Tips For Conquering The Toughmudder

On New Year’s Day, my friend Michelle and I were sitting in Las Vegas indulging in crepes and nursing our headaches from the night before.  Naturally, we began discussing New Year’s Resolutions and our goals for the coming year.  My number one goal at that particular moment was none other than to stop my head from pounding, but Michelle had more ambitious ideas in mind.


From Team Vegas...


Michelle: “Let’s sign up to run a Toughmudder this year.”

Me: “What’s that?”

Michelle: “Oh, you know, one of those 12 mile races where you jump in ice water and get electrocuted and run through fire.”

The next words out of my mouth later convinced me that I must have still been drunk: “Sign me up!”


...To Team Whoop!


Needless to say, eight months of training and one COMPLETED Toughmudder later, it was probably one of the best resolutions I’ve ever made.  If you’re considering doing a Toughmudder or another extreme race, stop thinking and sign up today.  You’ll thank us later (after the bumps, bruises, and soreness wear off!)  Here’s some tips and tricks that pulled me through to the finish line and orange sweatband:

Pre-Race Tips

1. Tell the world you’re training.  Announce it to your friends, family, and co-workers.  Post about it on Facebook and Twitter.  Not only will you have a huge support network, but think how embarrassing it would be to announce to all those people that you didn’t, in fact, finish, because the mud piled in your sneakers was getting too uncomfortable.  For shame!  Talk about motivation.


Pretty much our mantra of the morning!


2.  Run.  Okay, I have the upper body strength of a 6 year old boy.  I didn’t harp on the fact that on race day, I could still only do one pull-up (two if you count a little jump).  But remember, come race day you’ll have people to help out with the heavy lifting, but nobody will be able to improve your endurance for you.  While Toughmudder races are between 10-12 miles, the obstacles are placed about every half mile, providing plenty of breaks.  Is it necessary to pound out a regular 12 miles during pre-race training?  No.  However, I would recommend being able to jog at least 6 miles without getting winded…your teammates and the exhilaration of the race will carry you the rest of the way through.

3.  Go shopping.  Biggest mistake I made race day: running in cotton.  By the first obstacle I was saturated in mud and water (did I mention it was pouring down rain, too?!)  My shorts were drooping down to my knees, I was freezing, and let’s not even talk about the blisters I got from my socks.  Gear up with the right attire.  I’d reccomend:

-spandex everything

-water resistant socks (I heard Drymax are amazing!)

-gloves with great grip

-plenty of Power Gel packs to pin onto your clothes for training and race day (Green Apple is my go-to flavor!)

Also, make sure you wear your oldest, grimiest shoes on race day, cause most likely, they’re not coming home with you.


You can take the girl outta Vegas, but you can't take Vegas outta the girl!


Race Day Tips

1.  Give yourself a 2 hour window.  Two hours?!  Isn’t that a little excessive?!…that’s what my teammates and I thought.  But I promise you, It’s NOT.  Parking is pretty much a nightmare, and after we finally parked we had a 2 mile walk to even get to the starting line.  By the time you all check in (don’t forget your photo ID and waiver!), drop off your bags, put the warpaint on and push your way to the starting point, 2 hours has definitely come and gone.  Our 12:40 start time ended up being pushed back to 1:20.


Add to the pile, Mudders!


2.  Pick a post-race meeting spot.  We epically failed on this one.  Our team split up into 3 pieces, and trying to find each other afterwards (when thousands of people caked in mud were wearing the same orange sweatbands and silver blankets) was insane.  You’re wet, cold, sore, and the last thing you want to do is run around in more circles looking for people.

3.  Bring flip-flops, a towel, shampoo, and dry WARM clothes.  As stated before, you’re most likely not leaving with your shoes, and you’ll want to toss your clothes in the trash ASAP.  Toughmudder does provide showers, so bring the neccessary supplies so you don’t have to drive home a hot muddy shivering mess.


Never been so proud to rock an accessory before!


While there were definitely points during my training I had moments of, “WTF did I sign up for this again?!”, I can now happily say that claiming status as a Toughmudder is pretty much awesome.  A massive congrats and celebratory Hoo-RAW to all the other Mudders out there, especially Team Whoop…we did it!


Have you ran Toughmudder?  Share your tips and tricks below!



By: Jessica Tiare Bowen





  • Dean Smith says:

    Greetings from the UK!

    Northern England more specifically.

    Myself and 5 other intrepid warrior types have signed up for a Tough Mudder in our modest country. Safe to say we are so very very excited. All of us are very motivated types and will take this EXTRAORDINARILY seriously. 2 are personal trainers and a few of us are just very disturbed individuals. Found this site through a tweet you twatted me with and thanks for doing so they are very informative and stuff I would never think of. So thanks again. I will let you know how our ice training (swimming in the north sea at Christmas) and our strength training (carrying other team members to and from bars on pub crawls) goes! Hope you find the correct amount of insanity/Vegas induced confidence to sign up to another TM!


    @deansmith7 x

    • Used York City says:

      Sounds like EXCELLENT training opportunities you have there! Please keep me informed of how it goes, you guys will no doubt have an amazing time…both race day and the months leading up to it! I’m what you could call a TM convert now, and will definitely be signing up for more in the future (given they’re during the summer…I’m not too keen on cold weather!;-)

      Happy training, fellow Mudder!

  • Ugh, I’m so jealous! I really want to do one, but alas, there’s no time right now 🙁 Definitely will keep this in mind for when we get home from China. You’re right about telling everyone about it — broadcast to the world so you look like a complete wimp if you back out. Congrats and well done! Awesome shirt you get at the end!

    • Used York City says:

      I’m sure China will lend itself to tons of fun and scenic training opportunities…can’t wait to see pics and hear all about it! By the time you get back you’ll be ready to sign up and conquer the Toughmudder!

  • Good for you lady! Hats off.
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  • Michelle Hsiao says:

    Hoorah! Aww so glad we did this – it was so fun and a huge accommplishment =) We will def be doing this again and it motivated i think everyone to get more in shape and healthy. Love you TJ!

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