I Am Burned Out on OCR.  

Burnout happens.  It happens because of “too much”.  Too much training, too many races, too much travel, too much waiting to park, too many registration lines, too many of the same obstacles, too much money spent for a single event… the list goes on and on.  Race day comes and goes so quickly that we start to wonder – was it really all worth it?  Have we become so consumed that we don’t take the time to rest and recharge?  Do we suddenly find ourselves questioning our passion for OCR?

Those of us that have been doing obstacle course racing for a few years always seem to hit a point where we are just going through the motions: pack, travel, get up, check in, race, hangout, go home…weekend after weekend.  Sometimes, it can be a lot, and we might start to feel drained, lose enthusiasm, and express the desire to just quit.  We know something needs to change, but at the same time, we don’t want to miss out on anything.

I personally have been participating in obstacle course races for over 9 years now.  My passion for this sport grew out of helping others, not caring about time, and just having fun.  My team’s core value was “no one left behind”.  As each year has passed, I have added more and more races, I have traveled more, and I have put more pressure on myself to perform better.  With the need to “qualify” for this, potentially “podium” in my age group for that, and always searching for my next greatest challenge, I was setting myself up for complete burnout.

It’s a very scary thought when the one thing you love is also the one thing wearing you out.  So, what do you do?  Burnout is not something you can just ignore.  I have figured out 4 key things that have helped eliminate my burnout, brought balance back to my racing, and re-ignited my passion for OCR:  Social Interaction, Rediscovering the Joy, Integrating Variety, and Developing Gratitude.

Social Interaction
Keeping in touch with the world is essential. I have re-engaged with my Corn Fed Spartan race team. We have team challenges and connect for activities and events outside of OCR (rock climbing, ax throwing, laser tag).

  • Connect with people that are positive influences
  • Join an OCR team and meet new people with similar interests
  • Get together with friends and plan events outside of racing
  • Treat every interaction like it is the last time you will ever see that person


Rediscovering the Joy

Think about your “why” and go back to your roots.  I used to race only for fun.  We would help anyone and everyone out on the race course.  I was the on course “team photographer” and loved capturing the joy on everyone’s faces as they overcame obstacles they thought they couldn’t complete.  The simple act of cheering everyone one brought me so much joy.  I have started taking my camera out on fun laps and love to help people overcome challenging obstacles.

  • Race with friends just for fun – take a camera, play in the mud, play on the obstacles
  • Help someone new through the course
  • Stay at a difficult obstacle and just help people conquer it
  • Cheer everyone on


Integrating Variety
Variety is the spice of life.  I have gone back to a healthy balance of doing some races for fun, some competitively, and sometimes both in the same day with a second lap.  I also add at least 1 or 2 new races to the schedule each year that I have never done before to keep things fresh and exciting.

  • Add new races/events that you have never done before
  • Do some races for fun, and do some competitively to see what you can do
  • Find new and interesting ways to challenge yourself
  • Do a lap for yourself and a lap to help others
  • Volunteer at a race


Developing Gratitude –  Always be thankful.
Grab your friends, rediscover the joy of your “why”, try new things, and always be thankful for everything.  It can take some time to feel like “yourself” again… the way you felt when you first started doing OCR’s, but it is possible to get the excitement back and overcome the burnout.

by LegendBorne Ambassador Heather Hannin Voorhis
follow her @PrincessBadass212