• 12 Books You Need To Read This Summer If You Are An OCR Athlete

List Compiled By: Katie Purcell

 

INTRO

Obstacle Course Racing: it's not just that thing you do on the weekends, or what you train for during the week. You design your vacations around it, and probably know most of your race schedule for the season off the top of your head right now. It's a mindset...a way of thinking...a lifestyle.

Here at Fierce Gear OCR we put together a list of good reads we think you OCR addicts will enjoy this summer when you're at the beach, wishing you were at a race instead. They are loosely split into 3 different categories based on the main takeaways/focus of the book: 

  1. Killer lessons on the development of mindset/grit
  2. Inspirational biographies we dig
  3. Training-focused texts (a.k.a., what you should actually "do")

 

...Take a look through and let us know what you think! 

 

GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME

1. Endure: Alex Hutchinson
Published 2018

Tags: Mindset, Fitness

Description:

The capacity to endure is the key trait that underlies great performance in virtually every field. But what if we all can go farther, push harder, and achieve more than we think we’re capable of?

Blending cutting-edge science and gripping storytelling in the spirit of Malcolm Gladwell—who contributes the book’s foreword—award-winning journalist Alex Hutchinson reveals that a wave of paradigm-altering research over the past decade suggests the seemingly physical barriers you encounter as set as much by your brain as by your body. This means the mind is the new frontier of endurance—and that the horizons of performance are much more elastic than we once thought.

But, of course, it’s not “all in your head.” For each of the physical limits that Hutchinson explores—pain, muscle, oxygen, heat, thirst, fuel—he carefully disentangles the delicate interplay of mind and body by telling the riveting stories of men and women who’ve pushed their own limits in extraordinary ways.

The longtime “Sweat Science” columnist for Outside and Runner’s World, Hutchinson, a former national-team long-distance runner and Cambridge-trained physicist, was one of only two reporters granted access to Nike’s top-secret training project to break the two-hour marathon barrier, an extreme quest he traces throughout the book. But the lessons he draws from shadowing elite athletes and from traveling to high-tech labs around the world are surprisingly universal. Endurance, Hutchinson writes, is “the struggle to continue against a mounting desire to stop”—and we’re always capable of pushing a little farther.

Endure book by Alex Hutchinson

 

2. The Little Black Book Of Workout Motivation: Michael Matthews
Published 2018

Tags: Mindset, Fitness

Description:

Master the psychological "playbook" top performers use to shift their negative thinking and behaviors into peak performance and lasting success.

Have you ever gotten into your car after a long day at work, and even though you promised yourself you'd hit the gym, you head straight home for the couch instead?

Have you ever been unable to stop hitting the Snooze button every morning (instead of the gym)?

Have you ever been secretly afraid that you just don't have what it takes to really change your body and life?

Have you ever struggled so much to build a better body and life that you wondered if it's really worth it?

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, I understand. I've been there myself.

Years ago, I was stuck in a rut in the gym, I was making minimum payments on tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt, and I had no idea where I should go in my life, let alone how to get there.

Today, I'm a "super-fit" bestselling author with over one million books sold, and the owner and founder of several 7- and 8-figure businesses, including Muscle for Life, Legion Athletics, and Oculus Publishers.

(And perhaps more importantly, I also found a unicorn for a wife who has given me two kids who are kinda the coolest.)

How the heck did all that happen?

Did I sell my soul to the Dread Lord Cthulhu? Discover the one weird trick to melting belly fat, debt, and existential angst. . . in just 5 minutes per day? Develop an expensive but highly productive cocaine habit?

Not quite. What really happened is, well, kind of boring:

I read scores of books, worked thousands of hours, and overcame more setbacks than I can count.

In other words, I did the hard stuff that most people don't want to do, and I'm ready to share the biggest lessons I've learned along the way.

And now, while I don't know everything about personal growth, I do know what it takes to develop the skills, habits, and spirit required to transform your body and life.

I also know that anyone can use these powerful strategies to overcome the biggest mental and emotional blocks holding them back from realizing their potential in the same way that I have.

No matter who you are or what difficulties you're facing, you can empower yourself to have the body you want to have, become the person you want to be, and live the life you want to live.

That's why I wrote this book.

It's my personal--and 100% practical and hands-on--blueprint for personal transformation, inside and outside of the gym, and it will provide you with new and valuable knowledge and skills that you will use for the rest of your life.

In short, I wrote this book to help you fix the biggest things that are holding you back from doing and achieving the things you care most about.

To do that, I share wisdom and insights from hundreds of scientific studies and scores of legendary artists, authors, entrepreneurs, philosophers, generals, and conquerors, as well as my own biggest "a ha" moments that are most responsible for where I am today.

Armed with the information you'll learn inside my new book, you're going to start living life with more energy, enthusiasm, and confidence.

You're going to develop a new paradigm for interacting with yourself and your environment.

And if you really take these lessons to heart, you might just enter a transformative period of your life and discover that you're capable of far more than you ever thought possible.

So, don't miss this golden opportunity to learn what most people will never know about forging a winning and successful mindset, skillset, and lifestyle.

The Little Black Book Of Workout Motivation

  

3. Let Your Mind Run: Deena Kastor & Michelle Hamilton
Published 2019

Tags: Mindset, Overcoming Adversity, Strong Women, Fitness, Running  

Description:

Deena Kastor was a star youth runner with tremendous promise, yet her career almost ended after college, when her competitive method—run as hard as possible, for fear of losing—fostered a frustration and negativity and brought her to the brink of burnout. On the verge of quitting, she took a chance and moved to the high altitudes of Alamosa, Colorado, where legendary coach Joe Vigil had started the first professional distance-running team. There she encountered the idea that would transform her running career: the notion that changing her thinking—shaping her mind to be more encouraging, kind, and resilient—could make her faster than she’d ever imagined possible. Building a mind so strong would take years of effort and discipline, but it would propel Kastor to the pinnacle of running—to American records in every distance from the 5K to the marathon—and to the accomplishment of earning America’s first Olympic medal in the marathon in twenty years.

Let Your Mind Run is a fascinating intimate look inside the mind of an elite athlete, a remarkable story of achievement, and an insightful primer on how the small steps of cultivating positivity can give anyone a competitive edge.

Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor

 

4. Think Like A Warrior: Darrin Donnelly
Published 2016

Tags: Grit, Mindset, Fitness

Description:

Discover the five inner beliefs shared by the world's greatest achievers.

If you want to take control of your life and achieve your biggest dreams, you must develop a "warrior mindset." This book will show you how to stop thinking like a victim and start thinking like a warrior.

In this inspirational fable, Chris McNeely is a college football coach who is at the end of his rope after a hard-and-fast fall from the top of his profession. Now bankrupt and on the verge of losing his job, he has no idea what he’s doing wrong or how to get back on track.

Angry, worried, and desperate for help, Chris receives mysterious visits from five of history's greatest coaches: John Wooden, Buck O’Neil, Herb Brooks, Paul "Bear" Bryant, and Vince Lombardi.

Together, these five legendary leaders teach Chris how to "think like a warrior" and take control of his life. The "warrior mindset" he develops changes his life forever—and it will change yours as well.

Discover the life-changing lessons of John Wooden, Buck O'Neil, Herb Brooks, Bear Bryant, and Vince Lombardi in this inspirational tale of what it takes to achieve your dreams—whatever those dreams may be. 

This book will show you how to...
- Build your self-confidence
- Develop mental toughness 
- Attack every day with joy and enthusiasm
- Use a positive mental attitude to achieve more
- Harness the power of positive self-talk
- Be a positive leader for your family and your team
- Become the person you were born to be
- And much more…
 

The five inner beliefs revealed in this book will empower you to take control of your life and overcome any obstacle that stands in your way.

Think Like A Warrior by Darrin Donnelly

 

 INSPIRATIONAL BIOGRAPHIES

5. Born To Run: Christopher McDougall
Published 2011
Amazon Rating 4.7/5 stars

Tags: Biography, Inspiration/Motivation, Fitness, Running, Mindset  

Description:

An epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt?
 
Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe. McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run.

Born To Run by Christopher McDougall

  

6. Eat and Run: Scott Jurek & Steve Friedman
Published 2013

Tags: Biography, Inspiration/Motivation, Mindset, Training, Fitness, Running

Description:

For nearly two decades, Scott Jurek has been a dominant force—and darling—in the grueling and growing sport of ultrarunning. Until recently he held the American 24-hour record and he was one of the elite runners profiled in the runaway bestseller Born to Run.

In Eat and Run, Jurek opens up about his life and career as a champion athlete with a plant-based diet and inspires runners at every level. From his Midwestern childhood hunting, fishing, and cooking for his meat-and-potatoes family to his slow transition to ultrarunning and veganism, Scott’s story shows the power of an iron will and blows apart the stereotypes of what athletes should eat to fuel optimal performance. Full of stories of competition as well as science and practical advice—including his own recipes—Eat and Run will motivate readers and expand their food horizons. 

“Jurek’s story and ideas should easily manage to speak to and cheer on anyone seeking to live life as fully as possible.”—Denver Post

“A shockingly honest, revealing, and inspiring memoir.”—Trail Runner

Eat and Run by Scott Jurek

 

7. Can’t Hurt Me: David Goggins
Published 2018

Tags: Grit, Mindset, Fitness  

Description:

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare - poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him The Fittest (Real) Man in America. 

In Can't Hurt Me, he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.

 

8. When Life Gets You Down, Rise Up!: Kacey McCallister
Published 2019

Tags: Biography, Inspiration/Motivation, Mindset, Fitness, OCR  

Description:

It was a crisp winter day when six-year-old Kacey McCallister lost both of his legs, forever altering the course of his life. This unthinkable trial could have broken him, but from that day forward he chose to rise above his circumstances and learn to live without limits.

For those struggling to find hope in the depths of physical, spiritual, or emotional trials, this incredible story of one man's unbreakable courage will inspire and motivate readers to not only survive but thrive amidst life's challenges.

A true testament to the power of the human spirit, When Life Gets You Down, Rise Up!demonstrates the refining power that can be found in the midst of overwhelming odds, a power available to all who will take hold of it and rise.

Rise Up by Kacey McCallister

 

TRAINING

9. Spartan Fit!: Joe De Sena & John Durant
Published 2016

Tags: Training, Mindset, Grit, OCR, Fitness  

Description:

Joe De Sena designed the Spartan races to test overall conditioning: strength, flexibility, endurance, and speed. His signature take-no-prisoners approach to achieving physical and mental fitness has taken the endurance world by storm and inspired millions. Now in Spartan Fit!, De Sena breaks down that approach and gives readers the tools they need to conquer the course — and life, including:

     • A 30-day workout and diet plan to prepare for the Spartan Sprint — or to just get you in shape
     • Full-body workouts requiring no gym, no weights
     • How to build on one race to the next
     • Inspiring, motivating stories of Spartans

A complete Spartan training guide, Spartan Fit! will arm readers with the strength, knowledge, and grit to never question their potential again.

Spartan Fit by Joe De Sena

 

10. Strength and Speed's Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing: Evan Perperis
Published 2016

Tags: Training, OCR, Fitness  

Description:

Strength & Speed's Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing is a comprehensive resource for the competitive OCR athlete. The book covers race preparation, training, offseason training, rest, recovery, nutrition, supplementation, techniques for maintaining motivation, and yearly scheduling. Included are twelve training plans that provide easy, medium, and hard difficulty schedules for everything from a 5K Warrior Dash to the ultra-distance World's Toughest Mudder. The book concludes with interviews with some of the current best OCR athletes in the world including Hobie Call, Corinna Coffin, Marco Bedard, Claude Godbout, Cassidy Watton, and many more. Whether you are a high-level competitive racer looking to move higher up on the podium or an open wave competitor looking to conquer races with greater ease, this book has something for you.

Evan Perperis is a competitive obstacle racer with numerous podium finishes including a thirteenth overall finish at World's Toughest Mudder. He draws on experience from the military along with his competitive fitness background including everything from marathon running to natural bodybuilding. He has an undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins, a Masters from the University of Kansas, and a certification as a National Strength and Conditioning Certified Personal Trainer. As the owner of the hybrid athlete organization Strength & Speed, you can find him competing at a variety of events all across the country. His articles can be read at TeamStrengthSpeed.com and MudRunGuide.com.

Strength and Speed's Guide to Elite Obstacle Course Racing by Evan Perperis

 

11. Mud, Guts & Glory: Mark Hatmaker
Published 2013

Tags: Training, OCR, Fitness

Description:

Obstacle racing is a grueling physical challenge based on elements found in some of the world’s elite special forces training, where competitors test their mettle against obstacles, terrain, and conditioning similar to military boot camps, and this book provides an in-depth look at the training, gear, preparation, tactics, and logistics for making it through. After a brief overview of obstacle racing’s roots and development, the guide provides detailed information on the conditioning techniques required to prepare participants for the unusual demands of these courses. The tactics section teaches specific techniques for climbing mud-covered ropes, fording swamps, mounting walls, executing an effective belly-crawl, and numerous other tips for the wild chaos that might ensue. A section on logistics gives insider tips concerning gear, lodging, building a team, and the ever-present problem of cleaning up. Whether racing for fun or in it to win it, Mud, Guts & Glory is the one-stop guide for enduring the race from start to finish.

Mud, Guts & Glory by Mark Hatmaker

 

12. 80/20 Running: Matt Fitzgerald
Published 2014

Tags: Training, Running, Fitness  

Description:

Respected running and fitness expert Matt Fitzgerald explains how the 80/20 running program—in which you do 80 percent of runs at a lower intensity and just 20 percent at a higher intensity—is the best change runners of all abilities can make to improve their performance. With a thorough examination of the science and research behind this training method, 80/20 Running is a hands-on guide for runners of all levels with training programs for 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and marathon distances.

In 80/20 Running, you’ll discover how to transform your workouts to avoid burnout.

• Runs will become more pleasant and less draining
• You’ll carry less fatigue from one run to the next
• Your performance will improve in the few high-intensity runs
• Your fitness levels will reach new heights

80/20 Running promotes a message that all runners—as well as cyclists, triathletes, and even weight-loss seekers—can embrace: Get better results by making the majority of your workouts easier.

80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald

 

 

CONCLUSION

...See anything you like? Anything you've read before and loved? Did you find a book on this list, read it, and totally dig it?? Comment below to let us know!

We plan to publish multiple "OCR Reading Lists" like this one per year, so if you have any suggestions shoot us an email at FierceGearOCR@gmail.com...we would love to hear them!

 

LIVE FIERCE.
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