Do you like beer? How about live rock bands? Sounds awesome, right? But before you get your beer and music, you'll have to run...12 miles...through ice baths, fire pits, mud and 10,000 volts of electricity. Not so appealing anymore, ay? This may be why it's called the toughest event on the planet; Insert: Tough Mudder. I'm considering a fitness event that will push me to the limit this summer, and the Tough Mudder came to mind. If you're thinking about it too, take the "Are you tough enough?" quiz on the Tough Mudder website. It certainly cleared up a couple of questions for me.
What I find interesting about this event, is they emphasize team work. It's defined as a "personal challenge," not a race. Teams are more than encouraged (in fact they're required) and it's not about finishing first, but just flat out finishing.
As I've been thinking about participating in this and as any good House Partier would know, I wanted to check with a friend who have experienced it before I made up my mind.
My friend Lauren completed the Tough Mudder last year. I asked her what the hardest part was and she claimed it was the ice buckets. You have to jump into them and fully submerge yourself, which is about ten times harder than the physical courses. We talked a little about training, but she told me there's no way to prepare for the ice baths and you essentially go into total paralysis. "This is the only challenge preventing me from doing another Mudder."
Lauren started training three months before at a frequency of about three times per week with a long distance run maybe once a week. Mostly, though, she did agility and power training such as pushups, pullups, planks and activities that utilize your own body weight, since most of the obstacles are designed to use your strength. I found it surprising when she told me literally anyone could do the Tough Mudder. She said, "I've never been in such good shape physically as when I was training, and still have never gotten back in 'Tough Mudder shape,' but it was more the fact that I realized I could push myself further than I thought I'd be able to. So, if anyone thinks they can't do it, that just means they don't really want to! Personally the mental part was the hardest."
Physically, you should take training slow according to her and build up so it's gradual and healthy. She stressed that you should definitely be able to run 4 or 5 miles comfortably, do about 30 push-ups in a row, and hold up your own body weight through planks for 5 minutes. "I think my friends and I actually trained really well for it, so the physical part wasn't too bad. It definitely was tough, but we'd expected it to be hard. Actually, besides the chilly wind we weren't really miserable at any point, and it was fun seeing each mile marker until we got to the end."
I also asked what got her through the event. She replied that, "Training with friends was so rewarding. The process of the whole thing, and every time during training where we felt too tired, I had two friends yell "TOUGH MUDDER" at me, and I would do the same to them. It was cool having a support system with an end goal in mind. Obviously once we got to game day we were so excited cause the day was finally HERE, but that day was only exciting because of the couple of months training that had been working up to it."
So, what was the best part for Lauren? "The beer at the end! It was GREAT. I now drink Dos Equis ale which I never had before, because I have the perfect image in my mind of it being so amazingly refreshing. I hate chugging beer, but I drank it so fast. Also the Tough Mudder Community is awesome and so supportive of each other, people that lived on Mount Snow were throwing full cans of beer off their porch to Tough Mudder participants on the way which was pretty awesome too."
I'm not sold yet, I'm still more of a run-on-a-flat-surface-without-flames kinda girl. We'll see.
The cool thing about the Tough Mudder is there are different locations all over the US and overseas! Check out the calendar (if you didn't stop reading after the second sentence) to find one near you.
Another fitness event to consider, that's definitely more low key, is the color run. It's called the happiest 5k in the world! Quite the contrary to the Mudder. I had no hesitation signing up for that one.
Have you done a Tough Mudder or other physically demanding event?
About the author: Shana is a friend of House Party. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and concerts. Her party tip: Dessert, specifically chocolate.