Training for an Adventure Race like Tough Mudder

Training for an adventure Race like Tough Mudder


Adventure races can be fun. They’ve filled the gap between the long drawn out marathon type endurance races and shorter cross-country sprints. They also have the added appeal of the excitement of an army type assault course, something most people have wanted to do since being a kid! As a personal trainer in Brighton, I've helped quite a few people get to the race


Adventure races also give the average man or woman a fairly safe environment where they can experience an element of fear that has been removed from our daily lives. In the past mankind lived a pretty brutal adrenaline filled existence, but now much of our lives have become sanitized to the point where we no longer regularly feel the ‘fight or flight’ state that would have been invoked by combat or the hunt.

For those who don’t want to immerse themselves in the martial arts or extreme sports, adventure races can be a good option to irregularly get a taste of what it would be to work through fears such as heights, submersion in water or simply pushing through fatigue.


So you’ve decided to enter an adventure race like Tough Mudder, so how do you go about training for it?

5 tips for training for Tough Mudder


1.Don’t leave it too late. Don’t simply think one months training is enough. I would recommend a minimum of 6 months training if you want to get around the course without too much discomfort and longer if you want to race for time. Your body takes time to adapt to the stresses of training, and these don’t happen over night, as marvelous as the body is, it takes time for tendons to toughen and for your cardiovascular system to improve.


2.Don’t rush straight into long distance running. Trying to increase your distances too quickly will most definitely lead to injury. Shin splints I can tell you from experience last for years and are absolute agony. Start off by building up your tolerance with longer hilly cross-country walks interspersed with different exercises every 300 meters or so. Exercises such as burpees, pushups and static hangs of any (solid) tree branches you can find.

After a few weeks of training like this start to interval jog some of the 300-meter periods, alternating between fast walking and jogging for the distance. Gradually you will be able to jog the whole distance and complete the exercises in every 300 yards or so. Remember you won’t be running non-stop for the whole distance during the race, the obstacles break up the run into manageable sections – train specifically for what the race entails.


3.Don’t neglect training yourself to land. There will be plenty of sections in the race where you will have to jump down from various heights. Learning to land is a crucial skill most people don’t possess. Initially start from a small step and learn to repeatedly land from this height activating your core and absorbing the shock on impact. Gradually increase the height as your training progresses. It may sound like overkill but trust me; many people have been injured jumping down from different heights in nearly all race events.


4.Learn to crawl. Crawling should be a natural innate human skill, however it’s something most of us have forgotten. Crawling is usually a big part of adventure races, in the Tough Guy race I competed in, the crawling section was done not just under barbed wire through thick mud but also through a 20 meter tiny enclosed half pipe that constricted my fairly muscular frame. I was happy I’d worked on crawling, as I knew I had the endurance to pull myself through it, even with the extra drag of resistance either side.

Crawling should be built into your interval run as one of the exercises. So aim by the end of your training to be able to complete 5x50 meter crawls as part of your training run. The crawls should be varied too, working army style crawling to dragging your body along with straight legs incase you have to contend with the half pipe where you simply can’t use your legs due to the circumference of the pipe.


5.Strength train . One of the most important strength elements that will test you during the race is your ability to pull yourself up onto obstacles and also hang with your bodyweight such as on the monkey bars. Static hangs, i.e. just hanging from a bar or a branch is a great way to increase up your grip strength for this and develop strength through your back muscles and core. If you can’t manage chin-ups then recline rows are a fantastic option and are a great regression from the chin up.


I hope you enjoyed this article and it helps you in your future race preparation! If you did like it if you can click the Facebook like button below and share the article on to Facebook I would be most pleased! Until Next time Stay Strong!