Training for Tough Mudder doesn’t need to be all cardio and grip strength. Why not introduce hiking into your workout plans. We caught up with Jess Kidd- CPT, Spartan SGX, Nutrition Coach, S&C, CCAR Recovery Coach- to get her insights on hiking to train for Tough Mudder.
It’s only natural to second guess yourself at the start line of any Tough Mudder. ‘Man, maybe I shouldn’t have had that third cup of coffee this morning’… And every other detail that led up to that day, like did I train enough? Wait, 10 miles? Why did I sign up for this again? Ugh, what about that time I sat on the patio and eat iced cream instead of going for a training run? Eh, it happens. Oof, T minus 2 minutes to start, I think I need to use the restroom.’
Admittedly, a few of the random thoughts that pass through my head at the start line. Especially in an endurance event, like World’s Toughest Mudder.
I’ve got no qualms with training, I love it. Running– we’re in more of a love hate relationship. But it’s a necessity in the competitive heats. It’s cool if you can run flats, but where’s your confidence in taking that to your next Tough Mudder? We’re talking hills, the ups and downs and all arounds. Remember, you don’t have to run, you can walk or jog too. I got you. There’s one awesome alternative that I implement in my training as often as possible, and it’ll improve your performance as well. Hiking. We all know Mudders like to toss in some deceiving terrain that challenges your physical and mental capacity. Hills put a totally different kind of stress on your body compared to flats. Not to mention muscle fatigue and potential climate changes. Hiking is one sure fire way to replicate a Tough Mudder of any distance.
When you think about how to train for your next race, think of the trails as your Mudder playground. Hike your way up and throw in some lunges and bear crawls along the way to build muscle memory and full body endurance. You won’t gain experience any other way than just getting out there and doing it. Take this for what it’s worth, but there’s some value in checking your ego at the start of each session. We’re not here to blow ourselves up in the first minute of the hike or compare ourselves to anyone else. We’re here to grow, gain strength and get better each time out. Settle in and find a comfortably uncomfortable pace.
Here are a few suggestions; look for some gnarly terrain or start with a hill, and don’t count miles, count minutes. There are too many variables in hiking to put mileage on it, you’ll have easy days and harder days.
Hiking Training Options
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, you choose your time and grow from there:
- Hill sprints
- Trail runs, working your way up in time
- Add a weighted backpack
- Add exercises along the way
- Find rocks to climb over
- Most importantly, make it FUN.
Embrace the trails, become one with the trails… can I get a yoga ‘ommm.’