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The Physical & Fiscal Demands of the Tough Mudder & Other Obstacle Races

20 Jul 2011

What do you need in order to accomplish the feat of the Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race?

There are number of physiological and financial demands involved in training and competition that you’ll need to be ready for.

First, as far as physical activities go, the Tough Mudder requires an advanced fitness level and tough (no pun intended) mindset. You’ll need endurance in terms of cardiovascular fitness, strength, and mental energy in order to complete this long event. Due to its surging increase in popularity, you may find moments along the way when you can catch your breath thanks to bottle-necking in between obstacles. Overall, though, you will need to train to recover quickly.

If you’re a beginner new to obstacle races, it may be a good idea to start with a shorter race. There are many sprints between 3-4 miles in distance. Check out this list of obstacle races for ideas.

Regardless of the race you choose, you’ll need to know how to run for endurance, and in some cases, swim as well.

If you’re wondering about how much it will cost, these expenses will vary depending on how much training you’ll need and coaching you’ll want in prep for event day. According to IHRSA, health club membership fees average around $40 per month. If you need additional accountability or someone to work you beyond your fitness level, you may want to consider hiring a trainer/coach. Fees range from $60-$100 depending on your market area and the expertise of the fitness professional you require.

Another factor to consider into the costs is how many obstacle racing events you plan to compete in over the season. If you register early for a single event, fees can be as low as $60, but the rates climb to as high as $180 approaching the event. If you’re thinking of doing several obstacle races over the course of the year, you may want to consider a season pass for a specific brand. These can run from $300 – $400.

Lastly, you’ll need specific gear on event day. You probably won’t need to bother to buy a new pair of shoes you’ll only wear once. But you may need to buy gloves that will protect your hands from wood splinters and other hazards along the way. These may cost you between $10-$20.

Overall, if you plan to exercise at a health club for a few months before a single event and sign up for ten personal training sessions, you can expect total costs to run between $790 – $1,000. On the least expensive side, with no health club membership, if you are self-motivated and advanced enough to train on your own, preparation costs can range between $70 – $190, the cost of a single event fee and gloves.

Now that you have a good idea of what physical and financial demands to expect from the Tough Mudder, how are you training for it?

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