Tough Mudder Training – Core Principles Introduction

In November, I completed the Tri-State Tough Mudder with my lovely wife (and yes, she’s tougher than me). It was totally a rush. Different than anything I’ve ever done and now I’m hooked and have signed up for the Pennsylvania Mudder in May. My wife won’t be doing it with me this time. As she put it, “The Mudder was so hard she’d rather run a marathon and give birth in the same afternoon than do another.” Seeing as she has run two marathons and birthed our two kids without any drugs, she can make statements like that.

Anyway, since the Mudder is about camaraderie, I recruited a new team…some friends from high school, a college buddy, a friend of a friend, etc. I’ve gotten some questions from the team about what to do to train. And while I’m not an expert, I think I prepared myself pretty well for the first Mudder so I thought I’d share what I did.

My teammates and I do not live near each other, our fitness levels likely vary a lot, and our schedules do not mesh well so we will not be training directly together in person. That being said, I’ve assembled some Core Training Principles that served me well while training that I think will be helpful to the team…and to others who might be training for the Mudder. I’ll be delving into each in a series of posts, but for those who want the Cliff’s Notes version to get started, here they are, followed by the actual training I did for the first Mudder.

The Coffee Renter’s Tough Mudder Training Core Principles

1) Identify an Inspiration – To keep on doing…

2) Assess your Fitness Level – At first and Often.

3) Pick a Base Workout(s) – Total Body Strength Training, Core, and Cardio.

4) Incorporate Functional Exercises – Pick Pushups over Bench-press.

5) Focus on the Exercise Intensity, Not Duration – Short Intense Burst are Best.

6) Exercise Outside as much as possible – Get used to the elements.

7) Include Recovery Days in your Workout Plan – Plan them, don’t just take “a day off”.

8) Mix it up – Avoid that plateau by doing different exercises.

9) Share your progress – To keep you honest and accountable.

Now, I’ll be expounding on each of these in subsequent posts, but for now, I’ll just describe a rudimentary workout that worked well for me:

The Coffee Renter’s Base Workout Model: Do a set of Pushups, Run a Mile, assess how you feel, if your joints/muscles aren’t hurting too much, rinse repeat until you’re done. Be sure to stop before you hurt yourself.  Scale the # of pushups in each set to your current fitness level. If you’re not currently running much, initially scale the mile to say half a mile. The next time you do the workout, swap the pushups out for Pullups, Lunges, Bur-pees, etc. Just keep varying the strength training exercises to hit every muscle group in your body and to keep it guessing. Be sure to take a recovery day initially between these workouts. As you get stronger and get a better sense of your progress you’ll have a better idea on when to take recovery days.

This should get you started. I’ll be touching on each of these Core Principles and providing more examples over the next week or two. I’ll be sure to update this post with links as well. For now, keep on doing…Tough Mudders! And remember, you’re only renting the coffee; so enjoy yourself!

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5 Responses to Tough Mudder Training – Core Principles Introduction

  1. I ran the Florida Tough Mudder and I will be signing up again for the 2012 course. Loved it. I would also recommend this site for a good push up routine; http://hundredpushups.com/. It is free and it is kicking my butt. Good luck!

  2. coffeerenting says:

    Thanks, MBN! I’ve done the Hundred Pushups and agree it is a great training regimen. Your comment is an excellent lead in for one of my followup posts.

  3. Pingback: Tough Mudder Training – Core Principle 1 – Identify an Inspiration | Renting the Coffee

  4. Pingback: Tough Mudder Training – Core Principle 2 – Assess your Fitness Level | Renting the Coffee

  5. Pingback: Tough Mudder Training – Core Principle 3 – Pick a Base Workout | Renting the Coffee

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