Thinking of attempting tough mudder? Then I have a question for you.
Do you want to just get through it or do you want to really go at it?
If your mind is set on really having a go at this endurance course and experience the tough mudder challenge, then here are my best tips for training for the toughest event on the planet!
Tip 1 – Don’t just run
Tough mudder is designed to test everything you have, your strength, fitness, stamina and the strength of your will.
When people sign up for the race the first thing they start to focus on is the running. Yes, running is a huge component of the course, but you’re not just running on the flat: there are some steep hills and some very uneven surfaces to traverse.
Tip 2 – Do a lot of hill sprints
Running sprits up hilly terrain will help build lactic acid in your quads; this is good for stamina and endurance. Backwards sled drags work well too because the impact all goes on the quads. And you want to burn the hell out of your quads – you can rest after the obstacle course; running up hills is going to help you achieve this.
Next, make sure you develop ankle stability. You’re intrigued, right? Do some single leg balance work on a bosu or stability disc, which will get your ankles accustomed to having to stabilise in multiple directions.
Remember: throughout the tough mudder course you’re going to be running on mud (that’s why it’s called ‘mudder’) and you can go in any direction – you might even end up on your bum if you’ve not trained for stability. So, train your ankle stability and don’t end up like other people who end up with a sprained ankle at the end.
Tip 3 – Get good at pull ups
You thought it was all running? Well, it isn’t. A lot of the obstacles require decent upper body strength in terms of pulling yourself, including the funky monkey or hang tough, so you’re going to want to build some strength up top.
Tip 4 – Strengthen your grip
So many people don’t complete the course as they want because their grip fails them: the fall rate for funky monkey is 95% – a staggering amount. This is due to people slipping off the handles or not having good hand placement, but in the end it all comes down to grip strength.
How do you build grip strength? Work on your forearm flexors; these are crucial to keeping your grip strong.
Tip 5 – You need flexibility
Some of the obstacles require that you to get very low to crawl and navigate around bends while staying fairly low. This means that if you’re not bendy then it’s going to be challenging – so, get some stretching done!
Tip 6 – Get good at swimming in cold water
Several obstacles offer a relaxing frightfully cold swim through really cold water. This can take your breath away quickly, leaving you hypoxic (lacking in oxygen) and hypothermic (lacking in body heat). The more used to this you are the better. The reason for this is that the shock of entering cold water is what does you in. But, if your prepared for it then it won’t be as bad and won’t affect you so much.
Tip 7 – Mix up your training
Your body will adapt quickly to whatever you expose it to, which means you need to vary your work and rest periods. This means interval training is much, but not just through cardio sessions. You should adapt resistance sessions and attending one of the MPT bootcamp style sessions is hugely recommended. (If you’re not in the area then going to a bootcamp style fitness class in your area one to two times a week will help you.)
Tip 8 – Get used to the weight of mud
The mile of mud in tough mudder means that you need to train for it. The best way is to get used to wearing heavy ankle weights. Your hip flexors (muscles at the top of the thigh) are the most tested and you might also lose a trainer if your laces are not fastened properly. So, you should practice doing step ups with the ankle weights are you should be fine.
Tip 9 – Watch out for the obstacles
There’s really no way to train for the electro-shock obstacles, unless you like the idea of nipping down to your local A&E department to use the defibrillator. You’re just going to want to get through it as quick as you can.