With World’s Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas less than a month away, we thought we would check back in with Mark Holloway to see how his preparation is going.
Mark Holloway, a Tough Mudder-Help for Heroes Ambassador, has completed numerous Tough Mudder events and 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 also raising money for Help for Heroes.
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.
Today we thought we would ask Mark about what is included in his training programme to prepare for this unique challenge:
So how did you go about maintaining a training regime for such a unique event?
"I broke down the structure of my training into three separate categories; this makes sure I am getting an all-round workout every week. The first part of my training was making sure I got plenty of cardiovascular work in. This would mainly consist of running and cycling. With running, the distance isn’t really important, but I would aim to run at least 10 – 12 miles each run. As I’ll be going for 24hrs, I need to get my legs used to running for as long as possible. Cycling is also a great cardiovascular work out and a great way of training for endurance as your heart rate is naturally lower. It also saves your joints as it is minimal impact."
Running and cycling for hours must get a bit repetitive. Did you do anything to change it up and keep things interesting?
"Absolutely. I had a few things that I worked into my training to keep it interesting. Circuit training is something I do a fair bit of. My version of circuit training is just where I go into a sports gym and start training with no specific programme. I just jump on all types of different equipment while running or doing burpees in between sets. Again go for time, preferably 2 hours."
"The other thing I do to mix it up is Muay Thai. After I had recovered from WTM 13 I put my gloves back on and started going to my Muay Thai classes. These are brilliant as they are usually 2hrs long, so with a run in the morning, strength and conditioning in the afternoon and Muay Thai in the evening I was doing as much as I could, when I could. Muay Thai is very heavy on the heart and lungs, not unlike circuit training, so again the variety helps keep the mind healthy."
"I have started to use Tough Mudder events as training events."
That is certainly something a little different. What was the next focus for your training?
"The next category of my training is focused around conditioning. This includes lots of pull-ups and dips; upper body strength is really important for these events, you need to get over walls, pull and push yourself over obstacles. I focus on the functional movements required in Tough Mudder; amongst pull ups and dips I do squats and spend time doing plyometric exercises such as box jumps. I believe strong legs are essential for Tough Mudder."
OK, so in a week you would focus on cardiovascular and conditioning. What’s left to do?
"To build strength, your whole body needs to be able to last for 24hrs, not just the legs. A couple days a week I concentrate on strength on its own, target different muscle groups and work on muscular endurance for arms, chest, shoulders, back and legs. I usually mix it up, train some groups together."
Well that certainly seems like a full schedule. Do you have any last minute tips or interesting ways you are preparing for such a unique event?
"Actually, I have started to use Tough Mudder events as training events. As a minimum, I will run 2 consecutive laps of the course, and if time permits, I will aim for a third. I did my first triple lap at Tough Mudder Yorkshire in August."
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.