T Nation

Tough Mudder Training

So I’ve decided to enter the Tough Mudder race in Bear Valley this October. It’s a 7 mile race at high altitude (I think Bear’s base elevation is around 5500-6000ft, could be wrong) with 19 different obstacles. Shit like running through mud, swimming through tunnels, crawling through long tunnels made of tires or corrugated drain pipe, carrying big chunks of wood up hill and so on.

I haven’t done shit for cardio in the last several years that will prepare me for this. I’m a naturally good runner and have (when running frequently) run a sub-5 minute mile, completed 3 miles in less than 16 minutes, ran the Bay to Breakers in SF (7.4mi) in under 50 min(drunk as shit, mind you), and even ran 17mi around a track after accepting a challenge to run a marathon with no time to prepare for it. So I have the potential to become a really good distance runner again.

My question is: what sort of cardio do you guys recommend that will return me to this sort of shape without sacrificing a lot of size and strength? I’m about 190 right now but when I was running a lot I was about 170-175lbs. I plan on doing farmer’s walks, sprints while chained to a tire and rope climbing, along with some longer distance running with bricks in my hands. But I want to be able to at least maintain my strength, if not continue to gain it.

Do you guys feel that things like Tabatas, high-rep strip sets and things of that nature will have a carryover effect regarding running performance, provided I am also running some long distances on occasion (5-10 miles a week)? Or am I better off just biting the bullet and running myself into the ground until the race and dropping weightlifting as a major component to my workouts for a while?

sprints in any form. particularly hill sprints. i too am doin the tough mudder in austin, my buddy and i don’t run over five miles at a time. we both concentrate on hills and hill sprints done in intervals.

i wouldn’t drop the weights at all, i would add more plyo stuff though, things like box jumps and squats, etc. those will most likely help with the majority of the obstacles considering they are explosive movements.

try setting up a circuit with some cardio stations, compound lifts and plyo moves. idk be creative. good luck and have fun training!

[quote]robertgoulet wrote:
sprints in any form. particularly hill sprints. i too am doin the tough mudder in austin, my buddy and i don’t run over five miles at a time. we both concentrate on hills and hill sprints done in intervals.

i wouldn’t drop the weights at all, i would add more plyo stuff though, things like box jumps and squats, etc. those will most likely help with the majority of the obstacles considering they are explosive movements.

try setting up a circuit with some cardio stations, compound lifts and plyo moves. idk be creative. good luck and have fun training![/quote]

I’ll second this, I’m doing something similar for a similar race. Also don’t forget to atleast keep a longer run in so that your body will be used to the pounding a little. Good luck

I don’t have a ton of time each day to work out but I think I’ve got a pretty good routine worked out that I can (and have been) getting done in 60-120 minutes, depending on the cardio work.

I’ve been doing 5/3/1 for about six months now so everything is kind of based on that. I don’t do standing shoulder press since it always fucks up my right shoulder (pitched in college; I’ve got some lingering probs there) so I do weighted chins instead.

I stretch out and do some hip/knee/scapular mobility stuff, followed by a quick barbell circuit to get warmed up. Then I do seven sets of 3 reps with an explosive movement to build some speed for legs and power for upper body (jumping squats with about 25% of my 1rm on squat day and broad jumps with about 20 lbs of chains on my back for deadlift day and I do explosive bench press with about 45% of my 1rm and medicine ball slams with a basketball I filled with sand; probably weighs about 25lbs or so)

After this I do the first part of the 5/3/1 (squat, weighted chins, deadlifts, bench) with no assistance exercises. But after going to failure on the third set, I return to the weight I used for the first working set and perform that to failure as well, just to get a little more volume in and help maintain some size.

After that I do some cardio based on what body part I’m working that day. Squat day I run sprints while chained to an old tire. I keep the distance short on the 3x5 day, medium on the 3x3 day, medium again on the 5/3/1 day and then double the distance on the deload day (30, 50, 50, 100yds)

Deadlift day I do farmer’s walks with buckets of sand, starting with 5 trips up and down the street, then 6, 7 and finally ten on the deload day.

Weighted chins day I beat the shit out of a tire with my sledghammer for 4 sets of 30 sec, 4 sets of 45 sec, 4 sets of 45 and finally 5 sets of 60 sec on deload day.

Bench day I run for distance, but I run with a 15lb chain on my neck and I pick some landmark in town and jog real lightly to it, then run back to my house as fast as I can. The first landmark is a half-mile out, the second is a mile out, the third is a mile out and the fourth is two miles out for the deload day.

I do some direct arm and shoulder work at random throughout the week. I usually do a few heavy-ass sets of curls, seated military press from pins and supine db triceps extensions, then I do 4-6 strip sets of a random exercise for biceps, triceps and delts (usually some curl variation, triceps pressdowns and some sort of lateral raise).

I’ve noticed so far that the explosive movements are helping me continue to make gains in my primary lifts despite not doing any assistance exercises and I still get a decent pump after the fourth lighter set to failure and as such I’ve maintained the same weight despite doing some fairly intense cardio.

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
I don’t have a ton of time each day to work out but I think I’ve got a pretty good routine worked out that I can (and have been) getting done in 60-120 minutes, depending on the cardio work.

I’ve been doing 5/3/1 for about six months now so everything is kind of based on that. I don’t do standing shoulder press since it always fucks up my right shoulder (pitched in college; I’ve got some lingering probs there) so I do weighted chins instead.

I stretch out and do some hip/knee/scapular mobility stuff, followed by a quick barbell circuit to get warmed up. Then I do seven sets of 3 reps with an explosive movement to build some speed for legs and power for upper body (jumping squats with about 25% of my 1rm on squat day and broad jumps with about 20 lbs of chains on my back for deadlift day and I do explosive bench press with about 45% of my 1rm and medicine ball slams with a basketball I filled with sand; probably weighs about 25lbs or so)

After this I do the first part of the 5/3/1 (squat, weighted chins, deadlifts, bench) with no assistance exercises. But after going to failure on the third set, I return to the weight I used for the first working set and perform that to failure as well, just to get a little more volume in and help maintain some size.

After that I do some cardio based on what body part I’m working that day. Squat day I run sprints while chained to an old tire. I keep the distance short on the 3x5 day, medium on the 3x3 day, medium again on the 5/3/1 day and then double the distance on the deload day (30, 50, 50, 100yds)

Deadlift day I do farmer’s walks with buckets of sand, starting with 5 trips up and down the street, then 6, 7 and finally ten on the deload day.

Weighted chins day I beat the shit out of a tire with my sledghammer for 4 sets of 30 sec, 4 sets of 45 sec, 4 sets of 45 and finally 5 sets of 60 sec on deload day.

Bench day I run for distance, but I run with a 15lb chain on my neck and I pick some landmark in town and jog real lightly to it, then run back to my house as fast as I can. The first landmark is a half-mile out, the second is a mile out, the third is a mile out and the fourth is two miles out for the deload day.

I do some direct arm and shoulder work at random throughout the week. I usually do a few heavy-ass sets of curls, seated military press from pins and supine db triceps extensions, then I do 4-6 strip sets of a random exercise for biceps, triceps and delts (usually some curl variation, triceps pressdowns and some sort of lateral raise).

I’ve noticed so far that the explosive movements are helping me continue to make gains in my primary lifts despite not doing any assistance exercises and I still get a decent pump after the fourth lighter set to failure and as such I’ve maintained the same weight despite doing some fairly intense cardio.

[/quote]

Hey, my friends and I are signing up for a mudder in April and I was wondering how your training went, what your experience was, and what you’d do differently if you could do it again. Any sight would be greatly appreciated.