a lot in it. It's really for the training nerds, and those who really want to learn more about training for OCR and what that means for other athletes. We asked more questions than in our OCR Shoes and GPS Watches articles because we wanted a much more in-depth look at the training people are doing to prepare for races. At the very end of this article we've pulled all the averages for the answers given to provide a concise picture of what an OCR athlete's training looks like.
Without further ado, here we go.
QUESTION 1: How many miles do you run per week on average?
Without sounding like doubters, we were surprised (pleasantly) to see how many people were running above the 15 mile per week mark. While it's not NECESSARY to run that many miles per week to prepare for a Sprint, it would be pretty important for a Super, and very important for a Beast. Really, your weekly mileage should directly correlate to your race goal. If you just want to walk/jog a 5K OCR with your friends and have a fun time, you won't have to put in many miles per week; though you absolutely should put in some miles each week in preparation. For those wanting to run a long course in a competitive wave, you'll obviously have to average significantly higher weekly mileage. All in all, these were some pretty encouraging numbers!
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QUESTION 2: On average, how many days do you run each week?
We were not in the LEAST BIT surprised by these results; except for the people who answered "0 Days". No, many coaches and programs talk about running 3 days per week as a good number. Usually people will space the days out so it's a Mon, Wed, Fri type schedule and they have time to recover between or do weight training on the other days. It's a good structure overall. We just hope that the athletes running 30+ miles per week are falling into the 5ish days per week category and not the 3 days per week range. Spreading the training load out is very important for proper recovery; especially for athletes with less/smaller training backgrounds.
QUESTION 3: When you run, is it mostly outside, on the treadmill, or a mix of both?
Quick note: it is very likely that one of our surveyed athletes messed around with their answers as we have several questions where a person listed that they don't run at all, but on this one, everyone said they do some running...psh, throwing off our data. Oh well!
We're very happy to see that most people are getting the majority of their running outside. Hopefully a lot of it is on trails where they can better prepare for the types of terrain most OCRs are run on. It's also great news that the number of people running on a pretty even mix of treadmill and natural terrain is pretty high. We don't hate treadmills. Not at all! We simply recommend, whenever possible, that people get outside and, also when possible, on trails for their running training.
QUESTION 4: Please select all other forms of cardio that you participate in at least 2x per month.
This is another exciting, positive bit of data. It's phenomenal that athletes are participating in several different types of cardiovascular activity! We were especially happy to see Rowing, Hiking, and Cycling so high on the list. Rowing is a great full-body exercise that is extremely easy to change variables on (power, resistance, speed) and has very little impact on the joints. Cycling is also perfect for building endurance in the legs and for recovery. It's also another great option for very low/virtually no joint impact. Hiking is of course a sport-specific skill to OCR, so it's great to see a lot of athletes participating in it. Swimming was pretty low on the list which is one we wish could be higher. We get it though; gyms with pools can be expensive, and summer doesn't last forever. However, whenever you have a chance to swim, we recommend taking the opportunity. It's fantastic for getting your whole body involved in movement with no impact on your joints. It's also great recovery work.