With just over a month before Tough Mudder’s ultimate test, World’s Toughest Mudder (WTM) 2014 in Las Vegas, we thought we would have a close look at how one particular UK Mudder is preparing to take the challenge head on.
Mark Hollaway, a Tough Mudder-Help for Heroes Ambassador, has completed numerous Tough Mudder events. He can often be found helping out with volunteer management one day and running multiple laps the next. After competing in 2013, Mark is now preparing to take on WTM in 2014 while raising money for Help for Heroes in the process.
By day Mark is a Colour Serjeant serving in the British Army. He has served in Afghanistan, where he was severely injured in the line of duty, and now spends his time training future Army Officers at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
Over the next few weeks we thought we would ask Mark exactly how he is going to prepare for such a unique challenge, starting with his early training and preparation:
How soon did you start training after WTM 13?
“Training started as soon as I was physically able, on my return from WTM 13 in New Jersey. I had little time to prepare for the 2013 event, about 2-3 weeks, but I covered a respectful 60 miles in the 24hr period. This was a good result but I paid the price afterwards. I couldn’t walk pain free for about a week, so with that I did some recovery swimming, stretching and light upper body conditioning before I could start training properly again. I started this about 2 weeks post event.”
“In the early stages of my preparation I would aim to do a minimum of 2 hours training a day.”
Did you learn anything from doing WTM 13 that made you alter your early training for 2014?
“A big lesson I learnt in New Jersey was how important it was to condition the legs for running, not just for mileage but for time. I ran for approximately 12 hours covering 35 miles, after this I had to slow right down and eventually just walk, as my legs were tight and painful. As soon as I could, I started running again, building myself up to some decent distances and decent speeds. It was my aim from this point on to do as much training, whenever and wherever I could. I still had mud in my ears from WTM 13 but my focus now was WTM 14.”
So what was your strategy for getting ‘miles into your legs’?
“When I able to again I started running for a minimum of 1hr, then 2hrs, I then concentrated on speed, seeing how far I could go in 1hr. My personal benchmark test was running 10 miles, the first time I did this I ran for 1hr 15 minutes, as my running progressed in the first couple months of my training I got that down to 1hr 10 minutes. With running not really being my thing I would mix it up, I would go sled training in the park, do hill reps and generally try and be as creative with my training as possible.”
What was your schedule like? How did you fit it all in?
“In the early stages of my preparation I would aim to do a minimum of 2 hours training a day. However, having a career in the Army and a newborn son at home, I would often find this hard, especially with his sleep pattern. The way I would get around this is early morning and late night training, often with a head torch on.”
Any other tips or tricks you used for sticking to your training?
“I started keeping a training diary so I could see how much of each activity I was doing, track my progress and essentially give me a check list of training I had to do during the week. This worked really well, like a written contract to myself. I used to get so disheartened when in my training diary I would see NIL written in one of my boxes, so I ensured that was seldom the case. Another great thing about keeping a diary was I could factor in rest days, stretching sessions and avoid where possible, over training.”
If you’re interested in helping Mark in his mission to support Help for Heroes, visit Mark’s official fundraising page or by text message MTTM99 £5 to 70070.