Have you heard of Tough Mudder Atlanta? It’s a 10 to 12-mile team event April 29 and 30, traversing 20 grueling obstacles. And yes, there is mud -and water and ice- and lots of it. Not for you, you say? So did hubby. But the more we learned about this outwardly daunting physical event, the more we realized how little we actually knew.
Here are 10 things about Tough Mudder that you should know before dismissing it outright as an insane idea.
You want me to run a half-marathon, AND complete 20 painful obstacles?
Yes, and no. Tough Mudder is not a race. It’s an event. It’s a goal to accomplish. Above all, it’s a team effort. Most teams will light jog, or even walk the approximate half-mile between obstacles. Some obstacles will have lines and bottlenecks, giving you even more opportunity to rest up. And while you’ll (hopefully) navigate the course with your group, Mudder is one collective effort, with teams all-around helping other teams and individuals throughout the course. Some participants will even stick around at an obstacle for quite some time, just helping others get through it. Pretty cool, huh?
I have to be an Olympic athlete for this, right?
Not really. As a friend best describes it, you just can’t roll out of bed and do this event, but you don’t have to be a Ninja Warrior either. Some athleticism is required. If you can jog for 5 or 6 miles without stopping, you’ll do fine. Upper body strength is also a plus. Use the opportunity in the months leading up to the race to up your training game around endurance and upper body. The Tough Mudder website has several training tips to follow. Most importantly, don’t let the misconception that you need to train with extreme intensity for a year keep you from doing this. There’s also a five mile Tough Mudder Half option if your team would rather ease into the craziness.
What if I can’t complete the obstacles?
Here’s a secret. You don’t have to navigate every obstacle. If you want, you can walk around every single one. It’s true. But hey, that’s no fun, right? And what kind of Mudder would you be if you didn’t exert your best effort? Many teams strive to help each member through every obstacle in some shape or form – a great team goal. Some obstacles provide varying degrees of difficulty. So, if you want to take a swing at those monkey bars, have at it, even if you grab one or two bars before dropping to the mud. At least you tried.
What should I wear?
You’ll be wet and dirty throughout the entire event, so keep this in mind when you choose your attire. Well-wicking, quick drying, tight fitting workout clothes will keep you much more comfortable. This goes for your socks as well. Cotton “anything” is not recommended. As for your shoes, yeah, they will likely get pretty messed up, so perhaps you shouldn’t wear your newest pair. Mudder recommends Merrell for the best traction. (They are also a sponsor.) There’s a place to donate your worn-out, mud-caked shoes after the event. Gloves are optional – some love them, some don’t.
How do I hydrate and fuel?
Most people aren’t accustomed to four or five hours of sustained activity, and cramping up can be an issue. There’s plenty of food and water out on the course – be sure to take advantage to avoid injury. Sports nutritionists may even recommend a potassium supplement before competing. That said, some people need that water handy at all times. If that’s the case, by all means, wear a Camelback.
What about all of my fans?
Your friends and family can watch the madness for a small fee. There are many observations areas, and the course loops back on itself a number of times, so your guests won’t need to jog the 10 miles along side you. Many people prefer to just camp out at the most interesting obstacles and watch the fun. The fee is about $20 a piece for spectators. Oh, and bring those kiddos along. Kids 7 to 12 who are at least 42 inches tall can take part in a 1 mile Mini-Mudder course!
What’s with the headbands?
After you complete your very first Mudder you’ll receive the coveted orange headband. With each subsequent race that you complete you’ll receive a new headband of a different color each time. Kind of like karate belts! Mudder alumni display their headbands with pride. How many can you collect?
Do I have to wear this mud home?
Did we mention there’s mud involved? There’s a place to hose off after the race. Be sure to bring trash bags for all your dirty gear, a few towels to dry off, and of course some extra clothes to change into. Flips flops or sandals will come in handy here.
What’s the vibe?
Some people describe Tough Mudder as having a sort of Woodstock, festival-like atmosphere. The craziness, the camaraderie, the shared exhaustion. Bottom line, this is a really fun time, both during and after. I’ve yet to hear someone say, “I did the Tough Mudder this year. Hated it!” So, once you’ve finished, grab a beer with your team, enjoy yourself and relish this fantastic accomplishment.
Giving Back – Tough Mudder is bigger than any one person
Tough Mudder is much more than an extreme obstacle course. At its very core, it’s about working together for a common cause to overcome difficult situations. What better way to do this than to raise money for important charities in the weeks and months leading up to the race. The organization offers a number of charities to choose from, and a super easy way to set up your own fundraising page for these charities through Crowdrise. If you’d like to support a charity not on the approved list, contact the Tough Mudder organization for more details.
This year hubby’s team chose a unique charity called United Through Reading. UTR gives deployed military mom’s and dad’s the opportunity to read their kids a bedtime story from remote locations. Please click to donate to this worthy cause! We hope to see you there!
Pin This Post