The Manual’s Guide to the Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder, Vermont, 2012

Our favorite adult ‘what the hell am I doing getting electrocuted in mud’ obstacle course, Tough Mudder, is army crawling it’s way into New Hampshire this June. We spoke with Director of Marketing Operations, Ashley Pinakiewicz, about the upcoming course and what every Mudder should know.

It’s not a race

Tough Mudder is a team event. It’s all about community and helping one another along the way (like when your buddy gets knocked out cold by a hanging live wire.)

Pinakiewicz explains, “Tough Mudder courses are virtually impossible to complete alone. Even if you could do it alone, why would you want to? 80% of participants register as part of a team. If you don’t have one going in, don’t worry – you’ll make one along the way.”

The mental challenges can be worse than the physical ones

If you can run up to six miles comfortably and have gone through the Tough Mudder Boot Camp guide, you’ll be in good physical shape for the course. But that’s only part of the challenge. You will have to jump from man-made cliffs, tunnel into the dark, plunge into freezing cold water, and crawl beneath open electrical currents. The moments when you’ll want to get the hell out of there and go grab a beer will be when your mental endurance is pushed to the brink. The best way to mentally prepare is simply to know that you will have these moments and that you can push right past them. In addition, try adding a few minutes of meditation to your training regimen. As Pinakiewicz advises, “Be ready to face your fears.”

Protect your head

Okay, we’re not asking you to wear a helmet. But you might have an easier time with the course if you can protect your head by covering it with your arms during the electric eel section (long wires hanging from above). If you can handle a shock or two to your arms, you’ll have a better chance of avoiding a one to the skull and blacking out.

Your pain is going to a good cause

The course is killer, but it’s also really fun. “People know that it’s going to be a challenge, and it definitely is, but it’s not the kind of challenge that makes you miserable,” Pinakiewicz reminds us. Tough Mudder’s mission – to help you push your boundaries and overcome physical and mental obstacles – aligns with its efforts to do something great for the world. To date, Tough Mudder participants have raised more than $5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project, assisting returning service members who have overcome enormous obstacles. So while it might feel like you’re in a warzone at certain times during the course, it might help to remember that you’re supporting the people who actually are.

If you can’t make it to the Tough Mudder this June, check out their schedule for upcoming events worldwide.