Filthy mud pits, gruelling obstacle courses, difficult climbs and lots of running and jumping.
These are just a few of the things participants face when tackling an endurance-based event such as the Tough Guy and Gal Challenge. If like thousands of New Zealanders you’re set to brave the mud in 2016, check out my training tips below.
1) Start slow
Training should be progressive. Start off slowly and build up to help prevent injury. With regard to running, try the 10 percent rule – increase your total distance and volume by 10 percent each week. This will allow your body to adapt and cope with the load of increased training while helping to prevent injury.
2) Diversify your training
There are a number of ways to develop aerobic endurance. As well as running, try a few sessions per week on the bike or in the pool (which will help take the load off the legs).
3) Work the upper body
Use resistance training to increase your upper body strength (this will help to pull you over all those hurdles, cross the monkey-bars and climb the ropes). Push-ups, burpees, lat-pulldowns, pull-ups and crawls are all great exercises to incorporate into your training.
4) Work the lower body
You’ll need power to jump over obstacles and pull your muddy shoes out of the swamps. Resistance exercises such as squats, jumping lunges, deadlifts and split squats are all good options. Including compound exercises that work the entire body (rather than isolating single muscle groups) would be very beneficial.
5) Try HIIT
High intensity interval training can improve your fitness and is a fantastic way to make cardiovascular gains without the extra time that traditional endurance-training sessions may entail.
Try running for two minutes at 80 percent of your age predicted maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) followed by one minute at 50-60 percent of your age predicted heart rate. Repeat this 4-8 times depending on your fitness level (and make sure to warm-up first). You could also try this form of training on a rowing machine to help prepare you for these tricky challenges that involve both strength and endurance.
6) Warm up / cool down
Always warm up before your session and cool down afterwards. This should include stretches which will reduce your risk of injury.