0 to hero - need help to run a 12+ mile fire/ice-water/barb-wire/mud obstacle course in only 39 days!
August 20, 2012 6:08 PM   Subscribe

0 to hero - need help to run a 12+ mile fire/ice-water/barb-wire/mud obstacle course in only 39 days!

I am running a Tough Mudder race in just under 40 days. Help me be a competitor!

I'm in reasonably good shape (6' male @ 160lbs) but I haven't been running in over a year.

I live in the heart of San Francisco, so any training/run recommendations specific to that area would be awesome.

I'm looking for advice on specific exercises to train on, specific gyms or crossfit classes to join, or specific tips on what to do on the race day that I might not think of before-hand.

Also any tips on connecting with other people who are training for this sort of thing would be greatly appreciated!
posted by farmersckn to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Believe it or not, LinkedIn seems to be a pretty good way to find fellow Mudders.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:10 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

From Outside: "Yes, You Can Run A Tough Mudder." Includes training tips.

My neighbor recently completed a TM. MeMail me if you want his take on it.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:14 PM on August 20, 2012

Just don't hurt yourself the week before the race. It can happen. More often than you think.
posted by Neekee at 7:11 PM on August 20, 2012

I did the Tough Mudder in Virginia last year. I'm in good shape, but nothing extraordinary. The nice thing about the Tough Mudder is that it's not a competition; you're not timed, and there's no RACE (except for the people who specifically register as such, and they don't run with the 'regulars'). I did a lot of jumping rope beforehand, for different lengths of time (up to an hour), and some interval training (jump squats, push ups, ab work, mountain climbers) using the Tabata protocol, most of which I do in my regular exercise routine. The Tough Mudder is mostly mental when it comes down to it, so some tough endurance workouts will definitely help.

The hardest part for me was how cold I got after the ice dumpster. I grew up in Wisconsin, and have never been in anything as insufferably cold as that water. The remainder of the course was difficult for me in that respect, because I was wearing Under Armour that had soaked through and that I couldn't get off. I'd suggest wearing something removable that you don't mind getting rid of, and don't wear gloves! They'll get wet anyway and will make everything impossible.

Have fun, and shoot me a message if you'd like to know more. Good luck!
posted by eenagy at 10:57 PM on August 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've done a tough mudder and several shorter adventure/obstacle/mud type races. I'm on the East Coast though, so I can't offer anything SF specific.

One thing to keep in mind for training - Whatever the course length is, you will *NOT* be running it non-stop. If it's a 12 mile course with 12 obstacles then you'll likely be running 12 ~1 mile legs in between stopping for the obstacles. Sometimes the lines for obstacles back up so much that they become 10-15 minute breaks of standing in line. So, do *NOT* concentrate your training on running 12 miles in one go, instead get to the point where you can run 2-3 miles, take a 10 minute break and then do it twice or thrice more.

Do as much of your running training on grass/dirt/trails/gravel/mud/streams as possible. Also start working on your ankle strength and flexibility. It is very easy to sprain an ankle when running on the uneven/shifting terrain in these events, especially if you've only been running on pavement previously.

In addition to running, I'd highly recommend finding things to climb on: Jungle gyms, monkey bars, climbing gym, even just ladders. Do laps on whatever you're climbing on (go up, come back down, go back up). You don't necessarily need to be able to do pullups to make it through all the obstacles (but it would help!) but you do at least need decent grip strength and endurance to be able to hold on while you work your way up.

Others have touched on the cold/wet aspect and this is not to be trifled with. I became hypothermic towards the end of the mudder I participated in; after I finished I was shivering so badly that I could barely walk. However, mine was in NJ in November, yours may or may not be as cold. One of my teammates who was experienced wore a neoprene shirt/rash guard upper garment that seemed to work well for her and I think I might try to get something similar if I do another "cold" mudder.

Specific race day tips: Bring a complete change of clothes and multiple towels for after the mudder. Bring a garbage bag to dump all your mudder clothing into. Don't wear anything for the mudder that you couldn't bear to throw away, because you may end up just doing that. I tried washing the clothes I wore for mine and gave up after 4 washes as they were still coming out with dirt and grit.

I'd definitely recommend hooking up with a group if you can, I went with people I had only known online prior to the event and we all had a great time helping each other through obstacles. I know meetup.com has some mudder groups and many crossfit gyms send teams as well. One thing you might try is looking through the list of teams on the mudder site and see if there any that you could join up with through some prior affiliation.
posted by de void at 12:27 PM on August 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

I concur, running intervals will be good training. Distances of up to a 5k at a time, most likely. I like to focus my interval training at the 800m distance, it seems to give me the best blend of speed and endurance. Hill sprints ( great in SF) will be a big help.

For grip strength, nothing like farmer's walks and deadlifts.

A lot of it is mental challenge - all the obstacles are doable. Be sure you're getting enough sleep and eating enough leading up to the race!

I like whole-body exercises, so things like burpees, spiderman pushups, etc. really appeal to me. You'll have to move your own bodyweight around. Army crawls, bear crawls, and picking-up-and-carrying things (cinderblocks, logs) will help a lot too.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:38 PM on August 22, 2012

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