My story about Cold Weather OCR racing

cold water acclimatisation training

In 2013 hundreds and hundreds of racers experienced hypothermia. I know that on 29th January I was racing at Tough Guy. All was going well. Got to the hill climbs and was flying around. Did a check with another racer to see how tough the obstacle was and he said it is the 2nd hardest. Thought wow, doing well. He said the hardest is the cold and the water. Fortunately I had spent a month doing cold water Training in -8 degrees, so felt pretty prepared. I new it was going to be challenging , but hadn’t realised to what extent. Whether it was ‘Walking the plank’, full body immersions or wading through an ice field of 2cm thick ice for 100m up to your chest/neck, knowing that you had to turn around at the end and go all the way back. It was shocking, it was testing.

Cold Water Training

Even OCR champion Thomas Blanc passed out and shipped off in an ambulance. But one of the hardest aspects was getting caught up in slow moving regions of the Killing Field. Being out of the water, hit by the winds and hail stones just drew every bit of heat out of your body. It tested and tested you. God knows what it would have been like with out the Cold Water Acclimatisation Training. Can’t tell you the amount of racers falling by the wayside because of the cold. The amount of in correctly kitted out runners and those that had done very little preparation.

In March 2013 only 6 racers completed the 4 laps at The Nuts Challenge due to water and cold temeperatures that even put World Champion Jonathan Albon out of the race. At the end of March I was racing at the Reaper, in Pippingford Park and it was snowing.


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Obstacle Race Magazine – Cold Weather & Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

Obstacle Race Magazine Interview with Michael Cohen
Obstacle Racing Magazine

Cold Weather & Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

by Michael Cohen

Issue 1
February 2014

Cold weather training for an event can be very daunting if you haven’t done one before. We are in the UK, so we have to be prepared. At Tough Guy on January 29 2013 it was -10 degrees in the water and the ice was 1cm thick.  In March it was no better at The Nuts Challenge, it was frigid. Hundreds of contenders at last winter obstacle race (OCR) events around the country experienced hypothermia. Many were miserable and just cold. Where’s the fun in that! Continue reading

Cold Water Workshop

Cold Water Training

Cold Water Workshop

Now that you have started your cold Water Training Plan it is time to incorporate controlled cold water immersions.

WARNING – Cold water immersions are dangerous. It is recommended to be undertaken with the support and guidance of a competent coach, whom is experienced at acclimatisation training. Cold Water Immersions needs to be taken very seriously to reduce the risk of hypothermia, injury or even death. Cold Water Immersions should not be done on your own. If for any reason you are mad enough to do it on your own always tell someone that you live with or a close friend what you are doing so they can assist, supervise and react to your needs. Please always tell someone what you are doing so they can look out for you. Cold Water immersion is dangerous and should only be done in the presence of a competent coach. Training is only suitable for those over 18 years old.

Wild Forest Gym has partnered with The Nuts Challenge & to hold COLD WATER IMMERSION WORKSHOPS at The Nuts Challenge OCR course. FOr those of you who will be racing there in March this is your opportunity to get to test out your Cold Water Acclimatisation Training and put your racing skills to the test. Continue reading

The Nuts Challenge Cold Water Training

nuts challenge cold water training

Nutters, it is time to get ready for The Nuts Challenge, with your FREE Cold Water & Cold Weather Training Plan!

The Nuts Challenge Race Director, Wayne Monkman in partnership with, has asked obstacle race training specialists Wild Forest Gym, to help prepare his nutters for race day with Cold Water Acclimatisation Training.

Monkman says “As an event organiser I feel it is my duty to look after the welfare of my nutters. This means giving them first class training, so that they can prepare themselves. This way every nutter can enjoy themselves and be safe.  Last year the weather turned on us and hundreds of nutters risked hypothermia, because they were not familiar with cold water and cold weather exposure.

Similarly they were inadequately kitted out. This year every nutter will get a FREE Nuts Challenge Cold Water & Cold Weather Acclimatisation Training Plan. This will include  kit advise and 4 weeks of progressive training so that they are race READY & Race SAFE for the NUTS CHALLENGE”

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Protected: Week 4 – Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

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Cold Water Training Workshop

We have lined up a number of cold water training workshops over the coming months, which supports our FREE Cold Water Training Plan. Here are January dates. The workshops are 90-minutes. They will include immersions & submersions in lakes, streams and ponds as well as guidance and kit viewing. This is your opportunity to train with other Cold Water Masochists under coach supervision. All workshops will require a minimum number of attendees so that we are able to keep the cost of the 90-minute training workshops at £20.

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Protected: Week 3 – Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

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Protected: Week 2 – Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

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KIT – Cold Water Acclimatisation Training

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When it comes to kit for Cold Water & Cold Weather acclimatisation Training I only recommend kit that I know works for me and my WildForestGym elite runners.  So here are my recommendations for clothing. You will need this kit before you move onto week 2. I have stated what is required and what is optional.

Get your FREE 4 week Cold Water Weather Training Plan.

REQUIRED KIT Continue reading