Advice on Solo Running an Obstacle Course Race (OCR)
So this weekend there are quite a few obstacle course races taking place across the UK including Tough Mudder and Born Survivor, and the next X-Runner 2 weeks from now. Now I’ve seen a few people saying that they really wanted to take part but they couldn’t get a team together; so I thought I would share some advice about running solo.
So I’ve been taking part in obstacle course races for about 3 years now, and in most cases I have run either run with someone else or as part of small team of about 3-4 people. However I myself found myself in the position where I couldn’t convince anyone to run Tough Mudder with me, so I made the decision to do a solo run.
Now overall running solo was absolutely fine, but there are a few points that I thought I would cover in this video below.
Number 1 would be teamwork based obstacles. These are obstacles such as the 10 ft wall climb, the pyramid, obstacles where you need to carry someone, or even just getting stuck in the mud. What I would say is that everyone at these events are super friendly and eager to help, so whoever you are around at the time; they are your team mates. Also be aware that a lot of the teams won’t be made up of even numbers, so you they will be very happy for you to partner up with them.
The second point to cover would be motivation. Running by yourself you need to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind, seeing the obstacles as a challenge to overcome, and making positive efforts not to become overwhelmed or daunted. If you’re used to being the person in a team that motivates everyone you’ll likely find this very easy, but if you’re the one who needs positive reinforcement from everyone, then is something you’ll need to prepare for.
The third point to mention is that you need to be organised. You become responsible for all your travel, parking, all you’re pre-event planning, where you’re going to drop off your kit bag yada yada. I like to know all this stuff in advance anyway, but you just need to make sure you’re prepared.
4. Avoid injury
Now the fourth point I would mention might sound strange, but you need to be extra careful to avoid injury! Obviously I would hope that you would do this anyway, but just be extra careful to land on both feet when you jump off an obstacle, and don’t take any unnecessary risks. I twisted my knee at around the 8 or 9 mile mark of Tough Mudder, and I had to hobble the remaining 3-4 miles with no help.
5. Run at your own pace
Now this leads into my fifth point, which in my opinion is an advantage to running solo, and it’s that you can run at your own pace. Now when I was hobbling around in Tough Mudder, I would have hated being responsible for slowing all my team mates down or making them wait for me. So I had no problem hopping along at a sustainable pace. You can create your own pace and you don’t need to worry about being too slow or too fast compared to your team mates. Ultimately these events aren’t really a race anyway, it’s about taking part and enjoying the day.
The final point is that for me personally, the feeling of accomplishment of finishing Tough Mudder by myself was awesome. You get a great buzz finishing these courses anyway, but I felt that I overcame a lot of adversity on my own merit especially having pushed through injury.
So I hope you found this video useful, and if you can’t get a team together and you’re considering a solo run, you honestly have nothing to worry about. Personally I prefer running as part of a team, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do another solo run if no one was up for it.