by Bob Meads, Mudder in Training for Tough Mudder Georgia 2012
If you have visited the Tough Mudder Training page recently, there is a great video of Moustache man and his journey towards getting ready for Tough Mudder, with lots of crazy exercises you can do. They also have a 16 step circuit workout that includes running, pushups, rows, pull-ups, dips and other intense exercises to be performed in a gym. Notes on each exercise explain how to perform the exercise and which obstacle it prepares you for. They recommend that you be able to do this circuit twice without stopping in preparation for the event, as well as to be able to run comfortably for five miles.
Half the fun of training for Tough Mudder is figuring out how to train for Tough Mudder. Of course, you have to go to the gym, do the weights, do the cardio. You can also try out Tough Mudder’s circuit plan and decide whether to incorporate it into your routine. (For some people, it is their routine.) You also should run 3 or more times weekly in order to improve your running base. But in my opinion, these sessions alone are not enough to guarantee you will wear the Orange headband to the office on Monday morning; if they were, I probably wouldn’t be as excited (read: obsessed) about Tough Mudder. In order to truly prepare for Tough Mudder, you have to get out of the gym.
To that end, this past Saturday the Georgia Boys, my team and training group, had a field day. Literally. Several times a month, one of us is in charge of taking our Tough Mudder training regime out of the gym and into a setting more like what we will face in the actual event. This allows us to put our efforts in the gym and on the track to the test. Simon set up our first one, a 7+ mile course along the Chattahoochee River Park in Roswell, GA. He had scouted the area early in the week and designed an obstacle course that resembled some of the obstacles we would face, and invited me to join him Saturday AM.
The course was extremely tough and taught me a few things, humility being the major lesson of the day. There were walls to scale, park benches to hurdle, rows of logs to traverse, mud banks to climb,rocks to carry and fields to bear crawl through. And, of course, miles of trails to run. Then we got to the playground, and I found myself face to face with a set of monkey bars for the first time in over 30 years.
I made it exactly 5 rungs the first time, not quite halfway. The bars were thin, and slick; I couldn’t hold on. Despite the pull-ups and pushups I was so proud of (I can do 50 pushups in 2 minutes), my grip failed on the fifth rung, and I fell, amid a growing crowd of munchkins and not a few adult gawkers.My grip strength and timing certainly left a lot to be desired. The munchkins were clearly unimpressed.
Endurance was also on the list of things to I needed to improve. We ran the 7+ mile course in an hour and 42 minutes, including about 20 obstacles, with minimal rest. The obstacles were easy to begin with, but got progressively harder as we went on. We hit most obstacles on the way back, and weren’t able to do nearly as much as we did on the way in. On the last pullup station I had to break up the prescribed 20 reps into 4 sets of 5. I was barely jogging as we finished up the day. I was glad I was able to finish the course still jogging, but knew I need to be able to do more. 7 Miles is great, but its not quite 12 miles, is it?
“If this were Tough Mudder,” I wheezed to Simon as we walked back to his car, “we’d only be a little over half finished.” That certainly put it into perspective. We have a long way to go, but today showed us how to get there.