Obstacle course races have become very popular in recent years, with none gaining as much of a following as the Jeep Tough Mudder event series. They bill themselves quite often as extreme events, but this may lead you to think it isn’t for you: this is a misconception.
They aren’t just for superhero marathon runners: obstacle course races like Tough Mudder are suitable for anybody with a gym membership. If you have a gym nearby that is well-equipped like GymNation, there is every reason for you to go in for this kind of event.
But how? How do you train for Jeep Tough Mudder races? What are the main fitness components needed when looking to prepare for an obstacle race like this?
You will be running several kilometres, through mud, sand and difficult terrain, with a variety of obstacles to overcome, no matter which version of the course or which event you choose. Therefore, you will need a great deal of cardiovascular endurance to carry you through the race.
Obviously, steady-state forms of cardio like running and swimming will help you to some degree. Running will simulate the needs of the course itself, whilst swimming will work full body strength and endurance. Try a treadmill, cross trainer or dip in the pool, aiming for bouts of 30-45 minutes at a time. Alternatively, for a full body workout that will simulate the intense dips and troughs of a Tough Mudder course, try any of the 200+ FREE fitness classes GymNation offer
Obstacle courses require you to dig deep and bring in bursts of intense power interspersed with the steadier state cardio mentioned above. Therefore, sprint training, or any kind of fast paced, explosive cardio will be perfect.
Try for sprints themselves, either on a treadmill, upright cycle, spin bike or on foot, running for real. Intense 5-10 second bursts will be needed, in which you get your heart rate up to 90%+ of its maximum. Alternatively, try attending a circuit class, throwing in some Tabata protocols on the gym floor, or skipping and boxing for intense, brief bouts.
Finally, you will need a degree of full body strength to help you deal with everything Tough Mudder can throw at you.
If you’re new to this kind of training, begin with a few circuits of GymNation’s resistance machines before graduating into the weights room. In the weights room, focus on full body, compound movements like squats, deadlifts and overhead presses.
Bodyweight focussed exercises will also be perfect for this kind of training, as the whole point of the Jeep Tough Mudder is to move your body through space, against resistance. Pull ups, dips, box jumps and bodyweight squats for high reps should form a mainstay of your routine.
Now that we have broken it down into its core components, let’s have a bit of a think about what you might need to work on when preparing for this kind of race.
You will need a clear sighted, accurate idea of your own general fitness level, alongside a pretty decent idea of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. For instance, if you’re a budding powerlifter with a decent Wilkes score, there are unlikely to be many instances in a Tough Mudder race where you find yourself not being strong enough.
You may, however, need to work on your cardiovascular fitness and full-body muscular endurance. Similarly, if you’re a marathon running, spin-class attending cardio junkie, you will be able to cope with the endurance needed for Tough Mudder, but you might consider working on your strength and power output to carry you through the obstacle courses.