Ever considered competing in an obstacle course race like the Tough Mudder? If you’ve only ever been done weight training or been a cardio junkie on a treadmill at the gym, then you will definitely be breaking out of your comfort zone for this! But boy, is it worth it! The rush you feel when the race is completed is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before!
We caught up with some Tough Mudder experts to find out what it takes to do a race like this. Following are answers provided by Tough Mudder HQ Senior Director of Product, Nolan Kombol; Tough Mudder HQ Senior Product Manager, Eli Hutchinson; and Amelia Boone, 3-time World’s Toughest Mudder Champion.
MS&F: What is your advice to beginners with little to no running experience who want to try something big like the Tough Mudder or the World’s Toughest Mudder?
AB: The number one piece of advice would be to start with a friend or a training buddy. Tackling your first Tough Mudder is way more fun with a crew, and it doesn’t have to be competitive at all. Teamwork is key. Also, there are a lot of people who think that since they don’t run much, Tough Mudder isn’t for them. But the great thing about their events is that the running is broken up by obstacles. It doesn’t really feel like running, and you can take the course at your own speed. Walk the entire course if you want, just give it your best. Before I’d run a Tough Mudder, the further I’d ever run had been 10 miles or so. Again, walking is totally acceptable.
MS&F: What are three things someone needs to ask themselves if they are considering a race like this?
NK & EH: Before signing up, ask yourself the following questions: 1. Am I committed to train for this? 2. What are my goals and can I accept it if I don’t reach those goals? 3. Do I have the right support and am I willing to support other Mudders?
MS&F: How does one even begin training for something like this?
AB: The beauty of Tough Mudder events is that there is no one specific way to train; everyone can find a mix that works for them. Generally, I find a mix of running, high-intensity interval training, and bodyweight strength training works for me. You don’t need to lift heavy weights or have a ton of equipment, but you do need to be able to control your own bodyweight to be able to tackle some of Tough Mudder’s obstacles, like hoisting over walls or navigating monkey bars. Grip strength and relative strength is key. Tough Mudder actually puts out great training videos (that are also hilarious), so that’s a good starting point for people looking for workout ideas.
MS&F: As an obstacle racer, what do you hear from other competitors and what do you experience yourself after completing this type of race?
AB: Community is king in Tough Mudder; it’s about having other participants out there helping others, cheering others on, and building each other up. It’s such a special atmosphere, and one that keeps us all coming back.
NK & EH: There’s a saying from our community that if people acted how they do in Tough Mudder in their everyday lives, the world would be a better place. That’s what makes Tough Mudder great. It’s more than just an event, it’s a lifestyle and value system in which our community (more than 2.5 million people globally) live shared values like personal accomplishment and teamwork.
MS&F: What is the toughest part about Tough Mudder?
NK & EH: The ‘toughness’ factor is often different for everyone. If you have a fear of heights, for example, then The Cliff or Giant Wedgie obstacles will be the most daunting. If it’s a upper-body strength that trips you up, Funky Monkey – The Revolution or Stage Five Clinger will no doubt be hard. People have different experiences at our events but are unified by the ability to come together and be a part of something truly life-changing; they’ll love or hate different obstacles for different reasons, and that’s awesome.
Keep reading for more about competing in a Tough Mudder!