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Why You Should Do The Tough Mudder Half

© Tough Mudder

When we say 'Tough Mudder', there are a few things that spring to mind; mud, running and one hell of a challenge. But whatever you’ve heard, there's no denying that Tough Mudder is an event that has grown globally - there's even a community of so-called 'Mudder Women', competing in the challenge together around the world. Grazia decided to go along to a Tough Mudder Half (only 5 miles and without the electricity and ice) and find out what the hype is all about...

Ahead of the event, the Mudder Women shared their manifesto with us about the Tough Mudder challenge (notice the word challenge as none of these events are actually races – no PB required…) Basically, it all boils down to...

  • Fitness being defined by you and no one else (not even us)
  • Your fitness journey being fun and something you can share with friends
  • Getting out there, exploring the world
  • Not being afraid to get down and dirty
  • Building a community of women who share the same values, support each other and have fu

Sounds pretty great, right? And these points really did resonate during the event, too. We found ourselves talking to everyone around us (tunnel vision was well and truly switched off) and helping anyone and everyone on the course. It was actually quite confusing to feel so relaxed and happy whilst taking on this muddy challenge. After a few obstacles though, you really do switch off and you end up running with the mentality of, why not. The Mudder Women really support this team spirit and it’s why we wanted to ask them a few questions on their experiences.

Laura Hyatt, Blogger (@laurajhyatt)

When did you decide to take on your first Tough Mudder challenge and what was the motivation?

I only decided to do Tough Mudder around 8 weeks before. I was looking to do a challenge of some sort as I felt I wanted to really push myself and when it came up I just thought it was fate, so I signed up on the spot.

What did you do to prepare beforehand and have you done anything like this before?

I go the gym regularly already, so I didn't do any "special" training. I do weights which I think helped with the obstacles and I've ran a half marathon before, although running through mud is completely different to anything else.

So how did you find the course and were you surprised at all?

I'll be honest, I was slightly dreading it beforehand, and wondered why I had done this to myself. However, it was actually really fun. It surprised me how enjoyable it was. The team work makes it, and all helping each other over the walls (and helping you up when you’ve fallen in the mud!)

What advice would you give to a fellow Mudder Woman to be?

Assemble a good group of girls. This isn't a competitive race. It's not fun if you don't work together and support each other. You need each other. You will stumble, you will struggle, but if you've got friends you can laugh with and make a joke out of it, it'll be so much more fun. But on a practical level, wear some shoes with a good grip! I wore gym trainers and I was sliding all over the place.

Saffron Sheriff, Law student (@saffronsheriff)

First off, when did you decide to take on your first Tough Mudder challenge and what was the motivation?

I use to be a competitive bodybuilder until I had a car crash a year ago. I injured my shoulder and wasn't able to carry on bodybuilding. I was really upset and couldn't work out for over a year because of this! I felt very upset and embarrassed about my body image so I decided to enter a Tough Mudder to help build up my confidence again and give me a goal to work towards.

What did you do to prepare beforehand and have you done anything like this before?

Although I use to do a lot of weightlifting, it is not the same as being physically fit. Bodybuilding uses very controlled movements and obstacle running feels like the complete opposite. I have never run in my life and it was completely new. At the beginning, I was very embarrassed that I couldn't even run a single mile but I kept on running every day until I could eventually run 5 miles. It took me 10 weeks just to be able to run.

So how did you find the course and were you surprised at all?

I was completely surprised! I had this idea in my head that it was a race and when I was on the course, it was more like going on holiday with 500 friends. The atmosphere is unlike anything I've ever done in my life. Everyone wants to help you get through the course, and you also want to help others. You don't care about how long it takes you to get through the course, you just enjoy the journey.

What advice would you give to a fellow Mudder Woman to be?

Don't wear cotton, do wear old trainers, don't try to cover up, work as a team and most of all just enjoy yourself on the course.

Marjan, Food, Lifestyle & Travel Blogger (@Marjan.focus)

First off, when did you decide to take on your first Tough Mudder challenge and what was the motivation?

This year I finally reached my goal weight, having been slim and underweight my entire life. Thanks to so many food events as part of my freelance blog, I gained 10kg (22lbs) in the past year! As part of the weight gain, I started going to the gym for muscle growth and overtime, when I started seeing positive results, it motivated me to begin to challenge myself in different ways. I had heard of Tough Mudder before and I was always curious to join, so this year I built up the confidence to sign-up.

What did you do to prepare beforehand and have you done anything like this before?

Tough Mudder inspired me to start going to the gym more regularly, during my lunch breaks and after work, to focus on building strength ahead of the event. I had never challenged myself in this way before and I always had the misconception that this type of training would make you look too muscular, but it’s far from the truth! I developed curves in the right places and overall strength, which made me feel great. In my exercises, I made sure that weights were increased every two weeks to push my body to the limit. In the beginning of this journey, I could barely do 3 push-ups, whereas now, I can push-up in double digits.

So how did you find the course and were you surprised at all?

I found the run to be the physically challenging, but by no means impossible. The most surprising part was how much fun I had throughout the run, getting all down and dirty in the mud and the collaborative mentality of all the Mudders. There were Mudders of different body types and physical abilities and it was beautiful to see complete strangers encouraging and helping each other out. There was even a Mudder in a wheel-chair who completed the race – proving anyone can do it.

What advice would you give to a fellow Mudder Woman to be?

My advice to a Mudder Woman would be to embrace your strengths, whether physical or mental, and find the confidence to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Do not let the obstacles scare you, you can do it and everybody will help each other out. Tough Mudder may be challenging, but it will also be the most fun and liberating experience you will ever have.

If you’re up for the challenge then search for Tough Mudder online and whilst your there check out their ‘Cousin in the City’ 5k which starts in March 2018 in London and in August in Manchester and Edinburgh. It’s on a Friday night and it’s quite a way to start your weekend. Just don’t forget your crew. Visit www.toughmudder.co.uk for more information.

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