Tough Mudder Top Tips
Tough Mudder is a 10 mile mud and obstacle course designed to drag you out of your comfort zone by testing your physical strength, stamina, and mental grit. With no podiums, winners, or clocks to race against, it’s not about how fast you can cross the finish line. Rather, it’s a challenge that emphasises teamwork, camaraderie, and accomplishing something almost as tough as you are.
Alexandra McClelland, Club Supervisor at Absolutely Fitness shares her top tips for preparing to take part in Tough Mudder.
Choosing to tackle an obstacle course whilst getting very muddy is a very popular weekend activity these days. I’m sure you will have heard of Tough Mudder, The Wolf Run, The Spartan Race, the list is endless and I’ve no doubt photos of muddy friends are creeping into your social media feeds every now and then.
I have recently completed Tough Mudder, it was great fun and I would recommend it to anyone. So I thought I would share my top tips with you if you’re thinking about signing up or have already signed up to do one this year.
1) Start training as soon as you know you’ve decided you’re taking part
I would advise allowing at least 8 weeks to get prepped but if you can start earlier, then do. Tough Mudder have some free downloadable 3-month training guides which are guaranteed to get you course-ready no matter where you are in your journey. Bring them into the gym or just come in and ask a trainer and we’ll help you however we can. My favourite style of training is currently resistance training and having three powerlifting racks at Absolutely Fitness is ideal because you don’t have to stand around waiting!
2) Boost your cardio
In the Tough Mudder, you need to be able to run at least 5k pretty well. I’m not really a fan of cardio so I didn’t give it much of a focus during my training – something I massively regretted.
3) Train 3-4 times a week
Mix it up each time and if you’re doing a HIIT session then I would train for half an hour to 45 minutes but if you’re going out for a run then I would advise you run for however long it takes you to complete 5K.
4) Focus on bodyweight exercises rather than using weights
You’ll need to be able to lift your own body weight so get working on your pull-ups, chin-ups, press ups and squats. During Tough Mudder, you’ll have to do monkey bars as well as other obstacles. Lifting weights for specific movements won’t really help because you don’t want to put on excess muscle mass before an event like this. Stick to body weight exercises, focus on pull-ups, monkey bars, and press ups, to get your upper body working.
5) HIIT training is the best
High-intensity interval training, where you give one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods is the best way to train. During Tough Mudder, you’re constantly on the go so this is one way to make sure you’ll be able to keep going.
6) Legs Legs Legs!
The full Tough Mudder Course is 12 miles long and you’ve got to keep running throughout that. I have no tips on this, just expect your legs to be shattered and you won’t be disappointed. At Absolutely Leisure the functional training area is great for Tough Mudder or any kind of obstacle event prep. The open space with the different pieces of equipment allow you to get a varied workout.
7) The Electro Shock Therapy – bolt straight through it!
One of the obstacles you will have to tackle is the electro shock therapy. I would recommend you get it over and done with as fast as possible, don’t stick around. It is ok to skip any obstacle you’re not comfortable with.
8) Make sure you’re getting a good calorie balance
During your training, don’t worry so much about what food you’re eating as long as you’re hitting your calorie intake required to maintain your weight. If you’re looking to lose a little bit of weight then I would go into a calorie deficit of 5-10% and gradually bring your weight down. Take a look at this TDEE calculator if you’re unsure how many calories you should be having.
9) Get your energy levels up
Load up on the carbs the day before the event if you want to make sure you’ve got enough energy. Then on the morning of the course I would recommend something like porridge for breakfast, then afterwards, just eat what you want to get your energy back.
10) Drink plenty of water!
Whilst you’re training I’d make sure you drink two to three litres of water a day. Then drink about two litres before the actual event and top up afterwards. There are water stations around the course, but be careful not to drink too much as you’re going around to avoid a stitch.
I did Tough Mudder with some friends and it was so much fun working as a team. Although it was tough, I’ve already signed up to Spartan Race so it didn’t put me off, I’m eager for more.
If you’ve never done any sort of training before then Tough Mudder Half would be a really good place to start but even for the full one, anyone can do it, they don’t time you, you can go at your own pace and team spirit is emphasised massively.
Finally, wear anything you’re comfortable running in for a couple of hours and anything you don’t mind getting really muddy. Whatever the weather, you will get wet and you will get muddy.
If you would like to speak to us about training, please contact: Alexandra McClelland, Club Supervisor | Absolutely Fitness Bracknell on 01344 203277