Over the past couple of years I have competed in a sport called Obstacle Course Racing (OCR).
I have not competed in the sense of a professional level, I have competed in age group and with myself. It has given me a path to help me improve myself.
The thing about OCR that a lot of people don’t know or just don’t understand is that it is a really tough sport to compete in.
Even the open waves are difficult, heck, the local “fun run” OCR courses are really hard.
I would say racing is actually one of if not the hardest sport you can compete in. Is OCR the hardest? Not even close, look up Barkley Marathon or Iditarod.
Racing is definitely a sport that is based around mental toughness. It is you competing against you to finish the race.
You are continually trying to get out of your head just to finish the race. If you do/did not finish (DNF) most of the time it is because you let the race beat you down.
I feel there are some mental toughness lessons that we can all learn from racing or just sport in general.
Here are a few that I feel all of us need to embrace.
It is ok to fail:
You are supposed to fail. Failure is a part of life. If we fail it is ok. Failure is not a bad thing, actually, I would say it is the best thing you can do.
Failure should actually be looked at as a learning experience. Look at what did not work for you. What can you do to correct the course, and get back to succeeding?
Besides, when you fail, you learn what not to do, or, how to push through if the same scenario comes up again.
Your tougher than you think:
The thing about OCR is you fall, you tear up your hands, and you will slip… a lot. It does not matter how much your hands hurt or how bruised you are from every fall, you can get back up and move forward.
It’s ok, it will hurt for a little bit, but you won't break. You're tougher than you think, and you can deal with a lot more than you think.
When you feel you can’t take another step forward, just give it a try. I promise you will always be able to move forward.
You need to look in the mirror:
I look at racing and OCR as being a place where people are trying to improve themselves. At some point they were in a place where they no longer wanted to be. Then they decided to do something about it.
The people around who are undertrained for their race never say, “I couldn’t run because this (insert excuse) held me back”. Actually you get the opposite. It is always, “I am not ready because of me.”.
If you are not where you want to be, don’t blame anyone except yourself. You are in the situation you are in because of you no one else.
Mental toughness is something that all of us have a lot more of than we think. You are a lot stronger than you think. The only way you will truly know how strong you are is by pushing yourself. The saying is “Magic happens outside of your comfort zone.” How are you going to get to the magic?