How MMA Helps With OCR Racing, or “how I spent my summer vacation.” Really this post could be about either. With 4 races and two ultras in a 4 week span it was time for a much earned break before I defend my world title at the Spartan Ultra Beast in the fall. To prevent over training and burn out I took a bit of a break in June. This freed me up to do some fun things that I love like hiking, surfing and the highlight of the break, water sports when I went to visit the Original WarriorPak world head quarters and they took me out wake-boarding and some crazy thing where they drag a ski tube with 3 of us on it at an insane speed and we go flying through the air like bull riding but with the added fear of drowning, which, for the record, was the most awesome thing I have ever done. When I got home I did what I love to do, which was hit Radius Gym in Fairfield CT for some MMA fun, Muy Thai and Jujitsu. Here is what I got out of it:
- Much need grip strength: Grabbing a gi for that long and holding on for dear life while being tossed around like a rag doll have my wrists, hands and forearms burning. Perfect for OCR where grip strength is key.
- Leg strength: kicking and proper foot movement in Mui Thai builds strong legs from toes, to hip flexors. Its brutally wonderful.
- Stabilizers: Because both sports are barefoot you work all your stabilizer muscles. This is critical for off road running where those muscles are key to not falling and also running strong.
- Explosive cardio / vo2 max work. As a runner we often work out at 140bpm. In fact I can hang at 140 beats per minute for 9 hours +. But at 180 beats I die! The efforts in MMA are 2-5 minutes all out. This is critical as many of the obstacles require us to jack our heart rate then recover. Training MMA is perfect for that.
- Teamwork: Tough Mudder requires us to work together. Unless your elite so does all OCR racing. We train a lot solo and working with others is a skill. MMA requires that.