We take on Tough Mudder, the mighty, muddy obstacle course
Deni joined Samsung to complete an 11-mile Tough Mudder challenge with influencers and fitness stars Alice Liveing, Olivia Cox and Born Brikor.
I was submerged in what I can only describe as ‘gunk’, ‘goo’ or ‘sludge’ more times than I was prepared for.
I truly thought I may get away with no dunking at all, completing the challenge almost untouched by dirt except a little mud-splash here and there.
Yet here I was, chest-deep in my fifth pool of ‘brown’ en-route to the Tough Mudder finish line.
Mud was everywhere, and it was never optional
The first time during the 11-mile race that muddy water soaked me to the waist, I decided to throw caution to the wind. By the end, my shoes and socks were done for. I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye to my nice black Vans, but, take it from me, you must be. Wear your tattiest (but most practical) pair. My leggings took a beating but may recover, while my top and bra should be okay.
It may sound pretty hellish (and I really was looking forward to completing this beast) but more often than not it was anything but torturous.
In fact I actually felt like a naughty kid who was, for the first time, being allowed to fulfil their dreams of getting really dirty and basking in the glory of it; a truly glorious experience many of us were denied or told off for as youngsters. But you know what, now we’re old enough to make up our own minds. Take that, mum. Because that’s really what Tough Mudder really is; a bunch of fully-grown men and women laughing their way through a giant-sized mud-pit.
However, it is especially made for adults, and as well as the devil-may-care fun of it there is a very serious challenge aspect too.
There are tasks not to be messed with or taken lightly – such as crawling through mud under barbed wire, and a ‘monkey climb’ requiring participants to stick a peg into a hole with each hand and move it up as they climb a tall wall. One slip and you’ll be on the floor.
Team Mudder refrain from calling it a race – ‘it’s a CHALLENGE’ – for reasons that when things are this tough (the challenges really are all very tough) you NEED to be pulling each other through rather than stepping on and over each other to get to the finish line first. I don’t even know my finish time because I wasn’t given it; that’s how little they focus on competition here.
It was this notion of camaraderie in particular that got me through and encouraged me to take on challenges that in the first instance I was hesitant to entertain. I’d see a muddy water pool with heads bobbing on top, lined with width-wide giant rotating rectangle cuboids.
Participants would cling on to the edge and weight it down so it would flip them into the next section of, yes, neck-deep muddy water. No way in hell, I thought. I’m a weak swimmer. But up close I saw the strong-looking, smiling burly men helping everyone get over, pushing people onto the cube and gently letting it flip them in. They were not only surviving the task but having a lot of fun with it too. The support of my team: Alice Living, Olivia Cox and our very own pro-trainer, Born Barikor, who was incredibly supportive both physically and mentally, got me through.
As well as fab team members and a can-do attitude, there is one more thing that will help you have an amazing time at Tough Mudder: proper training and prep.
Now of course there is only so much you can prepare for a peg-in-hole climbing wall, but let’s not forget there’s an 11-mile run to deal with, and that’s through thick mud most of the way.
So how can we prepare?
Getting those workouts in – including building upper body strength through resistance training, and building stamina through endurance cardio training – will most certainly help prepare you for Tough Mudder.
If you like training in the gym I recommend focussing on compound exercises, core work and weight-based upper-body work – including back, biceps, shoulders and triceps – as well as jogging on an inclined treadmill.
I did all this and used my Samsung Gear Fit2 GPS sports band and Samsung Gear S3 smart watch devices to track my training and the new Galaxy S8 phone to sync all my data in one place and take amazing photos during prep and on the big day.
Several features on the Gear Fit2 and Gear S3 impressed me and definitely enhanced my experience of getting ready for Tough Mudder.
Firstly, the S3 looks like a traditional timepiece but its functions will blow you away; it tracks your sleep quality, and syncs really well with your phone, letting you actually USE it as a phone with most functions totally transferrable.
The Fit2, meanwhile, is a sleek, tidy, ninja-like gadget which looks more like a fitness tracker.
The Fit2 tracks everything from metabolic rate to calories burned during exercise to flights of stairs climbed each day, steps walked and yes, it performs some phone functions too. The Fit2 tracks your route (with the GPS, of course), speed and distance, so you can improve while training outdoors as well. Both gadgets are waterproof so, if you’re brave enough, you could EVEN track your Tough Mudder workout too.
They’re the techiest new toys to help you bring your best game.