Tough Mudder is currently unveiling their 2015 season and the already brutal course is getting some highly anticipated upgrades.
I spoke with VP of Brand at Tough Mudder, Alex Patterson, to get the dish on what competitors can expect and how to prepare if you’re a newbie.
What is Tough Mudder?
Josh: Our nation is currently in a running fad in which we’ve seen challenging obstacle-course like runs, along with color runs, explode. What separates Tough Mudder and how did it get started?
Alex: Yes, there’s been an explosion in non-traditional running events. Tough Mudder got started as a reaction to half marathons and marathons, which are boring run-in-a-straight-line tests of endurance. By contrast, Tough Mudder’s off-road conditions and obstacles make running fun and offer a variety that tests not just running endurance, but also all-around strength, stamina, and mental and physical grit, not to mention courage and teamwork.
Our obstacles are by far the biggest and best in the industry and our full-time Obstacle Innovation Team at the Tough Mudder OI Lab ensure that everyone else will be always looking at us to set the standard.
How to prepare
Josh: How do you know if you’re ready for something this extreme? What is the training you recommend?
Alex: There are certainly parts of it that are extreme, but the entire event is doable if you come in with the right attitude. First, ask yourself if you’re mentally tough enough to finish what you started, even when it gets hard. That’s key.
Second, ask yourself if you have great friends, family, or coworkers who can be training buddies and then upbeat and fun teammates on the day itself. That’s what it’s all about.
Third, decide whether you are willing to do some physical preparation work 2 to 3 days a week. Believe it or not, that’s all it takes, as long as it is consistent for a few months.
This sounds difficult
Josh: What do runners consistently describe as the hardest part of the race? Any athletes who have blown you away?
Alex: It varies from person to person — for some people, the 10+ mile run is the hardest part, while for others it’s the obstacles that test upper body strength, like Funky Monkey 2.0.
One of the most common ones we hear from Mudders though is that they find the ice of the Arctic Enema the hardest part of the event (even more than the Electroshock Therapy). It’s bone-chillingly cold. But that’s a good incentive to really get running again once you get out!
Josh: Best all-time Tough Mudder moment?
Alex: My best moment was running with my two brothers and a group of friends in 2013, after I had been at the company for over three years actually. They had all been talking about it for a long while, and finally got off the fence! When they were done they realized what a unique experience it is to become part of Mudder Nation and to conquer your fears and just have a ton of muddy obstacle-filled fun. It was one of the best days of my life.
Josh: Which city comes to play the hardest?
Alex: This is a tough question, no pun intended. Overall I’d say that the folks in the mountains, like Tahoe, Whistler, and Mount Snow are some of the hardest core Mudders. They have to deal with the black diamond hills we make them run up.
As far as “playing” in the post-event meaning, I’d say the Aussies and the Brits are tied for that honor, as both really know how to have a couple of pints. That said, the Germans actually get naked in the showers (ever heard of “Freikörperkultur”?) so I guess they are in contention too…
What to do before you sign up
Josh: What’s the number one thing a runner needs to know going into their first Tough Mudder?
Alex: The key to Tough Mudder is getting a great group of teammates together. You get each other through the course. Signing up and then posting on Facebook challenge for people to join you is the best way to get the team-building process started. It’s amazing how many people will sign up once they know that the first person has taken the leap and is definitely in for the event. Oh, and make team t-shirts, especially funny ones. We love seeing that at TMHQ.
Photo Credit: Tough Mudder
Sign up for your race at ToughMudder.com.