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Tough Mudder is a 21km obstacle course which will test your physical and mental strength and stamina. The course was designed by the British Armed Forces and with up to 35 obstacles. Tough Mudder tests your strength and your thermoregulatory system. Obstacles may vary from year to year but possible obstacles include Artic Enema in which you walk through a container of ice filled water, to Everest; a quarter pipe which requires a lot of team work to get up. This year it takes place on July 8th and 9th at Loughcrew Adventure Centre in Oldcastle, County Meath. Tough Mudder is much more about teamwork and camaraderie than competing to get the fastest time. That being said, to enjoy the event and avoid injury it is important to train for the event. You should get your body in top condition.
When training, it is important to try and mimic the Tough Mudder conditions as much as is possible.
It is advised that you must be able to comfortably run 10-12km continuously. To train for Tough Mudder it is best to try a Fartlek style of training. This entails e.g. running for 2km at 5min/km pace, following by a recovery period where you might run 6.30min/km pace. Sprint training where you recover by jogging rather than completely stopping is also recommended. This helps your body recover more efficiently from sprinting/hill running, while having to continue to move. It also teaches you how to sprint when tired and not fully recovered from your last obstacle. The running terrain of Tough Mudder will also vary from running uphill, running on grass and over uneven muddy ground. Trying to do at least one off road, cross country run a week will help prepare your feet and ankles for running on this surface and improve overall balance and proprioception.
Doing body weight exercises rather than doing free weights or using machines at the gym is the most effective. Its a way to improve upper body strength in a way that will simulate the obstacles. The Tough Mudder course blends lots of stopping and starting while performing strength movements such as climbing over a high wall or commando crawling across mud while fatigued and out of breath.
Therefore, performing body weight exercises such as dynamic squats, burpees, lunges, doing push-ups, tricep dips and pull ups, and only giving yourself a 10-15 second break in between each exercise is the best way to mimic Tough Mudder conditions. Tough Mudder requires functional strength to lift yourself over walls, carry a log, or slither under barbed wire. Whatever type of training or circuit you do, intensity is key. You must push your body during each workout to overload it and therefore cause it to adapt.
Whatever you do on the day, make sure you enjoy it and remember that the main goal of the course is to work together and get through it as a team. Even if you cannot do all obstacles yourself, there is a huge teamwork element to the day with lots of participants eager to help you through the tougher sections. If you are too tired or do not want to complete a certain obstacle there is no shame in skipping it and running onto the next.
What you are wearing on the day is an important factor to consider, as it may influence how you feel and cause unnecessary discomfort. Avoid wearing cotton as you are likely to get very wet and cold as you jump in and out of muddy cold water. Cotton will soak up water dragging you down and keeping you chilled. Opt for clothes that are Dri Fit as these will wick away moisture and prevent chaffing. Wearing fingerless gloves such as cycling gloves will also help when trying to grip onto objects with wet hands and protect your hands from cuts and grazes.
If you do happen to sustain an injury or are nursing an injury in the run up to Tough Mudder, contact us here. Our physiotherapists will help get you back on your feet and training again.