How To Prepare & Survive Tough Mudder

Posted by on January 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm

You’ve decided to sign your life away to the half-marathon full of obstacles designed by British Special Forces. But what’s this? You have no idea what to wear, what to bring, or what to expect? Count yourself lucky because this FleshEatingZipper editor has experienced the pain, the triumph, and the pain again of Tough Mudder.

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in (probably) the toughest event on the planet. Like most people there, it was my first time partaking in this challenge. For those that will be in that same boat soon, here are some pro-tips that will create a more enjoyable Tough Mudder experience!

Build a team.

If there’s anything that Tough Mudder will teach you, it’s teamwork and camaraderie. To get the most out of this crazy obstacle course, force as many people to sign up with you as soon as possible. Not only will the early bird discounts be more appealing, but many will reconsider and probably drop out last minute. Plus, after the 3rd or 4th “Berlin Wall”, you’ll need as much help as you can get.

Work out.

I spent several months lifting, running, pulling, pushing, jumping, throwing, dragging and Tough Mudder still kicked my ass. If you don’t have the means to prepare at a gym, you can challenge yourself with TM’s training and prep crash course. Either way, you don’t want to be that guy who slows the entire team down.

Wear proper clothing.

If you want to wear a costume and try to win the “Most Bad-Ass Costume Award”, you should skip this tip entirely. Here’s the deal. You’re going to be crawling, dunking, and rolling around in ice cold mud for 3 hours. Wearing loose-fit clothing will not only weigh you down, but it will shrivel your man-bits and…whatever happens to women.

For example, I ended up wearing a rash guard, Under Armor spandex-like pants, and gym shorts. Not only did the rash guard and UA pants whisk away moisture, but it also protected me from pesky pebbles and annoying sand. Hindsight, I probably could have ditched the gym shorts because they had pockets and periodically filled up with mud. Speaking of ditching clothes, you wouldn’t believe how many costumes and other articles of clothing were tossed along the trails.

Clothing pro-tip: Don’t bring your camel back water bag. There’s tons of water stations provided around the course and it will only get in the way. Trust me.

Pick the right gloves.

You’re going to need gloves that’ll keep its grip in dry and wet environments. I used Max Fit Gorilla Grip gloves from Home Depot and was able to climb across the “Funky Monkey” bars with ease (pictured above). Compared to other gloves, it doesn’t hurt your wallet when you throw them away at the end of Tough Mudder.

Socks and duck tape.

I made a huge mistake. For some stupid reason, I decided to forgo wearing socks. Learn from my stupidity and wear your protective feet apparatus. Also, duck-taping your shoes to your ankles will help prevent any undesired mud from entering in. Sadly, I didn’t do that either.

Bring an entourage.

Remember those people who dropped out of the event? This would be the perfect opportunity to guilt them into being spectators. Family members also make great spectators! Not only will they cheer you on, but they’ll take pictures and video of you and your teammates!

Don’t be stupid

Listen, if you can’t swim — skip the water obstacles. If you have preexisting heart conditions or epileptic episodes — skip the electrical shock obstacles. By the second day, there had been a seizure and heart attack, not to mention a dislocated shoulder and a broken arm. As much fun as Tough Mudder is, it’s not worth risking injury over. So do me a favor and take it slow and steady.

Have fun

Tough Mudder is meant to be fun — the adventurous kind. Some people take it seriously and some not at all. Personally, I’ve never been in a race or event where a complete stranger helps you over and or out of an obstacle. Everyone’s stuck in the mud, so you might as well lend your fellow mudder a hand.

That’s all of the tips I have to offer for now. Enjoy this short video I put together of my experience at Tough Mudder. Now get back to training!

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  • Caracie

    Thank you!!