Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Tricks to making it over that wall

I am not talking about a figurative wall, I am talking about the daunting 8-foot walls you encounter in Obstacle course races. When I first started racing they were an absolute nightmare. I am not terribly tall (5'6) and was always active but my upper body was lacking to pull myself up if I could even jump that high in the first place. I dreaded it knowing that the inevitable burpees would await me on the other side. Despite the looming burpees awaiting me, I gave it a shot every single time until I could finally make it. Although it has been a few months since I raced last, and I am by no means a pro, there are a few tricks I have learned to help me concur the wall.

  1. I was told jumping and running vertically up the wall (kick off with one foot) would make it easy. This never worked for me but hey its always an option.
  2. Grab onto the top of the wall and wadge your knees between you and the wall. This helps me get leverage to make one last push over.
  3. Another important tool I know all too well is the "hook". Start with your elbows, if I can get even one of them over I know I am set. If not, I try to swing my heal over and hook that over the wall.
  4. Good shoes also make a big difference if you are pushing off the wall with your feet. I like something minimal so I can feel where I am at and know if I am slipping.
  5. Another factor that plays a huge role is your existing lat strength. Heading to the gym might not be everyone's idea of a good time but it is a way to beat the cold prairie winters. Improving my lat and even core strength has made a big difference in my ability to remain steady while hurdling the walls.
  6. Finally, the big one for me is eating enough before attempting this. By the half-way mark, I often feel drained, at this point those walls keep looking taller and taller. Having a solid meal the night before and even that morning can give you the spring in your step you need. It might sound silly but it is easy to overlook, or over think. One of my favorite pre-race treats is an energy bar. There are lots out there but one of my favorites is Solo's mandarin dark chocolate which tastes like eating a chocolate orange before a race but makes you feel so much better!

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