Tough Mudder, it will be fun they said, it’s just a friendly obstacle course. What could go wrong?
The immortal words put to you as you on signing up for the world famous endurance event.
And it is, all is going great….
Before your muscles tighten, your grip weakens, slowly slipping you in a cold muddy pool. Ending in you looking up with bleary eyes at the rest of your team.
Tough Mudder’s 12-mile obstacle courses have been tackled by all manner of different people. It can be a great team bonding challenge to jump into head first but beware, as the old saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail.
There are multiple locations and events each year that consist of roughly a 12-mile course filled with muddy obstacles. The course requires a host of different skills from aerobic endurance to team work. While most enjoy the day out with no concerns of timing you will still need to prepare yourself to complete the course and get some pride out of the day.
It is an endurance event but there is more to it than being able to run 12 miles. In fact, many people do not run the whole course choosing to reserve energy for key obstacles and challenges.
Balance your training out to more than the treadmill, in fact, you may even think about ditching the treadmill for more rounded preparation.
Start slow and map out your weaknesses. If you are already regularly exercising you will probably know what type of fitness you usually focus on. The base of any fitness should be building a decent aerobic endurance so if you run regularly then you should have a good start.
If you usually work out in a gym then it could be a good idea to get outside and challenge your running style. Remember there is a whole wide world out there, the hills, the trees, the lakes can be your gym. Tough Mudder is an off road event so move your training to cross country running. This will help to develop extra nuances of variable running on uneven terrain where you can learn to deal with natural obstacles. You will get comfortable dealing with changing gradients, surfaces and the all important mud.
Swimming is another ideal way to build your fitness. It is one of the best training exercises that will build a decent fitness base along with the added bonus of upper body strengthening. There is a low injury risk in the water with little chance of twisting an ankle in your preparation for the big day.
Long swim stints will train your body to keep pushing all round aerobic and anaerobic performance when you become fatigued. If you can still pull your strokes through when tired it might just stop you jadedly tumbling off an obstacle onto your backside.
You are going to want to think about adding some bodyweight exercises after you have built your fitness base in the swimming pool. Again you don’t have to go and hit the big weights in the gym, instead, you can develop the skills to control and manoeuvre your body effectively. Carrying around a huge muscle bulk around the 12 miles might be a struggle so let’s focus on fine tuning your key areas.
Pull ups could be a simple yet effective way to tune the muscles. This develops the ability to haul your own body weight up up and away. Pulling yourself and teammates over, through or under obstacles will be crucial.
Step Jumps and Squats tuned to your own body weight is another perfect way to train. Taking those strong running legs and integrating some punchy power will help as you leap and bound over obstacles while avoiding the muddy abyss.
Don’t underestimate the humble push-up. Another tool in building your power and endurance of body weight. It could even help pick yourself up again and again when you fall down. Pushups will incorporate major muscle groups, such as your biceps, core muscles, triceps, anterior deltoids and lower body muscle groups are activated to support your body while stabilizing your movements.
Stair climbs are usually the skier’s choice of training, and for good reason take your quads for an endurance workout. Reps on steps… will build the legs strong and powerful while instilling staying power. This training style will raise your heart rate and get your aerobic and anaerobic systems training in unison.
Take the time to prepare your brain for what you are going to face. Study the course layout and look at where you may excel and struggle. If you spot areas and obstacles that could be troublesome, take you time. Don’t be afraid to slow down to a walk in order to give the body some recovery time before going through the pain barrier. Remember slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
If you’re working in a team sit down and discuss strengths and weaknesses, who can help who? Maybe you have a strong man of the team, it might be handy to make sure he/she is in fine fettle to pull others up and over some tricky hurdles.
To find an event head to toughmudder.com