The whole concept of becoming muddy and dirty while pushing your body to its extremes is becoming more and more of a well recognized concept. Events like Spartan Race, and Tough Mudder lead the way in events like these as the subject endures vigorous challenges which test their “all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.”
Recently, I, Vojtek Purchla, participated in Whistler Tough Mudder 2013 and will be sharing my experiences as well as some helpful tips and tricks to give you an idea what to expect for your next race!
First things first, this is not a walk in the park, if you don’t like getting dirty and pushing your body to it’s limits this may not be for you, but on the other hand, if your determined, don’t mind getting a little muddy and wet, and enjoy working as a team, Tough Mudder may just be the next best thing your looking for.
TRAIN, TRAIN, and TRAIN.
The great thing about Tough Mudder is that it tests almost all of your full body systems. Whether its aerobic as you do the 4km runs through steeps hills, or anaerobic as you lift yourself over some pretty tall walls. Tough Mudder expects a well rounded individual, period. Training your body to overcome these obstacles is a vital importance before deciding to participate in such an event. Clearly you want to push your body to its limits and see how far it can go, as well as being able to complete EVERY obstacle course you encounter, trust me, you will enjoy yourself much more if you do.
Tough Mudder is no walk in the park, therefore make sure you have proper clothing and shoe apparel the run the race. I recommend steering away from cotton shirts as they may chafe the nipples. Also the proper shoe is key, if your scared of ruining a pair of brand new shoes… DONT! as long as the shoe is meant for running and can withstand some beating it should just do the job!
Lastly, I highly recommend steering away from five-fingered shoes as my friend who did use them said he experienced a lot of pain having to run over the rough rocky terrain.
TEAM UP & MAKE THE BEST OUT OF IT!
Doing things in groups is always enjoyable, especially if its with close friends. Upon my arrival, as I entered the main entrance, I was astounded when I saw the large number of teams participating. To make things even better most teams had some sort of trademark, whether it was custom t-shirts or wacky ensembles. Being able to overcome such enduring challenges with people you know and care about makes experiences like these that much memorable… oh, and it grows the relationships with those individuals too.
You know when someone says its all a mental game? Well, Tough Mudder incorporates this idea quite well. Numerous times throughout out the course I felt like taking a break, especially during running portions. Your body will want to give up, but if you train yourself mentally to overcome these barriers, the better your finish time and overall satisfaction.
A useful trick to keep pushing yourself is to think about the next obstacle. This is because obstacles are a great period of time to slow your breathing, catch your breath and possibly take a mini break as you wait for other participants to complete an obstacle.
HAVE FUN, ITS NOT A RACE!
Numerous times throughout the course you will come across signs stating “This is not a race!” and various other inspirational quotes (i.e. “pain is weakness escaping the body”). Tough Mudder strives to incorporate as much teamwork as possible, whether its providing a boost up the “Berlin Walls” or providing a supporting hand when tackling the Quarter-pipe (Obstacle – Everest). Having fun is a key component in what makes Tough Mudder a growing event since day one, even if you’re sore the next day….
Overall Tough Mudder has been one of the best experiences of my life and worth every penny. The times shared with friends and fellow competitors greatly outweighs the application fee. Not only does an event like this become a life-long memory but it’s also a great motivator to change your fitness lifestyle and dietary habits.
Featured Image courtesy of Tough Mudder.