Tough Mudder Training

TOUGH MUDDER VANCOUVER is on June 23-24 in Whistler, B.C. My friends and I registered a couple of weeks ago and I can’t stop looking at the map because I’m so excited! I’m sure this race will be 10x harder than The Warrior Dash but I’m going to be ready for it (unlike WD). I’ve seen the videos and I’m not nervous … yet … but I’m sure my stomach is going to be occupied with butterflies on the day of.

Probably the toughest event on the planet.

Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile race with 25 obstacles designed by the British Special Forces to test strength, stamina and mental grit. I say: BRING IT ON.


How fit do you need to be? Basically, you should be in good physical condition – complete slackers need not apply. At a minimum we recommend that you are running regularly (2+ times a week, working up to 5 miles per run), able to do 15-25 push-ups in a row, able to bang out 6 pull-ups in a row (especially the dudes), and able to swim 50 yards without stopping (although you can skip the water obstacles).


I’m not too worried— but knowing me, I’m underestimating the challenge. The biggest obstacle for me is the running part— I can do a 5 mile jog (despite the pain) BUT I hated running (although liking it now that I run with a group) and realized how hard it was for me to motivate myself to keep running. I can push myself to do burpees and bike up hills until my heart is about to give out without thinking twice but I can’t do the same for running. That mental barrier is something I’m still working on but I’m sure my team will make the experience more enjoyable.

Obstacles I’m looking forward to: plunging into ice cold water,  scaling walls, Cliff Hanger and crawling through mud.

Not looking forward to: Death March (that hill looks hauntingly familiar), monkey bars (need to seriously toughen up my bitch-hands) and the electroshock.

Here are some notes from some research I did on training for the Tough Mudder:


  1. *Running
  2. Strength, Endurance and Balance
  3. Mental Toughness
  4. Muscles used the most in order: Quads, Calves, Biceps, Forearms, Back, Abs, Hamstrings, Shoulders, Chest, Triceps

Training  Plan:

  • **Lots of intervals, HIIT and Tabata style training — I think this is the key!
  • Incorporate strength training with cardio
  • Body-weight & Loaded Weights
  • Tons of lower body training (quads, calves…) — will help with uphill running
  • Stairmaster to mimic hills — probably with HIIT to save time
  • Need to strengthen upper-body and do more pull-ups in a row
  • Swimming laps 2x/week
  • Running at least 2x/week to condition legs to long distances
  • Monkey Bars — I noticed random monkey bars in the corner of the courtyard of my building… I guess this was meant to be!
  • Biking to and from work (short 13km per way but hills galore)
  • Grouse Grind
  • Exercises: push ups, pull ups, squats, lunges, kettlebell swings, burpees, wall balls, balance / BOSU training…

My plan is to continue training as I’m doing now except do a lot more running which may mean sacrificing bike time (boo). This is exactly what I did when I did The Ride to Conquer Cancer last year— I continued my usual workouts and just increased the cardio with lots of biking (mostly with intervals/HIIT/hills). I definitely can’t afford visits to a Canada Drug Pharmacy for meds anymore so I will have to plan this throughly to include recovery days.


  • EAT LOTS DURING TRAINING! That’s a shitload of cardio you need to be properly fueled for.
  • Real foods, good carbs, tons of water and some indulgences are okay.
  • Few days before race, maintain a high sodium diet to retain water to prevent dehydration before the race.
  • Heavy carbs the night before.
  • Light breakfast on day of .
  • Drink plenty of water and Gatorade the day before the race.

Other Notes:

  • Maintain a good pace. I hope my teammates are good pacers because I suck at pacing.
  • Walk if needed but KEEP MOVING. It’s a lot harder to start again if you completely stop.
  • Don’t wear cotton as it soaks up water. Wear Dri-Fit.
  • Bring workout gloves for more grip during the obstacles.
  • Have fun!!
  • …and convince Boyfriend to do the race. I’m sure he doesn’t want to do it because he doesn’t want to wait for us. Haha.

Are YOU doing the Tough Mudder? If you are thinking about it and unsure, JUST DO IT. Don’t be afraid of challenges— they only make you stronger. What do you have to lose?

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