Doing The Double: Completing The Superhuman Weekender 2021!
Why I entered the Superhuman Games 2021 and Superhuman Obstacle Course Race 2021, my experience of the weekend and my top tips for Superhuman Festival 2022!
Why I entered both the Games and the OCR:
During the first lockdown and with no OCR events on the calendar I ended up taking part in some virtual functional fitness competitions to keep my passion for sport and competition alive. It was just the thing I needed to allow me to interact with other likeminded athletes that enjoyed functional training, tough workouts and pushing themselves out their comfort zone.
Iain Irving was one of the athletes who I had competed with a couple of times through the virtual events and he messaged me and asked if I wanted to team up for the Superhuman Games. Both coming from an OCR background and being well-seasoned to taking on multiple events in a weekend (e.g. at Trifecta Weekend and OCRWC) we were excited to take on both the Superhuman Games and the Superhuman OCR the next day.
Although never having met in person, we shared workouts, training tips and motivated each other in the build up to the event.
My 2021 experience:
Day 1 was a crushing series of 5 different workouts challenging different energy systems demanding strength, cardio and endurance with weighted lunges, sprints, cardio machines, heavy lifts and strongman style-carries to name a few. Iain and myself pushed hard (and each other) through round after round to stay in the fight but after coming up against 9 mins straight of heavy tyre flips in the final heat, we fell just short of podium.
Day 2 and driving back to take on Superhuman OCR my legs felt broken but my spirit was not. We were determined to give it everything (despite the DOMS) in the OCR event that we were more conditioned to. The event was fantastic with compromised running throughout, masses of stairs to climb (some weighted) and a nice blend of challenging carries (much heavier than your usual OCR) and the course finishing with a hall that I’m sure most who competed won’t forget!! A gauntlet of 200m bear crawl, 200m lunges, and 200m burpee broad jumps. Seeing each other putting in as much work as the day before was inspiring and pushed us to finish with a podium win!
My top tips for training for the Superhuman Games and Superhuman OCR!
Know your strengths and weaknesses.
Are you better at strength or cardio?
Are you strong as an ox but blow out on a short run? Or are you super fast but would struggle to toss a 60kg sandbag over your shoulder.
You will need a balance of both cardiovascular fitness and strength so make sure you are mixing it up. I would recommend a combination of 3-4 resistance sessions a week and 2-3 runs (including both easy base runs to build aerobic capacity and harder interval, tempo or hill runs to improve lactate threshold and VO2 MAX) but lean towards where you a weakest for the best gains prior to competing.
Understand compromised running!!
The key to both the Superhuman Games and especially Superhuman OCR is the ability to keep your heart rate as low as possible while under high intensity. Performing heavy lifts or full body callisthenic moves like burpees spike your heart rate. So being able to know what pace you can run at while bringing your heart down (or not spiking it anymore) is key to not blowing out. I recommended using a a sports watch to track pace and heart rate so you get an understanding of what speed you can run before you are likely to fatigue.
Some of the judging rules for the games require competitors to be in synchronisation eg synchronised Ground To Overhead. Being aware if you are moving faster or slower than your partner is key to avoiding getting no repped so be prepared to slow your speed and stay together or it could cost you time. But also be ready to support and motivate, the power of encouragement can go along way in giving your team mate that extra push.
Fuel and recover!!!
You will be burning a ton of calories so use each gap between heats as an opportunity to replenish your glycogen stores, hydration levels and jump on that foam roller or use a massage gun to help remove the toxins from your muscles ready for the next heat. Peanut butter and sweet potatoes are one of my go to fuels inbetween heats.
Good Luck For 2022 - commit to the challenge and you won't regret it!
Book your Weekender spot here: https://www.superhumanfestival.com/events/68
By Oliver Harvey-Vallender