Balance is a key element in obstacle course racing, especially with the log hop. The log hop is one of the easier obstacles in a race, but psychologically, it can be very challenging when logs stick out almost a foot out of the ground. Below are a few steps to help you successfully complete the log hop:
Pick a good line. In a race, many different log hop lines tend to exist. Pick the one most evenly spaced and similar in distance. If you are running a heat later in a day, ask the volunteer which one people have been most successful on throughout the day.
Step onto the first log or block and focus on the step ahead. Raise your arms to shoulder level to help balance you, fix your gaze on the next stump or block.
Step one foot forward onto the next block or log. Match your back leg.
Walk or run to the next stump or block by placing one foot then the other on the center of the stump or block, balancing on each block as you go and using your arms for balance.
Keep moving forward and secure your foot each step. Then, hop off the last log knowing you successfully completed the obstacle and go on running the course.
Balance and agility are the two key factors to the log hop. A great training tactic is to emulate the obstacle by making small wooden blocks to practice jumping block-to-block. This helps you learn balance, so in a race when you are a foot or more above the air, you already have the muscle memory stored.
Other training tools in the gym are speed ladders to help you work on your quickness, agility and reflexes. Finally, BOSU and balance balls are great tools to help you prepare for loose and wobbly logs, as they teach your body how to adapt to unstable footing.
With a little bit of practice, you can avoid the penalty on race day and look like a seasoned veteran. A few days of practice can make a difference on race day. That’s the dirt for this week, next week we jump into more training tips to help you on race day.