So you’re stuck at an obstacle at the OCR World Championships, things aren’t going your well and you are thinking about giving up the band. Hopefully you’ve already read my tips for how to handle getting stuck at an obstacle and tried all those techniques. What’s next? Do you give up the band and save your energy for tomorrow? Do you continue to max out your effort? The problem is complicated and nuanced. Here are some tips to help you decide what to do and how to deal with the situation based off your current situation.
1. It is during the 3K
If you are stuck during the 3K Championships and you still have the 15K Championships and Team Relay Championships ahead of you, it might be best to call it. Turning the band in could save your grip strength for tomorrow allowing for future success. You will probably have to make it across the same obstacle tomorrow but attacking it fresh during the 15K after getting some helpful tips from friends might increase your chance for success versus completely destroying your grip right now. With the 3K being a fast paced race, to place high requires a mostly clean run in almost every age group so if you are worried about placement at this point that’s probably no longer a concern. The decision is either finish with the band or not and based off how far into the 3K along with what’s left that requires grip strength should weigh heavily in your decision.
2. It is during the 15K or later in the weekend
If it is during the 15K Championships, you probably want to keep trying. With only one more competitive event for the weekend (the Team Relay Championships), it is okay to max out your grip and energy. This is especially true if you are running the strength or speed leg for your team. Even if you are running the technique leg, if your teammates made it across this obstacle successfully you might want to switch out who does each leg. The big exception is if you are worried about making the six hour cutoff. With the weekend almost over you probably want to keep trying, unless…
3. You are getting worse with every attempt
If on every attempt you are making less and less progress, it might be time to give up the band. Continuing to destroy your grip may be the difference between failing one obstacle and failing five obstacles on the course. That being said, you only have one band so whether you fail five obstacles or one, it is still a lost band. You’ll have to make a call based off your personal goals and history.
4. You’ve never kept a band before
If you’ve lost your band at previous events you know the feeling. Losing your band is a rough experience. That being said, your best chance for keeping a band all weekend will be at the Team Relay Championships, since you can pick a leg that plays to your strengths. You’ll have to make a call to keep trying and exhaust yourself or to save yourself for the team race.
5. You’ve never lost a band before
Assuming you’ve raced a fair amount of times on mandatory obstacle completion courses, if you are in this category you probably have a lot of experience dealing with challenging obstacles. At this point is largely about pride if you want to keep trying. If you decide to give up the band, try to view it as a positive. You’ll find that you train harder after failure than after success.
6. Most of the field is stuck
In this case, you may want to continue to fight to make it across. Especially in the older age groups, the percentage of 100% obstacle completion is usually a little lower since the pros, all age groups and all genders have the same standard. If you are in an older age group you probably want to continue to fight since occasionally the podium may end up being unfilled.
7. You’re worried about the six hour cutoff
While the Adventurey staff would love to give you unlimited time to complete all the obstacles, the weekend is packed full of events so it isn’t a real option. Plus, there are other events stacked up all weekend so the course needs to be clear and route adjusted for the next event. The 15K has a six hour cutoff, which means even if the course is open because you had an early wave time if you cross the finish line after six hours you are no longer an official finisher. Take a good look at the course map and figure out time hacks for where you need to be on the course by certain times to ensure you make the cutoff. Remember people slowdown in the final portions of the race so be sure to plan in some wiggle room for the inevitable reduction in speed.
While not ideal, sometimes you may be in a situation where you end up giving up your band. Accept the loss and move forward learning a lesson from the challenge. I would also highly recommend reading my Mud Run Guide article, So You Lost Your Band, Now What? Losing a band isn’t the end of the world and it will only ruin your weekend if you let it. OCRWC is a great experience providing you a ton of exposure to new obstacles, new athletes and the biggest OCR event annually. Whether you keep all the bands in September or lose all your bands, enjoy the memorable weekend and we will see you next year!