Updated: Jan 18, 2019
I think we all nerd out when it's time to plan our next OCR season. What challenges will I take on this year? What places would I like to travel to? Everyone said the Killington Death March was miserable...maybe I should try it. Trifecta on Hawaii?
Personally, I took 3 things into consideration when planning my 2019 season. Directly below is my 2019 schedule followed by the reasoning behind my choices. I allow for a certain amount of flexibility, so some things may change, put I REALLY like how this schedule came together.
February 23 - Mad Anthony Mud Run
March 9 - Bel Monte 50K Trail Run
April 6 - Charlotte Spartan Super
April 27 - New Jersey Spartan Beast
May 4&5 - Maryland Savage Race & Savage Blitz Weekend
June 1 - Fayetteville Spartan Super
June 8 - Ohio Spartan Beast
June 29 - Wasthington DC Spartan Sprint
July 13 - Palmerton Spartan Super
July 27 - Asheville Spartan Super
August 9-11 - Vermont NORAM OCRWC
August 24 - West Virginia Spartan North American Championship
September 14 - Killington Spartan Beast
September 28 - Lake Tahoe Spartan World Championship
October 26 - Virginia Spartan Super
3-5 Miles: 4
6-10 Miles: 7
12+ Miles: 6
1 - Geographic Location:
I wouldn't say I'm poor, but I would say that I don't have a lot of expendable income for race travel. I live in the Shenandoah Valley region in Virginia, so I start by looking at what's nearby. My first race of the season is a local "mud run" just a few miles from where I live. I take my dog running several times each week at the location where the race is being held, so I thought it would be a fun race to use as a kick-start for the year! The 50K Trail Run is also local. After that though, every races except for 3 are within a 5 hour drive radius of where I live. I also have friends or family who live close, or relatively close, to all of the locations which means I can drive up to them the evening before the race and get enough sleep to perform well on race morning. Killington, NORAM OCRWC, and Spartan World Championships are all much further away, but they are obviously special races being especially miserable, challenging, and two of them being championships.
2 - Difficulty/Race Distance:
I LOVE long races. It takes time, but my mind locks into a certain mentality on longer races that it almost never does in any other circumstance. I love the challenge of long races and I love the difficult terrain that often accompanies long OCR races.
I began basing my schedule around all of the Spartan Beasts, as they are my main training target, in a reasonable distance from where I live. Then I looked for all of the Supers, then I picked out some Sprints. Sadly, Spartan doesn't offer any other Beast races close enough for me to add more. Killington is far from me, but I just have to do it for the challenge - especially going for a top spot in the Elite category. Many of the other races are ones I've done in previous years and simply loved, so I want to go back and improve my standings at those events.
3 - Time Between Races:
I set a goal 2 years ago to become the top athlete in the sport of Obstacle Course Racing by the time I am done competing. After 2 years, I am very happy with the progress I've made to this point. Before 2 years ago, I never did any Regular running or endurance training for myself - though I did train clients for endurance events. I was more focused on building my personal training carrier and did more "traditional" weight training. Now I have/am building my life, travel, and work around the sport of OCR because, well, I love it. With those details in mind, recovery, training, and planning between races are all things I now take into account. I want gaps long enough to change things in my program between races to make me a better racer for the next competition.
The first 5 races of the year are spaced over a 16 week period which allows time for performance evaluation and adjustments. I also have a wide variety of race distances in those first 5 races which gives me an opportunity to evaluation how I am doing/feeling/performing at different distances on race day.
By June, I expect to be very near many of my targets with training and race performances and so I'll be tackling 5 races in about 8 weeks. I want the volume high during that period. I want lots of experience over a shorter time frame. I also love racing in the heat and that time of year should be plenty hot for races.
By the time I reach the final 5 races of the year, I need to have rolled out as many kinks as possible, trained as efficiently and effectively as possible, and be getting enough rest to go into those final races, which include 3 Championships in the Elite/Pro divisions, at my peak levels of performance.
Needless to say, I am EXTREMELY excited for this season!!! I can't wait for the challenges, weather conditions, new obstacles, old obstacles, and all of the experiences along the way! I'm also excited to race with OCR participants I already know and to meet new ones along the way.
How do you choose your schedule? Do you hit as many races as you can because the experience is too good to miss out on? Do you plan carefully around your training or work? Leave a comment and let us know.
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