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10 Things to Know About the Tough Mudder

January 19, 2014

Last Saturday I ran my first Tough Mudder and it was a great experience. I am in decent shape… I can run 9 miles straight at a 9:45 pace, do 45 pushups in a row, and hold a plank for 90 seconds. Below are ten things that I learned about the Tough Mudder after running it.

  1. It’s a total body workout more than a cardio challenge. At no point in the race was I gasping for air, and I think the reason is because it’s a run/walk/wait event. You run when you can, walk while you get water (or up/down some of the really steep hills) and wait in line for your turn to get through some of the obstacles. The rest periods give you a cardio rest.

  2. You can start in any heat of runners. My teammate and I showed up about an hour before our heat start time. We noticed that there was no one checking race numbers to make sure your numbers coordinate with your designated start time. Instead of waiting around and baking in the sun we joined the next heat and started the race with no problem.

  3. Where whatever footwear you are used to. I suggest running the Tough Mudder in whatever footwear you regularly train in. I ran in my Nike Flywire running shoes. Keep in mind that whatever you wear will be trashed by the end of the race, so don’t wear shoes that you feel like keeping. They have shoe donation bins after the race to send your kicks to a deserving person somewhere else in the world. I saw people running in everything from hiking boots, to sandals to minimalist shoes. It didn’t look like any held a large advantage over the other.

  4. Run it with a friend or team. It took us 3 hours to complete – that’s a long time to run something solo, and some of the obstacles may require team work.

  5. Electric obstacles hurt. I was shocked (pun intended) by how much the electrical obstacle hurt. When I was zapped it definitely sent a jolt through my whole body that I could feel for a good five minutes afterwards.

  6. Skip the research. I did minimal research on the obstacles, and found that it was more fun being surprised by what was ahead.

  7. Tough Mudder is not a race but a challenge. This is a motto of Tough Mudder and it’s true. I never felt like I was in a race against the other runners. It was a feeling of camaraderie where we were all helping each other through the trials and tribulations TM was throwing our way.

  8. Some training necessary. I would suggest that you can run at least 4 miles straight and have decent upper body strength. I said earlier that it’s a total body workout more than a cardio, but if you don’t have a solid cardio base you may struggle through the obstacles.

  9. Showers afterward. Yes there are showers that you can use to rinse off – very important to know as riding home a muddy, sweaty mess is not fun.

  10. Wear Helo’s during the race. My team all wore Helo shorts during the Tough Mudder. I’m probably biased in my opinion, but they were perfect for this race, in and out of the water/mud, drying fast, keeping you compressed in all the right places. Wear Helo shorts for the Tough Mudder, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor.


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