I’ve proven victorious over long battles with tight deadlines. I’ve fought to stay awake in three-hour lectures at 9 a.m. on Monday mornings. I’ve even mentally sparred with the lady in front of me at Treats Coffee Emporium for the last low-fat banana muffin. Yeah, I think I’m tough. But do I think I’m a Tough Mudder? Not a chance.
Tough Mudder is the world’s premier obstacle course series in the world. This 10 to 12-mile course is comprised of 25 military-style obstacles designed by British Special Forces that is created to test your strength, stamina, mental grit, and of course, your overall toughness. This isn’t your average marathon race.
In fact, Tough Mudder considers marathon running simply boring in comparison. Rather than testing your ability to run in a straight line, this course promises to challenge every muscle in your body. From crawling through mud and climbing ropes out of water, to carrying tires through a fire pit, TM ensures that the course will be grueling, but it will also be fun.
“Tough Mudder is one of these new obstacle-style event courses much like Warrior Dash that was so popular last year,” says Matt Sample, 26, who will be participating in the event when it comes to Toronto August 18 and 19. “The only thing is that Tough Mudder openly tries to one-up Warrior Dash by having more intense obstacles, and also the sheer length of it being 12 miles is pretty beastly.”
With half a million participants globally, this event has proved to be one that attracts many who want to take part in this physical and mental test. Of course, the free beer waiting for you at the finish line along with the live band playing at a post-event party probably helps as well.
If this appeals to you, and you’d like to be one of the thousands to brag that they are Tough Mudders, you can also step up to the challenge when the event comes to Toronto. Given the time between now and the event, you have plenty of training time to condition your body for the course’s obstacles.
Sample is currently in the process of training for the event with a team of friends.
“For me Tough Mudder is a means to an end. I have trouble working out and getting in shape purely for the sake of being in shape. So I need something like a Tough Mudder to be like ‘you better work out or else.’” The “or else” in this case could be a painstakingly long 12 miles of agony.
Even if you consider yourself in shape, don’t expect to come out of this obstacle course unscathed: Tough Mudder promises that it will punish you regardless of your level of fitness. And while this course is largely about mental toughness and camaraderie, (you’ll want a few friends drudging alongside as you battle through fire, water, and electric shocks) Tough Mudder strongly encourages participants to train in preparation for the event.
With that being said, how tough do you have to be exactly? Well, a suggestion taken from their website states, “Basically, you should be in good physical condition—complete slackers need not apply.” If you sit at home watching TV all day, this probably is not the event for you.
While it is a 10 to 12 mile course, endurance is not the primary factor. In fact, throughout most of the challenge you’ll be testing your strength through lifting, crawling, or climbing, so your lungs have ample opportunity to rest. Most of the participants are actually regular, everyday people, looking to conquer this course as a way to discover a new sense of accomplishment.
Danielle Salo, 25, is Matt’s teammate and another contestant switching up her regular workout routine in anticipation of this obstacle course. “I’ve ramped up my weight training to four times a week and cardio twice a week, including plyometrics, running, yoga, and some CrossFit.”
At the minimum, Tough Mudder suggests you should be able to run a couple miles consecutively, be able to do at least 15 push-ups and six pull-ups in a row. As mentioned before, it is going to hurt either way, but preparing your body will help.
If you’re looking to challenge yourself this summer, Tough Mudder’s website has a printable workout plan that can help you get started in preparing your body for this ultimate test.
“I’m looking forward to making my way through the course and really enjoying how crazy some of the obstacles can be,” says Sample. “There are no times or results recorded, so it’s really about just having fun with some friends.”
Who knows, come August maybe you’ll even see this indoorsy writer stepping up to the challenge and climbing over mud pits.