Wednesday, April 14, 2010
18 Days to the Tough Mudder - How to Run in Mud
So far, I've talked about hills, strength, trail running, endurance, and obstacle courses during my updates on training for the Tough Mudder. But I haven't touched on one of the key components of the event -- mud! I've said it before and I'll say it again, you're going to need more than running experience to do this event. Have you ever run in mud? Do you have any idea what that might be like? I'm not talking a wet puddle along the edge of a road, I'm talking quick-sand type, ankle to mid-calf or deeper muck that just sucks you in like you're going to bottom. No, you will not be able to run in it. You'll be lucky if you can wade through it one step at a time, using both hands to pull each leg out as you go along. Now I can't say for sure what type of mud to expect at the Tough Mudder, but based on what I've seen at Bear Creek, I can guarantee the edges of those ponds have some gooey stuff that will make you sink at least to your ankles. You'll slip and slide and lose your balance. Guaranteed, you'll be covered in mud from crawling over, under and through mud-slicked obstacles. If you've never experienced mud-running, think of soft sand at a beach. You get tired, don't you just by walking in it. That's what the Tough Mudder will be like and where the endurance training will come in handy. I'm sure there will be numerous sections of strength zapping gooey slippery areas to maneuver through. In other words, you won't be running the full 7 miles. It'll be more like run, stop, slip, slide, run, fall, eat mud, run, walk, crawl, stand, jump, crawl, run, wait, climb, spit mud, laugh, cry, and in the end - smile like hell. My training for the past couple days included a long mountain bike ride (3.5 hrs), a nice ez 5-mile run on Monday evening (about a 10:30 mile pace with some smallish hills), a little core/strength yesterday, and some more core/hill running today if I can fight off my stomach flu for an hour to get the hill runs in. Tomorrow is a kayaking day (strength), and Friday is rest. I'm hoping to do a nice long (7 + miles) trail run combined with a mountain bike ride on Saturday if the rain holds off. With just about 2 weeks remaining until the Tough Mudder, I feel ready. Can't wait!