Preparing, surviving, and recovering from a Tough Mudder are all elements that shock you each time you attempt the event. No amount of gym training, trail running, or long haul cardio-ing can really prepare you for hurling yourself head-first into pits of mud, and scaling sheer vertical walls.
To get ready for a Mudder, you’ll need to level-up your aerobic endurance, grip strength and a mental fortitude. A sound cardio base will get you through the bulk of the course, with decent runs between obstacles, but scaling walls, pulling your teammates out of pools of mud, and swinging 10 feet in the air will require a solid grip and superior forearm strength. Farmers carries, ring rows, and towel-grip chin-ups were my go-to forearm exercises, with compulsory dead hangs rounding out most of my training sessions.
Getting low and working on my primal movements, such as bear crawls, would have been a great addition to training in hindsight. You’d be shocked at how often you’re required to be face down, crawling under barbed-wire.
I won’t lie; my nutrition leading into the race was shocking. With limited time to prepare pre-race thanks to poor time management, I went into Tough Mudder on a stomach full of latte and servo protein bars. Not advised or recommended at all.
Instead, learn from my mistakes, and be prepared. Wake up with enough time to fuel your body with low-GI carbohydrates, that will release energy slowly but effectively over the duration of the event.
My go-to’s are usually rice or sweet potato… yes even in the morning!
Conquering a Tough Mudder successfully also comes down to building an unbeatable team. The lads brought their own specialized skill set to the event. Peter is a rugby 7’s alum, bringing strength and a captain’s knowledge of motivation. Chris is an acclaimed mountain bike racer, familiar with the lush terrain of a Tough Mudder landscape, and brought the fitness level required of endurance performance. And Winson, the owner-operator of a calisthenics studio, has the physical strength and mental sharpening required to strategically decimate any obstacle in our way.
You can only be as strong as your weakest link in a challenge like Tough Mudder, and I was lucky (or smart) enough to secure some unbelievable strong links.
In past Tough Mudders, I’d opted for an ill fitting pair of shoes, some old rags I was happy enough to throw away after the race, and would bring along a change of clothes for the car ride home. And although I largely took this approach this year, I couldn’t part ways with my trusty runners. They just fit so well. Luckily Biozet Attack had activated a ‘human carwash’ sampling experience to solve all of our laundry woes. Knowing now that I have this option to save my kit, I’d suggest lightweight compression gear to not only stay warm following the water obstacles, but to guard your skin from rock-given abrasions.
With the race under our belts, and any evidence of the muddy experience reduced to the scratches down our legs, it was straight home to a post race shower, nap and feed – all essential and well-deserved elements of any Tough Mudder experience.