- OCR and the training that goes behind it can be beneficial to children.
- Supplement your child’s training by providing them with a nutritious diet, along with helpful gear for maximum mobility.
- OCR gives kids the opportunity to build friendships, their confidence, and their physical and mental strength.
OCR training is good for kids
Children naturally have a lot of energy, and an obstacle course is a great outlet for that uncontainable bounce. Before they dive in, they’ll need to work on their strength, endurance, balance, and coordination.
As fun as they are, obstacle courses can be somewhat intimidating. An obstacle course gym lets children get a hang of what it’s like to be in that kind of environment, minus the looming thought that they might get hurt. They’re in a safe space with step-by-step guidance from a professional as they slowly figure things out. This can help ease their anxiety for the actual race, and instead replace it with anticipation and excitement.
Kid-friendly OCR exercises
Whatever length or number of obstacles the race has, there will always be some running involved. Encourage your child to go jogging, preferably with a parent or sibling as a running buddy. This will ready them for all the cardio demands of OCR and if they’re feeling ambitious, they can run up and down the stairs, but be on the lookout in case they miss a step.
It’s always nice to take a trip to your local park. This time, you can make it a productive one and not just a leisurely hang-out. Do a different kind of “hanging” and practice with your child on the monkey bars. This will improve their climbing abilities, and although the intensity of climbing obstacles for kids is nowhere near the ones for adults, it’ll still be a proud moment for them when they realize they can lift their own body weight.
Having a strong, firm grip can be a big advantage when it comes to the obstacles. It means your kids won’t just slip off them, which is comforting to know. Wrist rollers and similar equipment might be too large for their tiny hands, but you can swap them out for some easy-to-find substitutes and get the same effect. Have them squeeze a stress ball or wring the water out of a wet washcloth or sponge. Alternatively, you can improve their grip by having them help you out with gardening or outdoor cleaning. Give them the nozzle end of a water sprayer and let them have at it. Aim carefully, please!
Training or not, giving your children a healthy diet is part of being a responsible parent. When they’re preparing for a race, ensure that they get a lot of nutrient-rich meals to give them the energy they need to conquer the obstacles.
Kids can get protein from seafood, lean meat, eggs, and beans. Picky eaters might prefer poultry like chicken, and that’s all good, too. Get them into the habit of eating fruits - whether that means fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. Fruit juices are okay as well, but first, check whether what you’re giving them is 100% juice or if it’s loaded with preservatives. If it’s the latter, either make it a “once in a while” treat, or take it out completely.
Servings of vegetables with their meals are also important. Give them dark greens, beans, peas, and some starchy veggies. If you buy your vegetables canned or frozen, go for the ones that are lower in sodium.
What to prepare for race day
As you’re helping your child get ready for the big day, make sure they don’t wear absorbent clothes. These will soak up water, sweat, and mud, making them heavy and uncomfortable. Their tops, bottoms, and shoes should fit just right, because this can add to their momentum and keep them from having any awkward accidents on the trail.
Kids - and all OCR contestants - should be ready to get dirty during the race. It’s a normal part of the experience, so don’t worry about it too much. They’ll get filthy, but they’ll have fun doing so! Just make sure to remind them to wash up and change before stepping inside any building or car -- and before a beefy, celebratory hug.
Passing on OCR values
Aside from making kids more prepared for OCR events, OCR training can teach them some valuable lessons about perseverance. It’s crucial to build up their confidence, especially at a young age, but at the same time, kids need to know that it’s okay to fail sometimes. OCR training will make them healthier physically and mentally, giving them lots of room to develop a well-grounded and positive outlook in life. Why not schedule an OCR class for your young ones?