Thursday, January 16, 2014
I thought I'd share a couple of things I'm really glad I did before, during and after tough mudder.
1. Be prepared. Our team started training four months before tough mudder. And we trained hard. It meant we didn't completely die in the arse on race day and could enjoy it all. And, because we had trained for so long together we knew each other's strengths and weaknesses, and we felt like a solid team.To check out the type of training we did click here.
2. Ladies braid your hair. One of our trainers, Bec, passed this tip on. Trust me. Do two braids down either side of your head and you'll have no hair troubles for the entire race. Alternatively, just shave off all your hair.
3. Get some gloves. Not just any gloves. Get Madgrip Pro Palm gloves. I chopped the tops of the fingers off mine but I know others who didn't. If you're going to chop on the tips make sure you chop them below the first joint in your finger. If Funky Monkey is one of the obstacles in your race I'd recommend taking your gloves off for it. I actually dried my hands on the shirt of the tough mudder dude manning that obstacle. Worked a treat :)
4. The shoes: A lot of people opt for doing the race in old runners and chucking them out at the end. The trouble with normal runners is they hold onto the mud and by race end you'll end up with very heavy feet. Old runners also have very little grip left on the soles.
I did a bit of research and three types of shoes kept coming up again and again: Salomon Speedcross 3s, Inov-8 X-Talons and New Balance Minimus Trail Runners. I elected to go for the Inov-8s X-Talon 190s. I have to say I was really impressed with our they went on race day. They have heaps of grip, they are incredibly light and the mud seemed to slide of them. I chucked them in the wash after the race and they came up looking almost good as new.
One thing I would say about these is they don't have a lot of support. I've been running in barefoot runners for a while now so I didn't have a problem with the Inov-8s but if you're not used to barefoot runners I'd advise you to slowly work them into your running routine. And, definitely don't run on hard surfaces with the Inov-8s.
5. Fuel up properly. This means both food and water. Drink plenty of water in the days leading up to Tough Mudder (around 3 litres per day). Ensure you have about 1/2 cup of good carbs (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, wholemeal bread) with each meal during the week of the event. The day before eat smaller meals of meat and veg.
6. Listen to the dudes and chicks manning the obstacles. There's a good chance they've done the obstacle several times and also watched many people succeed and fail. They know the best way to attack the obstacle. If they give you an instruction, listen to them.
As we waited for the rest of our team to catch up to us at The Glory Blades the guy manning the obstacle showed us how the obstacle was designed to be tackled (you face you back to the obstacle and grip the top of the wall like you would an underhand chin up, then flip your legs over the top of your head and the obstacle). He even gave us a demo. I didn't quite have the strength to do it (next year!!) but it made it a lot easier for the boys to get over on their own once they'd given the rest of us a leg up.
7. Have fun. It sounds corny but it's easy to forget to enjoy this event. Just remember to smile your way through the pain.