Since we are no longer getting winters (global warming; believe it?), rather than post about my latest adventure among the snowy mountains, I am compelled to address the questions surrounding the Tough Mudder.
For those who are unaware, the Tough Mudder is a 10 mile (ish) obstacle course. The New England course is set up on the side of Mt. Snow, Vermont. So, this means that all who complete the course will have ascended, and descended, some 7,500 vertical feet. Also, being that Mt. Snow is a ski hill, there will likely still be a considerable amount of the white stuff left on the route May 7 (Mother’s Day or Mudders’ Day?) when Hordon Health’s team tackles the Mudder.
I have several clients who are participating, and I encourage all looking for a team to contact us at Hordon Health to inquire about space on the HH team. In our preparations for this brutal test of strength, stamina, and will, your body will be pushed farther than you ever thought possible. Unless you are a veteran of war, compete in Iron Man triathlons, or have an otherworldly training regimen, the Mudder will be the most physically grueling 4 hours of your life. We here at Hordon Health want to help you get ready.
Your first important decision pre-race is your clothing choice. Some choose the “less is more” path. I am not one of them. There were several gents in Speedos, and ladies in bikinis in my heat. Others don costumes or military uniforms. I’m fine with all of that, and there are post race awards handed out for costume and minimalist choices. However, if you’re looking to maximize your comfort and course time, here is my free fashion consultation for those participating in the Tough Mudder in VT;
I recommend form fitting, synthetic long sleeved shirts that dry quickly. Although I was very happy in quick drying shorts, I can see how lightweight thermal leggings could be advantageous. Do not wear anything that you want to keep, especially shoes. The Mudder consumes shoes. Expect that clothing will rip, or become soiled beyond your ability to clean it successfully.
This shirt has never been the same
As a barefoot athlete, I was thrilled with my Vibram Bikilas, as they gave me dexterity and grip when shoes’ treads would have been coated in slick mud. As a matter of fact, I didn’t slip and fall once. This is probably as big a testament to my Renegade Training as my footwear, but I’m sure the Vibrams were the right choice for me.
But, if you are not accustomed to barefoot or minimalist footwear, do not make this your maiden voyage. For everyone else, I would recommend trail running shoes that you don’t care to keep.
Like these Sauconys
Luckily, Tough Mudder takes, cleans, and donates your trashed shoes for you, so you don’t have to transport more mud than necessary. I highly recommend a synthetic hat akin to a helmet liner or winter running hat. I am convinced that this saved me from the hypothermia that my fellow Mudders experienced. That’s right, hypothermia. I saw several people wearing gloves like wide receivers for pro football teams do, and I think they helped more than they hurt. I wore no gloves, and really didn’t notice how cold my hands were until after the race. Finally, cut your hair into a Mohawk if it is at all possible.
Obviously, I have thought about, and am currently implementing, a training program for myself and my clients. From custom DMC warm-ups, to post race PiNK Yoga. My Mudder groups have already been expanding their work thresholds, improving knee and ankle path and balance to avoid slips, and transitioning quickly from station to station in our customized version of the internationally renowned Renegade X boot camps in preparation. If you’re looking for more specific advice as to training, come on in.