I’ve run 24 hour of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) events in 90+ degree weather, below freezing temperatures and even in the middle of a sandstorm. Conditions are rarely ideal but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage in races and more importantly in life. Here’s a couple reasons to look at the positive aspects of less than ideal conditions:
Bad Weather, the Great Equalizer
While bad weather may mean you miss your mileage or time based goal, bad weather is the great equalizer. It often effects the top of the field more significantly than the middle of the field by making running more challenging. You may have seen this if you paid attention to the 2018 Boston Marathon where the people with the fastest times on their resume crumbled resulting in new champions (read more in my article, Five Things We Can Learn From the Boston Marathon on Mud Run Guide). If the weather is bad, maybe it’s time to adjust your goals to a placement based goal or maybe simply a persistence goal (i.e. finishing).
Mental Grit & Setting the Example
One of the positives about bad conditions is it will test your mental grit. During endurance events or training workouts, you’ll find out how bad you really want it. Facing challenging situations allows you to handle future problems with greater ease because whatever you are facing now will never be worse on all accounts. This works in both racing and in life. Furthermore, you can use this as a time to not only test yourself but also show your kids and family how you behave during adversity setting the example for them.
Worry About What You Can Control
If there is one thing racing in bad conditions has taught me is worry about what you can control. Training, race and life have enough variables, so don’t waste time worrying about what you can’t control, it’s just adding stress to an already taxing situation. Prepare for all the contingencies you can think of and show up ready to crush it on event day. You’ll find it is not only a more productive use of your time but is also more relaxing instead of hitting refresh on your weather app the week leading up to a big event.
While this article is focused on conditions in races, the same goes with life. There is never a great time to start a new project, take your kids to the zoo, focus on your wife in a house full of kids, take up a new challenge or make a lifestyle change. However, we make time for things that are important instead of waiting for the right conditions. You’re currently doing it with other aspects of your life, you just may not have realized it. Don’t wait around for the perfect conditions because you’ll be waiting forever and you’ll be missing out on life.
Evan “Ultra-OCR Man” Perperis is a National Strength & Conditioning Certified Personal Trainer (NSCA-CPT), an athlete on the Conquer The Gauntlet Pro Team and Special Forces Soldier with a cumulative 44 months of combat deployments.
He’s the host of the Strength & Speed podcast, an author of six books on Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)and more than 250+ articles, you can read about his training methodologies in his book’s Strength & Speed’s Guide to EliteOCR or Mud Run Guide’s Ultra-OCR Bible.