So you’ve either been enrolled or entered yourself into competing in this year’s Tough Mudder and if you’re not sure what’s in store… let us give you an insight… Tough Mudder is no walk in the park, you’re on route to attempt a 10–12-mile-long military-style obstacle race….This means a lot of running and with obstacles such as the “Berlin Walls” the “Boa Constrictor” and “Cliff Hanger” you’re in for a rough ride! But don’t panic! It’s not too late to prepare for your Tough Mudder with these 5 top tips.
1. Get to Grips with Body Weight Exercises
If there’s one single thing you should do to prepare for tough mudder it’s getting to grips with body weight training. Within the 12 mile course you’ll be pulling your own body weight over huge walls and hills as well as carrying yourself across lakes and other tricky obstacles.
Bodyweight exercises, in simple terms, means using your own body weight for resistance, which over time can help to improve your strength and power for completing the course. To get ready for Tough Mudder, practice performing bodyweight movements such as of push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, lunges, and squats at low intensity to start with and then as part of a bodyweight circuit routine. See Read this article on Bodyweight exercises! for how to perform some top bodyweight exercises.
2. Run, Run … RUN!
If you’re physical fitness and endurance is low and you’ve already entered Tough Mudder- you need to up your cardio training if you’ve any chance of completing the 10-12 mile course in good time and form. Tough Mudder requires a lot of running… but not just in a straight line… you’ll be pushing yourself up and down hills, through ice cold water and shoulder deep mud…. So grab your running trainers and start training now! Try running every other day starting at a low mileage- 2- 3 miles and gradually increasing this as you feel fit. On the days where you don’t run, practice intervals and HIIT training to keep your cardio up to scratch.
3. Get Insane with HIIT
We’ve all heard of HIIT (high intensity interval training) and if you’ve tried it- we know it’s not easy! HIIT is a great way to maximise your workout in a short period of time and requires performing intense exercise, sprints and bodyweight training, for a short period of time followed by a less intense recovery period. HIIT can vary from 4 to 30 minutes depending on which form you try e.g. insanity vs tabatta- but either way it’s a great way to increase your fitness and aerobic capacity ready for your Tough Mudder experience.
4. Train Outside
So you’re all ready to run and you’re getting to grips with HIIT and bodyweight training… but if you’re only running on a treadmill and sticking to training in the gym, there’s still going to be some surprises on the day! Within Tough Mudder you’ll not only be hauling yourself through thick mud, you’ll also be experiencing obstacles such as “the Artic Enema” and swimming through ice cold lakes. Try to run as much as you can outside over a varied terrain and in different weather conditions- that way you can get used to different temperatures and conditions for the day.
5. Eat For Fuel
Running 10-12 miles and overcoming challenging obstacles is not going to be easy on your energy levels- so if you want to push yourself through the course you need to make sure you eat for fuel. Consume plenty of complex carbohydrates prior to the event and the day before- this includes foods like oats, pasta, rice and potatoes. Eating these foods will optimise your glycogen stores so your muscles have a slow releasing source of energy. During the race maintain these stores with energy gels and isotonic drinks every 45 minutes.
Whilst on race day nutrition is important, it’s also important to optimise your nutrition during the training stages- make sure you eat good sources of protein~ around 20g in every meal, along with healthy unsaturated fats and complex carbs. To optimise your training and enhance your strength, make sure you eat adequate meals pre and post workout- remember it’s important to fuel your body and aid recovery.