Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Tough Mudder Training Files: Week #3

A few months back I finally got suckered in by a flipping Facebook ad. While I enjoy Facebook and its warm and fuzzy social utility, I had resolved when I got one not to ever get suckered into their cheeseball marketing ploys. I was going to be better than that and resist their subconscious ploys for my attention. I was doing great until I saw the "one" - the ad that got me.
This one was described something called a "Tough Mudder" and featured a gnarly picture of someone (man? woman? it?) slathered from head to toe with nasty goo with a caption that read "The toughest event on the planet" or something to that effect. My fiance had run in several mud runs over the course of our relationship so I was somewhat familiar with mudder deal - run a 3K or 5K with some big 'ol mud holes along the way and have a ton of fun with friends. Comradeship and serendipity attitude accepted and  jerk-like competitiveness rejected. "So what on Earth could a "Tough Mudder" be?", I thought.  A longer race? Bigger mudpits? I literally had no idea and had to find out. Right Click.

NOOOOOOOOOOO...the Facebook marketing zombies got me!

The ad took me to the Tough Mudder site and I was literally taken aback with an odd mix of fear and excitement. Soooooo-what makes the ATL version of the Tough Mudder "tough"? Let's review...

The 10 mile course length? Nah.
The 12 foot high walls you have climb over near the end? Nada.
The ski hill mid-race? Nope.
The flaming hay bales you run through 2x? Definitely not.
THE LIVE WIRE STATION THAT COULD GIVE YOU A 10,000 V SHOCK?!?!?!?!?!?! Well...maybe.

Hope you sensed my extreme sarcasm...

Anyway - my jaw dropped when I saw that and I was like "Holy @&#^ -  I gotta do this!!!" Basically,  a tough mudder is a near 1/2 marathon mixed with an obstacle course designed by former British SAS members. The SAS is the equivalent to the Navy Seals or Green Berets in America - people who are paid to kick as much ass as possible. As I filled out the application form and signed a "DEATH IS POSSIBLE!" waiver (WTF right?), I thought to myself that I had better get myself ready for this with a kick ass training program or else my chiro will be living in my wallet for a few months.

Having trained myself quite successfully for a 1/2 marathon awhile back (Chattanooga Track Club - who need 'em?), I set my strength coach mojo to the task and got the creative juices flowing. This post documents Week 3 of my preparatory training phase for the mudder and my training approach to it. I am starting in Week 3 because it didn't occur to me until the other day that others might be interested to see my training log for this event.

Full disclosure: my training runs sucked in Week 1&2 and I don't want to share the lameness!

I will also try to share my insights into and observations about the mudder training process as I go. Without further ado...

Weeks until I get my butt handed to me - 7!

Deadlifts - Ramped up to 1x365lbs. 10,15,20 rep drop sets as I stripped the weights.
Even though there is a huge endurance component to this race, running up hills and climbing up crap requires some serious strength when you are 6'1 and 250lbs. Heavy lifting with lower volumes will definitely help me stay healthy in this one.

DB Chest Press - I basically did 5 reps with every set from 35lbs - 85lbs. Countless chin up reps with rock gym handles. Shoulder endurance sets of all sorts.
I killed my left shoulder last year in rugby but it held up surprisingly well during all this which is really encouraging. The mudder events are going to tear up my shoulders so I am really focusing on them. The rock gym pull up mounts at 24/7 Fitness? By far the most surprising and awesome find at this lame-o commercial place.

30 minute "hill" walk on a treadmill alternating between 0% grade and 15% grade. 
I had to do this after work and it sucked. I found out last year that prepping my joints for longer runs and hills by using a treadmill helps me to minimize accumulating stress on  my knees too quickly. However, you can't help but feel lame for doing it.

25 minute "Random" ride on a bike - level 5. Various Pallof Presses, Big Ball Rollout Isos, and Rock Wall Chin Up Isos.
Still working on building up my work capacity with this workout - felt only less lame than the day before. Pallof Presses are an awesome core drill and I highly recommend them. That is another area that I am really trying to bulletproof to keep my chiro away.

TRX circuit work - total body. Exercises, reps, sets all vary from week to week.
I am using the TRX at least once per week to simulate the instability and confusing muscle firing patterns I am sure to encounter while mudding it up. I have never until this point consistently used TRX for a full workout - it will crush you. Another highly recommended workout style to try.

5 mile training run. Completion time: 90 minutes?
I will be honest - I just wasn't up to task this day. It was my first outdoor run in a looooooong time and my ipod died after a mile. It was simply horrible and I felt like cupcake through out. I don't even know how long it took me really so that is just a guess.

Recovery! Pipe Rolls and Band Stretches!
If you aren't doing this kind of thing - you're stupid. 'Nuff said!

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