So you’re thinking about doing a Tough Mudder but you really want to know what it entails and how much training you need. Maybe you registered for the 11-13 mile mud obstacle race but you really don’t know how to prepare yourself to optimal conditioning.
In this article, I will take you into my personal experience with tough mudder and what helped me finish with max results. But before I do that, I want to show you proof of me finishing the tough mudder race in Big Bear. Or you can see the video to the right of my blog and see our whole race broken down to a few minutes of video. So here is the picture of me and my brother’s after finishing the TM in SoCal 2012.
Mental Preparation | Tough Mudder Training
Not everyone will pay $100-$200 to put themselves through a bit of physical torture. So because you have, or are planning on it, you are part of a small group that has a will to survive through physical toughness.
It starts with you mind. Knowing you are going to have to run with muddy shoes, crawl under barbed wire, swim through freezing hell of arctic cold waters, jump off planks, carry logs on your shoulders for a great distance and hills, and much more, you must know that your mind will be clear to want to battle your body through inconvenient situations.
Now that you’re willing to take the risk. It’s time to dive in.
You are going to have to use every muscle in your body to complete Tough Mudder. It’s not like a marathon, where all you do move the same way for 26 miles. Yes, it takes mental toughness and incredible endurance to complete a marathon, but with Tough Mudder, it also takes guts, strength in all capacities, and the ability to stand getting a little beat up in the process.
You will get scratched, maybe even cut. You will get shocked with up to 10,000 volts of electricity before you cross the finish line. You must be able to move on beyond these things that keep some people from doing a race like this.
Climbing the Berlin Walls will take leg power, balance, and strength to do a pull up to get yourself over the top and over to the other side to keep going. Yes, Tough Mudder is a team event, so people will be helping you or if you have a team, you must help each other get through. This may mean carrying people up to reach the top of the wall so they can pull themselves up.
Depending on where your event takes place, you will need to be able to constantly run uphill and steep downhill slopes even when your quads are yelling for mercy. When I did the Tough Mudder Big Bear location in California, there was never a flat surface. It was always an uphill/downhill battle. Be prepared to run through various terrains on an ongoing basis.
So are you mentally still in? Let’s move on.
Physical Preparation | Tough Mudder Training
If you don’t know that you need physical tough mudder training, this may not be the thing for you. To be ready for TM, you will need to train yourself to crawl, jump, swim, run up mountains, carry a 10-20lb sandbag for about a mile, hurdle over haystacks in the mud, and even do the worm.
Yes, doing “the worm” helped me in crawling through the small black tunnels in the ground. You must be prepared for the worst. In my case, my hips started to cramp when I got to the underground tunnels. So instead of crawling the basic way of moving each side of my knees to inch forward, I did the worm so my hips didn’t have to do the work while it cramped. This save me! It also made it quicker to get out of the tunnel. Thanks for the worm technique
Crawling will need to be performed when going under the barbed wire obstacle. You can use your elbows to crawl through, but remember that you are crawling on rocks at times so being on your elbows may not be the best way at times. I use my hands. How? I positioned myself as if I was on the low-end of doing a push up. From there, I just crawled with nothing touching but my hands and feet in a low plank position going forward. Harder? Yes, but better than rocks digging into your elbows and forearms.
When climbing the berlin walls, make sure when you grab a hold of the top and pull yourself up, you use your back muscles as well. It will make it fairly difficult to pull yourself up with just your arm strength. I suggest training pull ups leading up to the race. This will help in conquering the obstacle and not pulling a muscle that is not used to performing in this manner.
Lastly, the most important muscles I think you need to make sure is primed for TM, is your legs. Legs, Legs, Legs. You will use your legs so much and if you are not ready, you will cramp up, or even be forced to pull out of the race. If you pull out, you don’t earn your headband and t-shirt at the end. Bummer.
Leg exercises such as squats, lunges, Bulgarian lunges, jump roping, calf raises, and more are very helpful.
Tough Mudder Training Is Serious
Make sure to carb up the day before you race. This is very important for energy. You will also want to eat calcium, and some salt to help your muscles from cramping during the race.
Don’t take the weeks leading up to Tough Mudder lightly. When you arrive, you will feel yourself is ready or not. Better to arrive confidently than not. You don’t want to have to worry about your conditioning when you get there. It will make it much more fun to go out there knowing you are ready.
So if you want to know how I actually trained for tough mudder. I will let you in on a little secret. You can do all these exercises like jump knee tucks, squats, crawls, pull ups, and more. The truth is, not all people know exactly how to train these exercises. How you exercise is a huge advantage in preparing yourself for Tough Mudder.
You can push and pull all you want but if you don’t want to leave anything out and you want to increase your endurance at the same time, I recommend you get the Insanity Workout by Beachbody. If you’ve already gotten and done the Insanity workout and want a change, then move ahead to Insanity: The Asylum.
Insanity and Asylum will get all the moves in for you in the right intervals to get you primed for success with TM. Insanity is a full 60 Days, and Asylum is 30 days. Perfect time-table to train and get all your muscles working in the right way.
Is this the only way to train? Of course not, but it is the most effective way for me. With Insanity, you need not fear. You will be primed for Tough Mudder training success.
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