Our 16th September Tough Mudder date is fast approaching. And we’re all in denial! Well, most of us are, anyway (Lucinda is storming through her training!). The thing about Tough Mudder is that it’s so hard to know how to to train for it. We love that we can never predict exactly what obstacles we’ll be encountering in obstacle course races but it means that when time is limited, it’s hard to know what to focus on.
We all had high hopes of being able to train together for Tough Mudder but it turns out that pinning down dates where all four of us are free is virtually impossible. Since when did life get so busy?! We managed to get three quarters of us together for The Warrior Method bootcamp but aside from that, training has had to be done separately.
I invited Hannah, Lucinda and Rosie to share an update on their training and discuss the types of exercise we’re doing and what we’re finding most challenging.
Having been convinced to sign up for Tough Mudder, (um, yes, convinced!) I have mostly been anxious and excited! I have never even run a half marathon before, let alone with a ton of obstacles in front of me… (Christmas shopping on the 24th December doesn’t count!) The furthest I’ve run is a 10k and that was a challenge for me. I’m not a great runner, in fact, I’d call myself a jogger, as I don’t think I’ve ever actually run for anything other than a train! However, having completed a few fun obstacle course races recently, I am looking forward to the camaraderie, the laughs and the finish line!
What’s my training been like? Well…
This summer, I have been travelling and visiting family in the USA and Canada. Carrying a backpack that exceeds my baggage allowance has been an obstacle in and of itself. Also, being around a 3 year old for three weeks has been exhausting! All that energy… but seriously, I have been swimming, cycling, jogging and joining a few new classes throughout the summer and have actually enjoyed doing it. I know, who knew? What I haven’t worked on improving is my upper body strength. This is because I have been slowing trying to strengthen these muscles due to an injury. A strong upper body is integral to any obstacle course race, but I’m sensible and I don’t want to push my body, potentially causing more harm than good.
I’ve loved cycling this summer; it’s a great form of low impact steady exercise, as well as transport!
It’s been an easy decision to swim loads when the water is warm and the sun is shinning. However, I should probably head to the local outdoor pool now I’m back in London, just to brace myself for the colder temperatures!
My motivation and enthusiasm has been increased due to the warmer climates that the summer months bring. Plus, “I’m going for a jog”, has been a viable excuse to run away from the 3 year old, but then run back to her because it’s crazy how much I would miss that little monster (I’d only have been gone 20 minutes! Genuinely not an excuse not to jog.)
However, it’s been hard finding a routine as I’ve been travelling. I’ve used the resources I’ve had, like the ocean! However, the heat often gave me an excuse not to go for a jog; it was crazy hot. Also, discipline. Yup, I still love pizza and burritos and these are my go-to foods (naughty) when travelling. And I’ve had a few cocktails with little colourful umbrellas adorning my glass. Oh dear, this list could go on. Anyway… so my diet has been naughty.
Now I’m back in the UK, I’ve been struggling with jet-lag and lack of motivation because it’s so cold. (I’m writing this with a duvet wrapped around me.) I like to be warm and cosy.
Oh my word, what have I signed up for…..
There’s nothing like the deadline of a looming fitness goal to make you hang up the excuses and get moving. After committing to the HLL Tough Mudder team, I have been gradually working towards building up my strength and endurance, which I hope will make the challenge of a 12-mile obstacle course caked in mud slightly more enjoyable…? Well, less painful at least!
My programme has involved a mixture of endurance exercise; running, cycling, swimming and some rowing and strength work – lifting weights in the gym. I walk an hour every day as part of my commute to and from work and also aim to fit in at least four hours of heart rate-raising exercise a week as a baseline, sometimes it’s less and sometimes it’s more. I listen to my body and if I am completely shattered, I will choose to sleep over pushing myself to exercise when my body is already depleted.
I really listen to my body, and am mindful of past injuries and niggles. I don’t stick to a strict timetable with my training, but I set out a weekly target of how many hours endurance I want to achieve, including a minimum number and aim for one strength session a week. Depending on how my body feels on the day, I will then make a decision about how I spend that hour. If I feel particularly energised and spritely, I will challenge myself to push harder on a run, but if I wake up hardly able to walk, due to calf stiffness and tender Achilles, I will opt out of running altogether that day, and choose a non-weight bearing alternative, such as swimming or cycling instead.
I feel my fitness is improving. I am able to run for longer with fewer niggles in my hip and Achilles – the two main trouble spots for me when running. I have been really enjoying the cross training, especially swimming in Richmond’s outdoor pool in the park, which has been an absolute joy, particularly on sunny days, and I am reaching my target of building in an extra ten lengths each week.
It has been hard to keep the consistency in training, but that’s mainly due to the nature of my job and keeping the motivation up when feeling exhausted. My work schedule is sporadic and involves rather unsociable hours and shift work, which does make finding any routine a challenge. Of all my weekly training targets, strength work and stretching are the two elements of my programme which are most likely to get overlooked if I am particularly overtired or short on time. I am going to make an extra effort to incorporate these elements in the lead up to the event.
I find fitting in regular training extremely hard and I’m conscious that I can’t rely on past fitness levels to get me through this. After all, since I ran my last obstacle course race, I’ve gotten married, travelled the world and had a baby – my fitness levels are totally different now! A lot of my fitness now has been concentrated on repairing my body after giving birth, and I’ve been supplementing that with light cardio, bodyweight exercises and DeRose Method.
Having a one year old who is very active has made me creative with my workouts and there’s rarely a day that passes where I’m not bear-crawling around after him. There’s also a lot of lifting, carrying and putting down of him, which being a moving 10kg weight can make it rather tricky!
I’m really looking to taking on Tough Mudder with my team. I know that whatever challenges we’ll face, we’ll face them as a team and with lots of laughs.
Even though each of us have been training at different intensities, we know that even if we haven’t trained as a team, we’ll run and finish as a team. Our team is about supporting each other and helping strengthen each other’s weaknesses. We are strong on team spirit and that will get us through the 12 miles and 20 obstacles.
We’re lucky enough to be fuelled by For Goodness Shakes, so at least that’s our pre and post training nutrition taken care of!
BRING IT ON.