What You Should Wear to Your Obstacle Course Race: The Ultimate OCR Summer Kit
By OCRWC HQ
It’s one of the most asked questions, and hard to answer because it is so subjective, but I’m going to give it a try. With the season kicking off in style, we’re looking at what to wear for your summer OCR. Whether it’s your first, or 50th race, we all discuss our kit.
Stand on a start line in 70°F heat (yes that’s hot for the UK), and you can see a range of outfits. Of course we’re all discussing what we’re wearing because that’s what we do over here! From the racer covered head to toe because of her sensitivity to the cold, to the woman in bra and short shorts. We all know our own bodies and how we react, but we got there through trial and error.
So what are the basics you should be wearing for your summer OCR?
OCR Specific Shoes
Without a doubt, the first thing on anyone’s shopping list should be OCR shoes. Even on a dry course. Great grip helps up and down hills, on loose soil, or compacted long grass. A deep tread helps you with that all important rope climb, slip wall, or traverses like Spartans Olympus. OCR shoes are not just for mud, and they should be used wherever possible
The new G-Series from inov-8 is fast becoming a firm favorite, with the mud claw offering everything the OCR athlete needs. Even better, OCRWC athletes get a 10% discount with code 9OCR10 at http://www.inov-8.com.
Some people can’t stand shorts, but if you find a pair that works for you they are your savior for summer racing. You want something long enough to protect your skin when going over walls, or up the rope, but short enough to make wearing shorts in the heat worthwhile.
The Akuma Sports shorts are the perfect complement to your team kit and are designed specifically for OCR. Available in country or #NorAm and #OCRWC specific designs, there are tons of options.
For a longer short option 2XU, a long established name in compression provide a range of designs for both men, and women all of which are OCR elite athlete approved.
There’s mixed opinion on whether these help with performance. Personally, I swear by them, I’ve found the occurrence of cramp definitely decreases with wear. Aside from this, they offer something else: Protection.
When it’s hot you probably don’t want to be wearing full-length trousers, but there’s a good chance you’ll be running through long grass, nettles, and all sorts of nasties. Keeping your calves covered avoids the worst of the risks, and it also helps on obstacles like walls if you heel hook, and ropes if you foot lock. Plus, if you choose a snazzy color you can represent your team even more!
CompresSport and 2XU both offer excellent options.
Vest or tee, it’s up to you, just make sure it’s not cotton. Although a loose cotton shirt can possibly be cooler in the heat, if you’re getting wet you do not want to be dragging that wet fabric around with you!
Whilst there are no rules against racing topless or in a sports bra, many people prefer the protection that a jersey gives them, but want to keep coverage to a minimum.
Many people represent their favorite race, team, or charity, but there’s also the option to represent your country. Check out Akuma’s range of OCRWC and NorAm design jerseys, available in vest or tee, with every country covered, as well as race specific designs available.
There are few things more unpleasant than a slimy cotton sock sliding down into your shoe. It sounds obvious, but I know because I’ve been there! I’ve said it a million times but I’ll say it again. Avoid cotton at all costs! Tee shirts, socks, underwear. Don’t wear any of it!
They are just as subjective as shoes, with knee length or ankle length options available. Single or double layer to avoid blisters. Toe socks or not? The current favorite taking the OCR world by storm is Injinji, who offer a huge range of options whatever your preferences.
If you want to be smart, you can combine your sock and calf compression with Mud Gears OCR specific compression socks. Available in different colours, and including a #NorAM specific design which will be available on race weekend in Stratton Mountain, Mud Gear socks are a favourite amongst OCR athletes in the know.
While I wouldn’t recommend going out and spending hundreds of dollars on kit for your first race, putting together what you can, will certainly make a more pleasant experience. Beg, steal, and borrow what you’re able to until you work out exactly what you need and what works for you, and when you get the kit just right, you’ll definitely feel the difference!
-Francesca ChiorandoFrancesca is an avid obstacle course racer, TV host, and blogger at Mud Is My Makeup. Follow her Instagram at @MudIsMyMakeUp and @FranChiorando.