Preparing for Tough Mudder 2

We are going to interrupt the regularly scheduled post about Who You are… with one that is partially related: Preparing for Tough Mudder. There will be a few sections in this post where you will have to think through why you are at Tough Mudder. When I first started coaching, I thought that everyone had already heard this before, because it seems so basic but there is always someone who hasn’t heard it before, so if you are an experienced competitor, you can skip through this, even though I think it is always good to go over the basics. Oh and by the way, all of the mistakes listed here, I have first hand experience with. 🙂 First, the most general and basic:

  1. Rule number 1, Regardless of if you are there to win or just compete, on the day of competition or DOC, and this is the same if it is a running race, a weightlifting meet or any other stressful event, don’t do anything different on the day of competition than in training. What that means is do not eat or drink anything that you haven’t ingested in a workout on the DOC. If you haven’t already, run or workout in the clothes and shoes you plan to wear on the DOC, down to the underwear and socks. Really, it makes a difference. If you train with Gu or ClifBars, bring ’em, and don’t think they will have them at the race site.
  2. Rule number 2, be prepared mentally. Read all the material they give you, print it out and take it with you in your bag. Put your things out the night before and have a bag ready and packed that includes extra race wear and warm and dry clothes for post race. Can you prepare your breakfast the night before? If so, do it. Go to the event site before the event. Time how long it takes to get there and then add time for the extra people on race day. Read and re-read all the information the competition organizers give you (am I being annoying, sorry this is the lowest hanging fruit). Study the course. If you can, check out the start and finish area, platform, etc. If you can, walk/jog/ride the first part of the course so you won’t be surprised if you are really out of breath in the first mile. Same with the last part of the course, it is always good to know how far you have left to the finish line and where it is. You may laugh at this but you are not exactly thinking straight at the end of any event. In summary, there should be no thinking on race day, that’s how prepared you should be.
  3. Rule number 3, be prepared physically. If you have to cut your nails, your hair, get a pedicure, what ever you want to do, do it at least three days before the race, just in case anything goes horribly wrong.The week of the race/event, you will have to ask yourself “what are my goals?” Hopefully, you have already asked yourself that question when you started training, but things change. Are you there for a top 10 finish, or just to finish? Do you have a time or weight that you are shooting for? If so, you need to plan how you will achieve those goals. Regarding training the week before, most people will do a little tapering of activity the week or two before. What that means is keep the intensity up, but keep the volume down. That means run fast or lift heavy but not much. You should also start thinking recovery on these days, which means extra mobility/stretching and water. Vitamins that support your immune system like D, C and E are helpful, especially since longer endurance activities seem to put you at risk for upper respiratory infections  (this has been noted in The Paleo Diet for Athletes book and research papers Risk of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in Athletes: An Epidemiologic and Immunologic Perspective and Infectious episodes in runners before and after the Los Angeles Marathon.)
  4. When you get to the competition site, you may want to combine the site inspection with a light run/ride/lift. How are you going to warm-up for the race? Have you already done that specific warm-up before a workout? It would be a good idea to do this warm up in the days before the competition so you get the flow and the timing. It takes between 2 and 3 hours after you eat for the food to get to your muscles. Plan your pre-competition meal accordingly. Also plan on starting to eat and drink soon after the race starts if your event is longer than 2 hours. Electrolytes are helpful if the event is longer than 2 hours as well.

    Do I really have to mention that you need to stretch, eat (proteins and carbs) and rehydrate within 45 minutes after the event?

  5. Specifically, for the Tough Mudder:  Make sure you use your water system before the race, if you are going to use one. Finally, there is some danger running downhill fast, it can lead to Rhabdomyolysis. I think most of us are pretty safe because you can protect yourself by squatting heavy which most of us do. However, you can still get it if you run much faster than your training pace or have not squatted much. If you are in doubt, take it easy on the downhills.

Susan and I are really excited about the race; looking forward to a great experience.

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