Tough Mudder®, Spartan®, Dirty Dash®

Different names with the same objective: challenging yourself in an obstacle course race.

Obstacle Course Races (OCRs) and box programs have a great history, ranging from Coach Glassman’s original goal “to build a program that would best prepare trainees for…not only the unknown but for the unknowable,” to specific “chipper” WODs which challenge athletes to move through a number of challenging exercises. And while box goers have taken an interest in OCRs, OCRs are incorporating box program elements in their races. The CMC – Civilian Military Combine, for example, starts with a program workout (five-minute AMRAP) before putting athletes through a five-mile obstacle course.

Now is the right time to be planning your OCR training program. After the CrossFit Open ends (March 27), why not transition into training for an OCR? It’s a great goal for your members to set and accomplish as a team. The race season for most parts of the country will start in the spring (when the weather starts to warm up a bit), with the heaviest concentration of races held June through September. November is when most OCR championship races are held.

People that are interested in OCRs usually fall into two camps:

1) “I’ve never done an OCR, but it looks awesome; my friends have done one, but I don’t know how to train for it”.
2) “I completed an OCR and want to be better/faster next time”.

With proper messaging, you should be able to enlist some of your membership to train for an OCR. The training is also a great way to introduce to the box a current member’s partner or spouse who may be a bit intimidated by these programs, but wants to do something epic” like a Spartan® Race or Tough Mudder®.

If you are thinking of starting an OCR class or even a boot camp program here are some questions to consider:

1. Who will be coaching?

  • Identify a coach who has done multiple races and distances.
  • Do they have a passion for motivating people and leading a team?
  • The coach should, preferably, be certified in CrossFit Endurance, POSE running and/or Spartan Coaching SGX
  • How will you pay your coach? Per member, per class, or a percentage?

2. How will you incorporate OCR/boot camp training into your existing class model?

  • Once-a-week specialty class?
  • Separate four- or six-week program like a boot camp?
  • One-time clinic or seminar?
  • During other classes? Inside training or solely outside?
  • Do you need to limit class size?

3. How will you register/track the interest/sign ups and promote it?

  • Will your training be open to the public, or just existing members?
  • Will your website landing page for the training be on your website, or will you create a separate site or page?
  • Will you be charging a monthly membership, full-course price (six-week program), or will you charge per class?
  • Will you be using software like Zenplanner/Mindbody, FrontdeskHQ?

Once you have these questions answered, you will have the right foundation to begin promoting your program and engaging the public. When you have an idea of how many people will be in the program you can begin working on equipment needs and programming the workouts.
Richard Borgatti | Ninja Warrior/Obstacle Course Program-Building 321Go Specialty Coach Rich is the owner and head trainer at Mountain Strength CrossFit in Winchester, Ma.

Rich spends his day helping people get fit, get stronger and achieve their athletic goals. He loves helping people achieve the things they thought were impossible only minutes before. A heavy back squat, a faster mile, or more confidence in themselves.