Training for Tough Mudder, Weeks 1-2.

I did my first Tough Mudder last year and within an hour of finishing it, I’d booked my second. It’s a tough physical and mental challenge but has incredibly social feel to it from the festival like stalls out front to the team spirit cemented through the race.

But it does require a bit of preparation; you can’t just turn up and ease your way though a half marathon length obstacle course. So over the next 16 weeks I’m going to go through my training for Tough Mudder.

So I keep myself in good general fitness, but 16 weeks out is when I begin to train specifically for the race, preparing specifically for the challenges of the race.

So my workout is split into two strength workouts, two endurance workouts and one long run with my week looking like this:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Strength Training Endurance Training Rest Strength Training Endurance Training Rest Long Run

So let’s look into the strength training:

Week one
Type Exercise Reps Sets Weight rest time
Primary Front Squat 5/4/3/3/3 2 warm ups / 3 working 65/70/80% of  1 Rep max 1 minute 30 -2 minutes
Primary Pull ups 5/4/3/3/3 2 warm ups / 3 working 65/70/80% of  1 Rep max (including body weight) 1 minute 30 -2 minutes
Primary Shoulder Press 5/4/3/3/3 2 warm ups / 3 working 65/70/80% of  1 Rep max 1 minute 30 -2 minutes
Accessory DB Bench Press 10 3 working 70% of  1 Rep max 30 seconds – 1 minute
Accessory Back Row 10 3 working 70% of  1 Rep max 30 seconds – 1 minute
Accessory Knee Raises 16 3 working 70% of  1 Rep max 30 seconds – 1 minute

 

Week Two
Type Exercise Reps Sets Weight rest time
Primary Front Squat 4/3/3/3/3 1 warm ups / 4 working 72.5/82.5% of  1 Rep max 1 minute 30 -2 minutes
Primary Pull ups 4/3/3/3/3 1 warm ups / 4 working 72.5/82.5% of  1 Rep max (including body weight) 1 minute 30 -2 minutes
Primary Shoulder Press 4/3/3/3/3 1 warm ups / 4 working 72.5/82.5% of  1 Rep max 1 minute 30 -2 minutes
Accessory DB Bench Press 10 4 working 70% of  1 Rep max 30 seconds – 1 minute
Accessory Back Row 10 4 working 70% of  1 Rep max 30 seconds – 1 minute
Accessory Knee Raises 18 4 working 70% of  1 Rep max 30 seconds – 1 minute

So the workout is split into 3 primary movements and 3 accessory movements, the Primary movements are exercises that relate directly to the obstacles that you would face. I’ll go into my choices in more detail in later articles.

Accessory exercises help balance out the workout, and provide extra training to muscle groups that would support your primary movements.

As a rule, I always do 5 sets of a primary exercise and at this point you should always feel like you should be able to do 1 to 2 more reps at the end of a set. This will change as we go though the season, working towards peak strength.

Endurance wise the workout look like this:

Muscle Endurance Week 1 Week 2
Weight target Circuits Duration Circuits Duration
Sprints +5KM Pace 3 4 mins 3 4 mins
Band High rows 30% 1RM 4 mins 4 mins
Press ups / Half Press ups BW 4 mins 4 mins
Sprint +5KM pace 4 mins 4 mins
Band High rows 30% 1RM 4 mins 4 mins
alternating DB Lunges BW 4 mins 4 mins
Rest 2 mins 2 mins
Total Session Time 76 76

So the point of this phase is to build up your muscles ability to withstand lactic acid, or simply how long your muscles can last before they start to burn. Again exercises are chosen to be specific to the challenges provided by the course and split into Primary and accessory moves. The key here is light and lots of repetitions.

The big Primary move here is the short sprints between movements, as this is the closest match to Tough Mudder. The biggest misconception is that Tough Mudder is similar to a straight half marathon, leaving people to overly focus on distance running. In truth it’s a series of medium distance running bursts punctuated with obstacles and rest stops, giving you time to recover. So if you train to withstand fast, quick bursts with active recovery you’ll fair much better.

These workouts are long, but if you want to modify them for an hour’s workout you can set it up like this:

Muscle Endurance Week 1 Week 2
Weight target Circuits duration Circuits duration
Sprint 5KM Pace 3 2 mins 30 3 2 mins 30
Band High rows 30% 1RM 2 mins 30 2 mins 30
Press ups / Half Press ups BW 2 mins 30 2 mins 30
Sprint 5KM pace 2 mins 30 2 mins 30
Band High rows 30% 1RM 2 mins 30 2 mins 30
alternating DB Lunges BW 2 mins 30 2 mins 30
Rest 2 mins 2 mins
Total Session Time 49 49

You’ll still develop muscle endurance, though obviously not as much as someone who has trained for longer time frames.

And then to the long run.

You still need some long distance capacity, so over the course of the next 16 weeks we’ll also add a slow along run. Starting at shorter distances and building up towards 2 hour runs.

Week 1 and 2 look like:

Week 1 Week 2
25 minute run 35 minute run

 

And that is your basic tool kit for your first two weeks of Tough Mudder training; I’ll get into the specifics as we go along this series, as well as modifications to the workouts to improve your abilities.

Good luck, and most importantly, have fun.

 

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One thought on “Training for Tough Mudder, Weeks 1-2.

  1. Pingback: Training for Tough Mudder, weeks 3-4. | GetFit PT

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