Book Review: ‘Obstacle Race Training’ by Margaret Schlachter

You know that scene in As Good as it Gets when Jack Nicholson tells the dog, “Don’t be like me. You be your own little man!” If not, then what are you doing still reading this post? Watch that fine movie, then come back and read this fine post. If you get the reference then you’ll understand that it’s with a mixture of pride and concern that I tell you to, “Be your own little Obstacle Course Racer.”

Don’t be like me. My first OC race was the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder in West Virginia, October 2013… and I made every mistake in the book.

I wore a cotton tank top. In October. During a Tough Mudder.

There were so many small missteps that could have been avoid by reading, Margaret Schlachter’s book, Obstacle Race TrainingUnfortunately for me, the urge to research what I had signed up to do remained dormant.

Obstacle Race Training by Margaret Schlachter
Obstacle Race Training by Margaret Schlachter

That changed when I met Margaret, Dirt in Your Skirt founder and long-time participant of the sport – her passion for OCR is undeniable and it’s hard not to learn something new when you spend any amount of time with her. We had both signed up for Chris Spealler’s Park City Mountain Meltdown 5K and while I was nervous, having not done well at the aforementioned TM, Margaret was super relaxed. She cheered me on and gave me advice throughout the entire race.

On the drive back to Salt Lake, I confided in her about my total loss of confidence during the TM and how I mentally froze during the first obstacle. She reminded me that training for any big race, especially an OCR race, requires a fair amount of mental preparedness.

I then read her book a lightbulb went on.

Obstacle Race Training covers everything you’d need to know before running a race. Like don’t wear cotton, eat something, don’t psych yourself out… the list goes on (much to my naïve embarrassment).

Margaret takes you by the hand and leads you through your first race covering topics such as:

– Training Plans
– Optimal Eating
– How to Conquer Iconic Obstacles (such as the walls & spear throws)
– Mental Training
– What to Expect Before, During, and After a Race

While I enjoyed, and have used her techniques going forward (especially her excellent training plans!), what I loved most were the stories Margaret shared of her own journey through the sport. For anyone who’s ever run an OCR, you know that it can be life-changing, and Margaret knows that better than anyone I’ve ever met. Her tone never talks down to the reader, but encourages and inspires throughout the entire book.

Whether you’re a veteran of obstacle racing, or you’ve just signed on for your very first course – Obstacle Race Training is the definitive handbook that will help you conquer any course, inspiring you every step of the way. As Margaret says:

“The beauty of obstacle racing is it gives us all a chance to step outside our comfort zones and experience something real… [it] gives us all a chance to get back to nature, pound our feet on some dirt, roll in the mud, get dirty and tap into our more primal selves so we experience life raw and unedited. This is the real reason to enter an OCR: so you can remember what it is to play and, more importantly, to LIVE.”

For more information on Margaret and her inspiring journey, check out her website.

Product Review Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on any product are my own and I have not received compensation for reviews posted.


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