They don’t call it the “premiere obstacle course series in the world” for nothing. Tough Mudder, a 10-12 mile endurance challenge designed by British Special Forces, is a lethal combination of rugged terrain, military-style obstacles (like crawling through cargo nets), and mud. Lots of mud. People who participate in Tough Mudders—which take place in cities all over the world—often go to pretty crazy extremes in an effort to simulate aspects of the course. And One Mudder loyalist in particular, Andy Thom, is actually a Tough Mudder trainer who does just that. He let us in on six crazy ways to prep yourself for the race.
1. Car Pulling and Pushing
When Thom is training aspiring Mudder participants, he attaches them to his Chevy Trailblazer. Really. One person sits in the driver’s seat and pumps the brakes every once in a while to give the puller/pusher a bit of momentum. “It really strengthens your legs like you wouldn’t believe,” he says. “Some of the courses, like the one in the Poconos, are up ski slopes. That will just blast your quads. We don’t have the luxury of having ski slopes here, so we have to simulate it. Once you get the car going, it’s really not that hard.” Sure.
2. Running Barefoot
Thom has been a huge fan of “minimalist” running for years. “By going on barefoot runs outside, it gives you an advantage as far as your form goes,” he says. “Shoeless running is less hammering on your joints, and you absorb each footfall better. Mudders are almost 90 percent running, so you need to be prepared for that.”