‘How Do I Train for a Tough Mudder?’ — Ask Coach Rick Scarpulla
I signed up to do a tough mudder competition this spring. It looks like fun but how exactly do I train for an event like a tough mudder? -- Sal, 22, New Jersey
Training for a tough mudder is a little harder than most athletic events. The need for strength is obviously important but it's not just a "time under tension" situation there is also an endurance aspect to the race.
Training for a tough mudder is very similar to Army Ranger or Navy Seal style training -- the focus on resting the body is built into the training. Most times Rangers and Seals train where days of intense training is followed by days of rest. You should approach a tough mudder competition the same way. Do not feel you need to fit in a 7 day a week training schedule because it will not work. Break your training away from a calendar week and realize the need for recovery is vital.
As far as the actual training for a tough mudder, you should run every few days and steadily increase the difficulty of each run. Lift every few days with the focus on moderate weight with higher range reps and add obstacle course style work in every few days.
Use some unconventional weight training techniques -- ropes and weighted climbs and strongman-style training like tires, yokes and farmers' carries. Look over military training methods and programs for additional training ideas.
Most importantly, and I can't stress this enough, is getting the required rest.
Rick Scarpulla, the creator of The Ultimate Athlete Training Program, is a highly sought-after and renowned strength, speed and conditioning coach who works in developing top high school, college and professional athletes and programs throughout North America. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.