As you know I recently did the Janurary Tough Mudder in Phoenix (and a 1/2 marathon the next day with my crazy friend Kathy). While it's fresh in my head, I wanted to blog how I trained to be in the best PHYSICAL shape of my life!
The idea was to train as functional as I could because most of the race you are running or walking to an obstacle, completing it, then running or walking again. I'll put down what I did and how I am tweaking that for my next one in June and September.
I set up a three month plan beginning in mid-October running until January (race day). Each month I trained a little different leading up to the race weekend.
Month One: I used this month to focus on running and HEAVY strength training. Using Chalene Extreme for my heavy lifting, I lifted M-W-F. I liked her program a lot because her strength focuses a lot on single leg moves, core and legs. You need that for the agility part of the Tough Mudder course. T, Th, and S I would run. I did sprints, a 3-5 mile tempo run, and one long run each week.
Each short run I ended with a body weight circuit. I alternating a 20 min. jump rope routine and a 20 min. Barbell Complex routine with 6 exercises (Deadlift, Upright Row, Push Press, Squat, Bentover Row, Push Ups).
On my strength days I include some kind of cardio like off and on the treadmill circuits for abs (usually high incline walking on the treadmill) or stairmaster intervals to simulate those hills and climbing you do on the course.
All workouts I try to keep to about an hour except for the long runs which are normally 6-10 miles.
Month Two: I finished the Chalene Extreme series this month. This month was quite the workout with more bodyweight moves and core work. Again, I did these M-W-F.
I changed my runs this month to be on M and W after the strength workout and I just did 2-3 mile smaller but faster runs.
T and Th I changed to doing a mix of either Insanity or Asylum from Shaun T. These videos focus more on plyometrics and Asylum, especially, has tons of sports drills. He also adds pull ups to the mix.
During my long run this month, I started adding in my own obstacles. For a few miles in the middle I would hop off the treadmill and do 1-2 minutes of a portion of Asylum's Game Time. I'd run and watch the video and when they did something that looked Tough Mudderish, I hopped off and did it with them, then back to running.
Month Three: I started P90X2 Foundation Phase. This backs off the strength and adds in a ton of functional movement. The foundation phase works core, push ups, pull ups, stability ball, and plyometrics. I went with the training as written except I only took off one day a week.
I also kept the long run with Game Time from Asylum. During more recovery type days from P90X2 I put in my runs. M-W-F was the more functional strength P90X2 videos (Full Body, Plyometrics, Balance and Power) with misc. stretching DVDs I have, T-Th was Core and Yoga/Mobility and Recovery after my shorter runs, and Saturday was always long run day with Asylum.
The next Tough Mudder I will focus a lot more on the intensity workouts with strength training and body weight circuits: lift three times a week, three runs a week (sprint day, hill day, 6-8 mile day), and one day of plyo-boot camp-style circuits for an hour. The key is to structure workouts that have you strong and able to control your own body weight.
In my opinion you need 12 weeks to train if you are new to Tough Mudder endurance style events and 8 weeks if you are physically pretty fit and able to do a half marathon.
I hope that helps and feel free to ask questions if you are thinking of doing one these.