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January 16th, 2018
Posted In: Articles
I’ve been asked by quite a few people how I was able to hit 100+ miles back to back years at World’s Toughest Mudder after pulling out 45 miles in 2015 suffering from hypothermia. Well sometimes hard lessons are best learned when you go into an event not fully prepared, but that experience makes you return so much stronger. Here are a few life lessons and tips that can help you in preparing for Tough Mudder as well as a list of Tough Mudder gear.
The biggest mistake I made was not understanding the numerous dynamics of a 24 hour obstacle course race and especially the impact of the elements, the forgotten obstacle. Often during OCR we’re faced with either total or partial submersion obstacles that suck the heat right out of you and rapidly drop your core temperate. That’s multiplied even more at WTM where you’re in and out of the water so much more than any other race. Without the proper gear and nutrition it’s almost impossible to be out on course for the full 24 hours no matter how much training you did prior to the event.
Pic courtesy of Tough Mudder.
In order to be fully prepared for such a brutal race you need to have an option for every scenario since race day conditions are so unpredictable. For 2017 I took all the knowledge I gained from the past two years competing at Lake Las Vegas and made sure that my mind was 100% at ease when it came to gear. My biggest reassurance was in my wetsuit choices since it gets really cold at night. I planned to have a thickness for every possible situation from a 2mm smooth skin long sleeve top to a 5mm hooded fullsuit.
With a venue change in 2018 to Atlanta there’s a greater change of even colder weather than Vegas, even a possibility for below freezing temperatures at night. My suggestion is to get your gear early and test it out this winter or even at one of the 8 hour events. There are three must have items when you’re ready to pull the trigger.
You absolutely can’t go without are a great pair of neoprene gloves, thermal insulated hood/cap, and a smoothskin l/s neoprene zipper top.
For the gloves go larger than you normally wear since it’s hard to put them on and take them off when you’re cold and wet. Grip is also key so opt for a 5 finger glove like the 4mm O’Neill O’Riginals or the 7mm O’Neill mitten version which keeps you a little warmer since your fingers are not separated. The mitten is also much easier to take on and off, but you may have to cut the excess material that goes over your wrist off to help drain water. I’ve found to stay away from Drylock type suits or gloves for Obstacle Course events because you want the water to drain out when you start running. If you’ve already gotten something like this I suggest taking some scissors and cutting just a small slit to allow water to flow out.
For hoods there are a few different types and for obstacles like Augustus Gloop that shoots water down from up above, these are great! Or just go with an insulated triathlon swim cap. Hoods are awesome because you can just take them off if you get hot and stuff them inside your top, and when you start to cool down just throw it back on since your head is where a TON of heat escapes the body.
It’s most important to keep your body warm with a thicker top or even a full suit. There are a ton of great options and my main advice is to get something that has a smooth skin finish to help keep the wind out and warmth in. Again, I recommend NO Drylock or tight seams around the wrist and ankle that keep water in.
A final piece of Tough Mudder gear that’s necessary for the event is Body Glide which prevents chafing. You’ll need to re-apply it often during the race.
Hope this helps you in preparing for Tough Mudder. See you guys out there!
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