PageLines- features_ToughMudder.jpgThanks for the photo Tough Mudder!

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I’ve run 5 Tough Mudders and have 5 more scheduled this year. To say I’m Mudder obsessed may be an understatement.  Many have asked about training and such, so I decided to do a Tough Mudder brain dump. Here are a few thoughts on training and prep if you are considering one.

Overall Training

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This is the No. 1 question I’ve gotten about Tough Mudders since I started running them last year and it’s a hard one for me to answer.

For my first Mudder I had no idea what to expect. My training consisted of BodyPump (weight training) 2 days a week, 2-3 short runs (< 3 miles), 1 long run (~5 miles), and what I’ll call dynamic training. Click here to see some sample workout videos. 

I was prepared and able to complete the course with help on many of the obstacles.

Four other Tough Mudders later, I train differently and have made tons of progress needing less help on the course than I did that first event.

Now I take CrossFit 4-5 times a week and try to get at least 1 longer run in ranging from 3-6 miles. I’ve also added yoga once a week but it’s hard to be consistent with it.

My suggestion for training is to find something you like to do for overall strength. You will be doing a lot of climbing, jumping and crawling, so something a bit more dynamic than just lifting weights would help immensely. Think boot camp or CrossFit.

In addition to the strength training, start running. All Tough Mudder courses are 10-12 miles so if you’ve ever run a half you’ll be fine on the distance part. If you haven’t have no fear, you never run more than a mile or 2 without an obstacle break. Because of this I actually find the Mudders less grueling than a half. I would minimally work up to at least 5-6 miles in your training routine.

You may also want to train for running and strength together. For example, run a mile and then do a series of push-ups, squats, lunges and sit-ups before running another mile. This will get you used to the run-obstacle-run-obstacle sequence of the event.

There are 2 obstacles that make Tough Mudders really stand out:

The Arctic Enema

Tough Mudder Arctic Enema

You can’t train for this. You just have to bite the bullet and jump into the icy water. Sure, you can fill your tub with ice and practice, but it’s still going to suck on event day. I’d rather only do it when necessary. I’ve jumped into ice water exactly 5 times, which happens to be the number of Mudders I completed in. No additional ice jumps for me, thank you very much!

Electroshock Therapy

Tough Mudder Electric Eel

Getting shocked is another thing you can’t really prepare for and is, quite frankly, my least favorite part of the event. My goal is to literally not curse my way through any obstacle with electricity.

I have not yet succeeded.

What to Wear

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Props to those who complete these things in costumes. I honestly don’t know how they do it. I’ve wore the same pair of New Balance running capris — which unfortunately they don’t make anymore — paired with a tight fitted tank that has a built-in bra, and an additional black sports bra.

The key is to wear tight, form-fitting pieces that dry quickly. Once I made the mistake of wearing a cotton tank to a mud run. By the end of the event it was hanging down to my knees.

As for shoes, I’ve always worn an old pair of running shoes, which have survived. I just threw them in the washer with my muddy clothes and they washed right up.

Speaking of, my friend Jimmy, who has run 9 Tough Mudders, finally retired his shoes after our double header.

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That’s right, he has worn the same shoes for 9 Tough Mudders. So I wouldn’t worry about them too much. If you don’t want to deal with the muddy sneaks after the event, you can donate them on site at the Mudder.

Atmosphere

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Be prepared to meet some really cool folks. the Tough Mudder community is, for the most part, warm and welcoming. Almost everyone from staff to volunteers to fellow participants has been super nice. There’s very much a feeling of camaraderie and team work. Everyone there is ready to have a good time.

What to Bring

For as many people who participate, Tough Mudders have some of the best organized bag-check areas. Everything is separated by bib number, and I don’t think I’ve ever had to wait more than 5 minutes to drop off or pick up my bag.

Because of that, I don’t fear bringing things with me. I always pack a bag with a towel, change of clothes, and flip flops. You’ll also need some cash, your ID, and phone/camera.

Side note: I just found out there’s a Tough Mudder Lost and Found. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the GoPro!

Post Event

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Be prepared to feel like a million bucks when you cross that finish line. They “crown” you with a Tough Mudder head band and you won’t care how cold, muddy or crazy you look. You will wear it proud, as you should.

When you get home, take off your clothes IN the shower unless you want to sweep up rocks and dirt from the bathroom floor. The marker they use to write your number on your head is easily removed with a wash cloth and soap. The bruises may take a bit longer to heal.

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Looks WAY worse than it is. I promise! And remember that was after 2 Mudders!

Overall, my best piece of advice is to HAVE FUN with it. The training, the experience, the mud, the ice bath, even the electric shocks. The point is to challenge and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I’ve seen folks bail on an obstacle because the lines were too long or they didn’t want to get wet.

Really?

You’re running A TOUGH MUDDER for pete’s sake. What’s the point of paying to register if you aren’t going to give it 100 percent.

I won’t lie, I’ve considered skipping an obstacle and then I think, “Why? THIS is why I’m here. I want to see if I can do it. If I fail at least I know I tried.”

Here are a few links to posts and recap videos of the Mudders I’ve run. Let me know if you any any other questions in the comments.

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  • http://www.stellarpath.net/ Jeremy Logsdon

    Not that you hadn’t already inspired me, but I’m definitely putting a Tough Mudder on my fitness bucket list!

  • Cortney

    I have done several other mud runs and I love them (just did the Superhero Scramble this weekend). The only thing that has held me back from the Tough Mudder is the electric shocks. I am perfectly healthy but due to family hx my Dr. advises against it. Can you choose to do burpees and just skip that one. I really want to do one and hate to keep skipping them when they come to town.

    • RoniNoone

      Yes you can! There are no Tough Mudder Police. I’ve seen lots of people walk around the electricity ones, especially the dark lightning one in SoCal. I was close to it myself. It scared me out of my mind!

  • Tina

    Oh those bruises!! Roni, you are AMAZING and POWERFUL!

  • http://twitter.com/rosso Sara Rosso

    Maybe someday :) They look like a ton of fun, and I think something you prob didn’t mention is it’s something you’ll want to do with 1-2 other people, like a mini-team!

    • RoniNoone

      Good point! Although, going solo is possible as there’s help on the course if you need it. So I wouldn’t let not having a team stop you.

  • ItsMeVsMe

    What about kneepads, elbow protection and gloves??

    • RoniNoone

      Ahh yes! Gloves! Totally forgot. I do where cheapo work gloves from Lowes. I’d not go with elbow and knee pads, to much overhead. The gloves I either keep on or stuff on the side of my pants.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jody-R-Goldenfield/100000069514057 Jody R. Goldenfield

    You are an animal! NOPE none of that for me! :)

  • Adam

    Oh wow! This Mudder experience must be a lot of fun! Hey despite the bruises and wounds, the best part here is having fun and meeting nice people around. Nice blog by the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/katie.klaus.3 Katie Klaus

    Hey Roni! Thanks for the info. My hubby and I are doing our first in Wisconsin on September 7th. I currently weigh 250, he weighs 230. We are looking forward to the next 122 days of eating right and training and losing weight and then tackling the Tough Mudder with all we got!

    • RoniNoone

      Have fun with it!!

    • Chris

      I will see you there! I’m doing my first one on the 7th (assuming you’re speaking of the Oshkosh one). I’ll be on a small team with my brother in law, friends of his, and a friend from high school. Excited and nervous at the same time!

  • Brandi

    Hey Roni! I love this post!! My husband and I are running a Tough Mudder in October! We are excited, but, a little nervous, of course! I was going to see if you have checked out the website 6pm.com for your new balance capris? I just ordered some for my birthday and they are AMAZING and it cheaper than buying them in the store! I think I paid like $20 for mine. They are by far the BEST running capris that I have!
    I love all of your posts!

  • http://twitter.com/ConniePeters1 Connie Peters

    This post really stuck with me – last year I did the C25K training and ran most of a 5k (slow run) I have done multiple 5k’s over the last 3 years but always walking. Last fall I moved and live right across the street from Stony Creek metropark (which has trails) and the Macomb Orchard Trail. The reason I moved here was because of the trails, I moved in Sept and have walked them maybe 10 times. So this past week, I signed up for a half training program (they also had 5 and 10k programs) – I figured go big or go home. It starts June 6 and the half is 9/29. I’m 49 but figured might as well go for it! Thank you for the motivation – it gave me the nudge I needed!!!!

    • RoniNoone

      You got this! Have fun with it!

  • terry gordon

    im so glad i found this page to read, i havent been big into fitness and a loss of my brother im doing this for charity, im struggling with the training , but im now running up to 6km an evening , upper body strength is still a long way off and i have tough mudder in two days time , im glad i have read this , i now know what ive really got myself in for

  • Bob

    Will I need to bring water or food for the run?

    • RoniNoone

      Nope, they have water stops and many of them have snacks like bananas and bars.

  • Kimberly Evangelista Weber

    Thank you so much for this. It encourages me to try this. I’ve done half marathons and work out consistently. What pushes me to do this is that someone told me they didn’t think I could do this, and I want to prove them wrong! I think it’s because I’m petite. :T Thanks for the encouragement! #MindoverMudder :)

  • becks

    I’ve been on the fence about signing up for the NorCal one this April, and reading this was totally what I needed to pump me up and say “f*ck yeah, do this!” Thanks :)

    • RoniNoone

      DO IT!!

  • Lucy Butler

    Thanks Roni!
    Running my first Mudder this weekend at Black Diamond, WA. just a little scared!!! But excited too.

    • RoniNoone

      HAVE FUN!!!

  • Courtney J

    Im doing my first tough mudder in May!!! I have ran a few 5k’s and working on my running (although I really need to get out side!!!) I have been doing a mile, strength, mile, strength….every other day and mile warm up + 30min cross fit style work out other days….do you think this will be enough? I want to be able to keep up with my team mates and not have then drag me across the finish line…

    • RoniNoone

      That sounds like a great start! I’d also make sure you can run about 5 miles easily. Maybe add a long run here and there.

  • Javier Lozano Jr

    Thanks for the tips to get prepared for a tough mudder. I’ve been thinking about trying one, as I’ve become a huge fan of mud runs and obstacle course races. It keeps me “occupied” the entire time as opposed to running on a straight road. I’m gonna try some of these tips and see if I’m ready for the Colorado Tough Mudder in the summer…

  • R McD

    Roni, I too am now addicted. I did 3 TM last year and plan on 4 this year plus 4 Warrior Dash’s just cause. I don’t know if I am addicted to the mud or the t-shirts! Actually, I know it is the atmosphere and the people. Thanks for the article, I am always looking for what to wear ideas. I plan to wear a Locoste polo shirt for my first Mudder of this year but only for rebellious reasons. When I was a kid my “rich” friends wore them and we couldn’t afford them. So when I got older, I could afford one and bought one. After doing Tough Mudders, my mind-set has changed and I am way less materialistic. I want to wear it and abuse the crap out of then donate it and never look back. Anyway, thanks for the article.

  • Bdubb

    Thanks for the article. Really loved the info as I will be running my first TM in June of this year. One question though. Everything I read says to bring cash but nobody says why!??! What do I need the cash for??

    • RoniNoone

      They have food and tough mudder products and not all the vendors take credit. :)

  • Emily Young

    http://emilymae3101.wexel.co.uk iv written a small post on the uk event :)

  • Dess

    I have to admit I was pretty freaked out about running a Tough Mudder. Mostly 10 -12 miles and the damn shock therapy! I’ve seen the youtube vids of guys passing out! … UGH… not looking forward to that. But I’ve decided i’m gonna go for it… why the hell not! besides… i’m freakin AWESOME at swearing! lol

    • RoniNoone

      I am too! You’ll fit right in. ;)

  • Andrew Verescak

    This is great stuff – I will be sure to follow your blog as I start my training for this summer’s TM in Toronto.

  • Spittballz

    I liked reading your view of the Tough Mudder. I’m about to enter my first one and anxious and excited.

  • Ben Mullins

    I’m running my first Mudder on Mount Snow next week! I thought I was fully prepared, but then, with every event, I second guess everything! I’m just pumped to experience it! I hear the atmosphere is electric, the spectators are great and the competitors act as your team! I live in Maine and it’s actually coming here in August! Already signed up for that one also! Thanks for the great post!

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