1. Don’t Stress Out
If for some reason you don’t want to, or you just don’t feel comfortable with an obstacle ie: you can’t swim far, or at all.
It’s OK, no one is going to say anything. You are there to compete and have fun! You can run around an obstacle if need be. Just know that to qualify for the World’s Toughest Mudder you should be able to do all of the obstacles.
2. Embrace the Insanity
Pushing yourself to the limit is part of what bonds Tough Mudders together. Every race will have one mystery obstacle that you can’t prepare for by looking at the course map.
You might fall, you may even look look ridiculous and stupid. Enjoy it if you can’t laugh at yourself then you really can’t enjoy the race. Remember after the race, you’ll all grab a beer, and laugh about your misadventures! Even better have someone on your team record the race with a GoPro. You will get great laughs watching everyone trying to do the obstacles.
3. Do Some Fundraising
Everyone that registers for a Tough Mudder race gets a fundraising page for the Wounded Warrior Project. Its a non-profit organization that provides services to injured service members to help them transition between active duty and civilian life. If you are able to raise more than $150, you’ll get a $25 discount on your registration fee.
4. Get a Good Pair of Shoes
This is probably your most important decision, without a good pair of shoes you will be miserable!
5. Train While Getting Wet
It might be cold and conditions miserable. Don’t let the day of the event be the first time you face the mind-numbing shock of jumping into cold water! You should train out in the elements as much as possible. That includes training outside on cold mornings and in the rain, assuming live in a cold weather climate.
If you live in FL this will be a disadvantage for you. If training in cold weather is not an option, start your workout by dumping a bucket of cold water over your head!
6. Train Outside as Much as Possible
A Tough Mudder race requires upper body strength to climb over walls, slither in the mud under barbed wire or carry a log. Build muscle memory by imitating these movements outdoors with plyometric exercises and doing pull ups.
Don’t just work out at the air-conditioned or heated gym and do bench presses and pullups. Try to mimic obstacles. Go to a local playground and climb around on the monkey bars. Get out and run up a hill, or climb a tree, you must do unconventional exercises.
7. Join With a Team
Get yourself a group of like-minded friends. People who will laugh when they fall, and get right back up and try again. Get your team together as early as possible so that you can help each other through workouts. The typical team size is 5 to 10 people. Here are some ideas for team names.
If you don’t know enough people to form a team, or you’re alone, you’ll end up joining a team at the race. People who never met before the race have made lifelong friends from having competed in a Tough Mudder together.
8. Wear a Good Pair of Gloves
Get a good pair of gloves with open tips or just cut the tips off them so the water will drain out of them. Gloves will greatly help you grab onto things when you’re wet and doing the obstacles, they will protect your hands and improve your grip on obstacles like monkey bars or rope climbs.
If you are lacking cardio fitness, you are going to struggle. There is no way around it. However, there is no rule against walking. If you want to finish strong, your going to have to incorporate running in your workouts. The events will have from 10 to 12 miles of running up and down mountains, across fields of mud, and over obstacles. I personally love using a rowing machine for my cardio workouts.
This is not straight line running. Tough Mudder says you should be able to run or jog five miles. The first half of your 12 plus weeks of training should focus in on your cardio. I personally feel the P90X program is ideal for this.
10. DO NOT WEAR COTTON
You’re gonna get wet, you will be in the water at some point and it’s probably going to be cold. Stay away from cotton, which will soak up the water and mud. Its going to drag you down and keep you chilled. Look or materials that wick away moisture, like Dri-FIT or COOLMAX, and fit tightly to your body to reduce chafing and rubbing.
There is no dress code and costumes are encouraged. So if your crazy enough to go shirtless go for it! Remember to bring a change of clothes so you can warm up and enjoy the post-event party.
Remember cardio fitness is important but also critical is upper body strength. There is no better way to prepare than doing pull ups and lifting weights. I prefer using the Nordic adjustable dumbbells.
If you are really serious about doing a Tough Mudder, or any other type of “Mud Run” the training program I recommend is the P90X. It has gotten me into the best shape of my life. The program was created by fitness expert Tony Horton, frequent author for Men’s Health.
It is designed to get you into peak fitness in a short period of time using “Interval Workouts”, which have been proven the most effective way to lose weight and get into phenomenal shape. Its a complete program of workouts and how to eat for the most effective results and have you scaling the “Berlin Wall“, running the “Mude Mile” and crossing the “Funky Money“.
If you follow this training plan you should be ready for the Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or Warrior Dash!