What Is A Tough Mudder? Everything You Should Know and How To Train


World’s Toughest Mudder: You don’t know what the obstacles are until a few days before the event. This makes training particularly tricky. Specific obstacle training is nearly impossible and must be reduced to its essential components. For example, I practice running in a wetsuit and work on both my grip strength and upper body endurance.

100-miler ultra running race: Barkley is the only ultra which shares this element of the unknown. 99.99% of other ultra race organisers reveal almost all course details a year or more in advance. This means participants can use their local hills, trails, saunas or other means to replicate the course and acclimatise their bodies to the exact conditions they’ll face on race day.


Can Beginners Do A Tough Mudder?

To someone who hasn’t participated in an obstacle course race before, Tough Mudders may seem intimidating at best—and downright horrifying at worst. Beginners can’t be blamed when they’re seeing droves of muscular people shimmying beneath barbed wire or swimming through near-freezing water.  

But beginners can absolutely participate in Tough Mudders. Tough Mudder courses are engineered so that teamwork is essential. It’s best to buddy up if you’re new to obstacle course racing, or fitness in general, so you have someone to help you get through the toughest obstacles.

Plus, you can always sign up for the shortest option—the Tough Mudder 5K—if you’re nervous about the endurance part of it. The Tough Mudder 5K is untimed, so you can take as long as you need to complete the course.

Everyone, but especially beginners, will benefit from a Tough Mudder training plan (described in detail below). Training properly will prepare your body for all elements of a Tough Mudder and can even help mentally prepare you for what’s to come. At the very least, a good training plan will instill confidence in you that you can attempt strenuous obstacles and make it through the course.

Even if you get to an obstacle you can’t complete, you can use the bypass lane. Of course, it’s good to challenge yourself, but safety comes first. If you think you’ll hurt yourself on an obstacle, just skip it.

Beginners can certainly complete a Tough Mudder with the right training plan.


* Efficiency is king in both types of event.* Nerves. I get equally nervous for both events.* inov-8’s TERRACLAW 220 is my go-to shoe for both. I wore it at last year’s World’s Toughest Mudder and again this year at the Cruel Jewel 100 and UTMF. It’s lightweight, fast and gives me fantastic grip over both obstacle race and ultra running courses.

Nickademus putting his favourite Terraclaw 220 s

Nickademus putting his favourite Terraclaw 220 s

Nickademus putting his favourite Terraclaw 220 shoes to the test in training

Follow Nickademus on Instagram for updates from the 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder. Also make sure to check out the CBS Sports Documentary on this year’s race, which will air on Christmas Day.

2020 Tougher Mudder

Here’s a look at what was scheduled for Tougher Mudder in 2020. Please check back for updates on next year’s event.

The Course

At a glance: 13 – 16 km, 25 obstacles. The course is run on Sunday, June 14 only.

Tougher Mudder takes the Tough Mudder signature course and adds a competitive, timed twist. This first start wave of the day allows Mudders to push themselves to a new level, while still maintaining the core values of teamwork and camaraderie. In addition to gaining first access to the course, participants will also get Tougher Mudder exclusive challenges, unique finisher gear, an official course time, and the ability to win prize money.

Tougher Mudder Teams

Are you tough enough? Try, and you might just surprise yourself. You can do the event solo, but there’s nothing better than getting friends and workmates together to tackle the event as a team, helping each other through the obstacles. Be inspired and uplifted (literally!). The extra support will make your day.

Safety and Precautions

Obstacle course racing is inherently a dangerous event. When you sign up for a Tough Mudder, you’ll complete a waiver releasing the company from legal trouble if you get injured (among other incidents). No physical activity comes without risks, so this waiver shouldn’t come as a surprise—participants should take it upon themselves to train properly before a Tough Mudder in order to reduce the risk of injury.

That said, unexpected scenarios can occur during obstacle course races, especially when the course is slippery and muddy. In addition to a good training plan, you can further reduce your risk of injury by investing in proper gear, such as obstacle course racing shoes with grips.

Make sure you have an emergency contact in case something happens—usually, participants add one during the registration process. It’s also a good idea to attend the race with a friend or family member who is not participating, so they can help in case of an emergency.


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