Tough Mudder Legionnaire Josh Sayers offers his top tips to survive your first Tough Mudder…

Is Tough Mudder really that tough? Yes. Is it the toughest  event on the planet? I’d have to disagree. Although the 10-12 mile course breaks you down mentally and physically into a million tiny, achey pieces, there are harder courses out there. The Rat Race for example, is a 20 mile course that consists of 200 obstacles and the notorious Iron Man triathlon is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 22 mile run. This doesn’t take any credit away from the Mudder finishers though, and as you vouch at the beginning of the day, Tough Mudder is not a race, it is a challenge to overcome. Fear is universal and as one may fear TM another will equally fear another feat. It is how you conquer that fear which makes you who you are. Last year the Seen in the City team conquered the London West course with little-to-no training, this year we were returning with a slightly better approach…

1Buy some thermals

The hardest part of the course for me last year was the cold and Arctic Enima really got under my skin. I was shivering the entire time and it was draining me mentally and physically. If you are racing in the Spring or Autumn I would highly recommend picking up some skin tight clothing that will prevent you from frosting over.

2Train your arms

Having the ability to carry your own weight is a fantastic skill on the TM course. It kept me dry during Funky Money and helped maintain my momentum to defeat Kong. Head down to your local gym or grab yourself a pull up bar and begin today. If you’re struggling to start, try negative pull ups (jump and slowly lower yourself) or if you’re at the gym set up an assisted pull up routine with the equipment or a trusty gym partner. 

3Put together a reliable team

The greatest aspect of Tough Mudder is the camaraderie. Everyone on the day is looking to help you out and the bond that you create with your Mudder family will carry you through the event. We were a tight team that completed every obstacle as a unit, moving only as fast as the slowest member. Each of us took our fair share of doubt but there was always someone there to push us forward or lend a hand on the obstacles. There were plenty of runners that didn’t have such a mighty team and because of that we ended up gaining a few more muscles under the Seen in the City flag.

4Go for a run

I always seem to forget that the course lasts 12 miles. There’s no excuse for not going out for a run, go outside and take to the streets, go to the gym and hop on a treadmill or escape to the country and go cross country. Even if it’s just once a week because if you can’t go for a half hour run, how the hell do you think you’re going to manage 12 miles?

5Pick up some energy gels

The Tough Mudder team have designed the course extremely well with a pit stop every few miles to replenish your energy levels with a tasty protein snack and drink. However, it’s always good to come prepared with a few extras to give you that final push and break you through the wall. Just remember to keep them somewhere that they’re not going to fall out of.

6Rest the week before

Take it easy the week before with a short 30 minute jog or a few walks. Let your muscles prepare for what’s to come and don’t do anything strenuous within the final 48 hours. 

7Come prepared

Everything about Tough Mudder is fantastic, the staff are absolutely amazing at encouraging the runners and the buzz in the Mudder camp is electric. However, there’s nothing cheap here. Come fully stocked for a healthy breakfast and be psychologically prepared for the parking price. Make sure you bring a change of clothes and a towel and unless you want to scrap your car, make sure you’ve got somewhere to put your mud-ridden shoes.
 
Although these tips may help you succeed in your quest to become a Tough Mudder, honestly nothing will prepare you for this course. Nothing will prepare you for the 10,000 volts from electroshock therapy. Nothing will keep you from the 40,000 lbs of ice in Arctic Enima. You can only fail yourself and only you can complete this monster of a course. 

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