In my humble opinion, Obstacle Race Training: How to Beat any Course, Compete Like a Champion and Change Your Life by Margaret Schlachter is a must have for those who have been racing obstacle courses for years, or those who are new to this sport. Schlachter starts off with a personal introduction as to how she got into the sport after hitting a truly low period in her life. You can feel her words come through the page almost as if you were having a conversation over a cup of coffee about life with her.
The book is further broken down as you get more into it, and I go into a little more detail regarding each section below:
Section 1: The history of Obstacle Course races, What is an OCR?, and the different types of races out there: Margaret gives you a brief history of how Obstacle Course races started, what OCR really means to her and also a basic break down of the different types of available races. I found this section useful, being very new to the sport itself. I was able to understand better the sport of the Obstacle course race from its humble beginnings, and also see a brief description of each type of race.
Section 2: She talks about how to select a race, train properly and fuel yourself to perform your best. Any athlete can tell you preparation and proper nutrition are key fundamentals that are required before partaking on any new athletic venture, and Margaret takes her time to explain everything to you about how to properly train like a champion. A crucial part of any race regardless if it is a road race or obstacle course race is mental preparation, which is also covered in this section.
Section 3: in this section, Margaret walks you through various obstacles and the best way through her training she found to beat them. I loved this section particularly, as there is a large number of high quality color photos that show step by step instructions on how to “beat” the obstacles that you will encounter during a race. She also shows you the various different ways you can complete a burpee safely and correctly. For those of us that have completed a race or two, this can be the most challenging and intimidating penalty.
Section 4: This is where the book got really into the nitty gritty of things for me. Margaret takes you through your first race and how to survive. The highlight of this section for me was the stories from the course. She has spoken with several competitors within an obstacle course race, and gotten some great personal stories about those that have been there and done that. As a reader, it helped to personally be able to relate to someone that has come through a challenge on the other side stronger, and with great stories to tell. I remember doing my first Spartan Sprint and wanting to share with the world all the laughter, tears, and physical pain that brought me from race start to finish.
Section 5: Race recovery. Anyone can run a race, but knowing how to properly recover and rest after one is just as important as waiting in the starting corral for your wave to go. It’s nice to have a list of what is needed to properly recover from an obstacle course race. I really appreciated the fact that Margaret included within the recovery section how to pick your next race. It’s very easy to get hooked onto the sport of Obstacle Course racing, but finding the next race that will allow you to personally step it up a notch is not an easy task. I am very fond of how Margaret is able to wrap up her book in this last chapter, which a final section about continuing your journey. Completing your first race isn’t the end but for most of us just the beginning of our new found passion for the Obstacle Course Race.
Overall I rather enjoyed this book. There is a great amount of straightforward, easy to follow and practical information on Obstacle Course races. It book worth having on your own personal bookshelf, as it’s a great reference guide overall for the novice to experienced racer.