Tough mudder training

Time for tough Mudder training

Given the recent interest in all thing’s obstacle racing by the general public and the abundance of choices promoting these events, what are they all about?  Firstly, you have to like to run. On dirt, mud, gravel, pavement and trot along grassy paddocks. You have to like getting mud everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. If this interest you, grab some friends, form group and incorporate a sound Tough Mudder training program that will prepare you for the challenges ahead. 

So, if you are the type of person that likes to jump of moderate heights into a dam, slide down a makeshift water slide, get mildly electrocuted, trounce over knee deep mud, enjoy and ice bath, swim in cold water and even crawl underground for a few dark metres. Best you sign up. The mud and obstacles are waiting.

On finishing you are welcomed with a complimentary beer which to me was unusual to drink straight after running 20klm. however, not to be too anti-social was grateful to drink anything that did not have mud in it. Quite a treat. 

In addition, your effort is rewarded with a one size fits all orange head band along with a finishers T-shirt. You then look like everybody else around. Filthy, exhausted, jubilant, proud, somewhat energised, ready to tackle the world. Knowing you have smashed this muddy challenge while conquering some fears. Proudly showing off your new kit!

That headband was well earned.

Preparing for an obstacle course

Our preparation began by getting the required physical strength to ensure we would all have a better chance of finishing injury free. Let me put it this way. Lack of preparation will show up on the day. Period.

Like any endeavour this will ring true. The better the preparation the better you will be both mentally and physically ready to run the 20klms, Tackle 18+ obstacles along the way and successfully complete the event injury free. That is the goal.

Our team will be tackling this event for the third time and having been through the initial first scary one we know what lies ahead, what it takes and how to prepare for it better. We have a team of around 7 plus our support crew tagging along for the run.

Previously for the tough Mudder crew in addition to their own particular training requirements. The basic programming over time had been lots of bodyweight movements. The plan was to build up a solid base of general physical conditioning. This now includes more regular running while still covering all the compound lifts (pulls, press, push and squat) utilising both barbells. Plus, kettlebells for variety.

Some suggested exercises

  • Bench press and push ups. These looked after the pushing upper body strength.
  • One arm dumbbell rows and Chin/Pull ups. These assisted with Pulling/Grip strength that is important during an obstacle course.
  • Deadlift, for an overall strength developed complimented by some kettlebell swings was always a regular treat. Strong hips equal a strong engine and impressive grip strength.
  • Any form of squatting along with lunges. These are great for overall leg strength, assist in running and the over exertion the lower limbs get when negotiation yourself over an obstacle.
  • Stretches are an important component. These helped a lot. For example, having to throw a leg over an obstacle and been grabbed by the foot and pulled over is not a great time to test your range. Getting through some challenges successfully depends on having good movement. So, stretch.

Tough Mudder training is also about running

As impressive as the obstacles are on the course the resistance training is only part of it. In my own opining and with a trail running background. I strongly suggest you don’t neglect the running component. 

This is after all an eighteen-kilometre running event. It means that you have to at the very least have enough of a running base to get from one obstacle to another. I mentioned this as once you get to an obstacle; you can take a rest from the running while you are watching and cheering everyone who is attempting to negotiate the challenge presented. Then once recovered, run again to the next one. 

For example, the jumping of the plank is the one that we waited on as participants have to line up and tackle this one from a single file formation. Great time for a rest and to check out obstacle. Other braver participant made it easy work jumping into the dam. For some it was a frightening and daunting experience. Having good all-round conditioning helps.

Another challenge was traversing over the monkey bars over a shallow pool of water. People that lacked the holding strength on this challenge enjoyed a nice early bath. You don’t want to be too fatigues when tackling this one.

Do the work and ensure that both running, and strength bases are not neglected. make sure you have enough conditioning to reach the finish line.

You don’t have to be a regular runner. It helps. Build a good base to at least make it to the next obstacle. Rest, take on the obstacle and move onto the next one.

Improved recovery time

The additional benefit of having a stronger running base is during recovery time. Once you are resting a more conditioned individuals recovery time improves greatly. During the immediate post event days following you are not hobbling around sore. A great reason to become well-conditioned. Do the strength work required and don’t neglect the stretches.

Boxing for fitness training complimented the running. Another great cardio full body workout. Cycling also helped out and kept the legs fresh. Overall, our group was well prepared. And willing to tackle any future challenges. We learned from last time and planned better. The Improvement in the groups running played a big part in successfully completing the course this time around.

Preparation is key for a successful tough Mudder finish

With a basic preparation of running along with a solid strength base anyone should be able to complete the course without much trouble. A properly followed program readies you for the event, allows you to recover quicker and reduces the risk of injuries.

If you are one of many and turn up unprepared with only a bare minimum of preparation, believe me I’ve seen plenty examples out there. You might somehow find a way through and eventually make it. The pain is not too far away.

However, your chances of pulling up better over the next couple days or even worse, get an injury are preventable. If you take the time and follow a plan.

It’s a great event with participate with a group of friends. 

Enjoy the mud.

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