Virtual OCR’s in a COVID-19 World

list of virtual ocr races
COVID’s got everyone feeling a bit down lately, it seems.  It’s certainly understandable that in-person races would be postponed or canceled altogether.  But, some companies have offered Virtual OCR Races to help placate our boredom, and for that, we’re so grateful!

While there are probably more Virtual OCR Races than the ones we’re aware of, below are a handful offering them here in the US.

VIRTUAL OCR RACES:

  • Savage Race Anywhere (Free or Paid! Free if you just want the workouts to do the challenge; Paid if you want a medal and shirt to be mailed to you.)
  • F.I.T. Challenge (Paid.  Includes a real medal, shirt, other swag. Check out their Instagram for details: @f.i.t.challenge)
  • Spartan (Free or Paid.  Free version Includes a leaderboard to track your results against other racers, and comes with a virtual medal. Paid now offered and comes with a medal, shirt, and other goodies.)
  • Bonefrog (Paid.  Comes with a real medal, shirt, and decal!)
  • Tough Mudder challenges (Paid or Free.  Paid comes with a shirt, coin, and headbands). Each month takes you to a new “location” to complete.  Grand Canyon and Fiji are just about wrapped up, but there’s still 4 more you can partake in.
  • Stadium Blitz 5k (Paid. Comes with a shirt, medal, discount on a future race, and chance to win sweepstakes prizes.)
  • And, while not a virtual race – our own OCR Travel Workouts come with 9 workouts that can be done anywhere. Download the PDF here.  Six of the workouts require no equipment, and 3 require minimal equipment, such as a set of dumbbells.  These were initially written to be helpful when on the road traveling to/from race weekends recognizing that limited equipment is available during travel. (They’re really coming in handy now!) If you’re looking to support a small OCR business that also gives back to charity, we would love for you to consider supporting our efforts to serve the community.

WHAT WE’VE CHOSEN:

As racers that typically compete in either the Competitive/Elite or Spartan Age Group heats, Eddie and I have training blocks planned out that we try not to veer away from too much. We are lucky that our trails have been allowed to stay open, because here in AZ…the gyms sure haven’t been able to do the same.

Quite honestly, we have personally seen the politeness level increase significantly out on the trails.  People aren’t huffing and puffing about allowing folks to pass, they’re moving off the trail entirely to practice safe social distancing guidelines, and they’re even waving and saying hello!  With trails open and a combination of our Palmer Shape strength training programs and travel workouts, we’ve been able to keep our training up without missing too much of a beat.

We also decided to have some fun and incorporate the Savage Race Anywhere Virtual OCR into our program.  We may try out the others as well if there’s room in our training schedule without overdoing it. Overtraining is contrary to goals, so we’ll see.  Fingers crossed.

Update: since the initial publication of this article, we have participated in Rugged Maniac’s virtual challenge, the Tough Mudder Grand Canyon challenge, Bonefrog Tier-1, the Spartan trifecta weekend V 1.0, and a local running club’s (Aravaipa Running) virtual option, the Aravaipa Strong.  

I’m about to pull my wallet out and sign up for the new Stadium Blitz option as well! We have been able to incorporate these virtual OCR races throughout without messing up our programs and instead using them to benefit our overall plan. And, it’s been fun!

DETAILS OF SAVAGE RACE ANYWHERE:

We’re really liking the Savage Race Anywhere (there’s a Race and Blitz level). You have four weeks to complete 14 separate workout challenges, and the clock starts ticking on the day you register. If you sign up for both Race and Blitz options, you have an additional 28 days to complete both programs (28 workouts over 56 days total), and be eligible to earn a full Savage Syndicate.  We’re currently doing the Race level, but we’re also planning to pay to do the Blitz level.

Savage Race doesn’t currently have races out west and we haven’t had the privilege of getting to the other part of the country to race in-person in one yet, but we figured we would try to support the smaller brands now so they’re there for us down the road when the COVID-19 world settles down and we return to a more normal and social life.

BUT, YOU CAN MAKE IT YOUR OWN:

From the rules on Savage Race’s website: “You can scale workouts as needed to match your fitness level. It’s ok to swip-swap between Blitz and Race options as you work your way through the program. It’s ok to scale weight and movements as needed to match your ability. Walking, run-walking, or rucking may always be substituted for running. The point is to push yourself.”

So far, we’ve done challenges 1-6, and have been doing 2 per day on the days we do Savage’s Virtual OCR.  While I don’t recommend necessarily stacking them back-to-back like we have if you’re new to training and/or exerting yourself for extended periods of times, it’s given us a great workout to combine them, while also allowing us time to continue fitting in our normal training.  Eddie and I also believe it’s most beneficial to our personal goals to do cardio before strength, so we’ve actually done them in reverse (challenge 4, then 3 and challenge 6, then 5…etc. depending upon the two challenges we are doing that day.)

I like that the challenges alternate between strength challenges and running challenges.  It’s good to mix it up!  And some of the challenges have been so much fun to incorporate! Run, farmer’s carry, burpees, galore!

PROS AND CONS OF VIRTUAL OCR RACES:

Obviously, this is being done at home and/or around the neighborhood since most gyms are closed.  So, it’s all on you to keep yourself honest.  (But, why would you want to cheat yourself anyway?)  This could be a pro or a con…depending upon your outlook in life.

One of the biggest cons to all of this is the in-person camaraderie obtained after you finish a race.  The community is so amazing, and we love spending time with everyone after a race!

It’s pretty cool that (even if virtual), we’re still getting the option to “race”, along with medals and shirts in some cases to reward our hard efforts.  It might even be more impressively earned because you got up and did something to push yourself instead of succumbing to sitting on the couch and choosing to watch more TV than normal.  It’s easy when you travel for the sole purpose of racing.  Much harder when the temptation to be comfy on your own couch or bed is 4 feet away.  You’re choosing health. Hooray!

What Virtual OCR Races are you signed up for?  We’d love to know, and if you’re so inclined to write up a post about your experience, we’ll post it here on your behalf with all credit back to you.

I think the biggest takeaway is that by signing up for a race –virtual or live– it naturally helps keep you motivated. Something to aim for that has a beginning and an end. This is one reason the Savage Race and Tough Mudder challenges are good… they are ongoing, and keep you accountable for more than just one day at a time.

And, if you’re looking for strength training programs to help gear you up for that anticipated day of real, in-person racing, we’ve got programs to help you crush the course. They’re multi-week programs which include lifts, cardio, and flex sessions, written by a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with a specialty expertise in training athletes.

Questions? Just ask away.

In the meantime, happy (Virtual) Racing OCR Community! We can’t wait to chat alongside you all again out on the course.

(This article was initially published on April 7, 2020, and was updated on August 26, 2020.)

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