We understand that not everyone is ready for a Tough Mudder; that’s why the ancient Greeks invented the marathon. But there are many similarities between a Tough Mudder and a marathon. Both are extreme endurance events that will push any athlete to the limit. However, many first-time marathon runners think that all they need to do to prepare for a marathon is run for miles and miles. That’s just boring … and kind of pathetic. So we’re going to toughen up your marathon training schedule, Mudder-style.
Most training regimens focus exclusively on aerobic training designed to prepare your body to run 26 miles, 385 yards. Okay, that’s understandable. But your training program can benefit greatly from anaerobic exercise just as much as committing feet to asphalt.
Strength training on recovery days greatly increases your flexibility and functional fitness. Exercises such as squats, jerks, and cleans strengthen your legs and core, lowering the risk of injury by increasing limberness and ligament strength. Body weight exercises such as pull-ups, dips, and push-ups decrease fat and increase lean muscle mass without putting on bulky, stride-altering muscle while improving your overall physical fitness, athletic ability, and strength.
Additionally, interval training can be used to supplement traditional long runs. Interval training consists of periods of “work”, or exercise, interspersed with periods of rest. High school athletes running sprints during practice are simply performing interval training. By elevating and slowing your heart rate multiple times, you can achieve the cardiovascular benefits of a long run in the time it takes to complete a 20-minute workout. Interval training builds muscle and explosiveness more effectively than straight cardio, boosting your metabolism and making you a better athlete.
Incorporate other types of training into your regimen besides straight cardio. You’ll be prepared for any athletic event — including that marathon. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be able to handle the slogging, crawling, climbing, carrying and true endurance challenge that comes with a Tough Mudder event.