Europe’s Toughest Mudder is the next big step for a Mudder Legion, 12 hours of obstacles, mud and water, and it’s a special experience taking on the course at night. If you’re taking on Europe’s Toughest Mudder (ETM) for the first time, then read these seven tips to help you conquer the course.
Training Is Vital
Mudders have 12 hours to complete as many 5-mile laps as they can. Everyone will probably have their own personalised training plan, so I’m breaking this down into basic components to help focus your training: 12 hours is definitely into Ultra territory – so your run training should be focused on volume. Time on your feet is more important than distance. Although ETM is 12 hours through the night (8pm – 8am) I don’t necessarily suggest you have to emulate this in your training in the run up. However, going out for a training run, late evening , after a full day at work will help to prepare you for some of the tiredness you will experience at ETM.
Join the Groups and Conversation
There are a lot of Facebook groups run by veterans of ETM and World’s Toughest Mudder. You can get lots of advice as well as ask specific questions for someone to answer. It’s also great to start to feel part of the Mudder community and the special event of ETM.
Kit, and Kit Again
Tough Mudder will release a mandatory kit list to ensure you are running ETM safely – this is generally a headlight and a “strobe” (read: coloured glow stick). I suggest you have a back-up headlight and spare batteries – you don’t want to be disqualified from running any more laps just because you don’t have a headlight. All other kit you bring along would be for comfort. I, for example bring a shortie wet suit (bonus tip – front opening will save a lot of time) to help keep warm through the night – some people can get away with just a rash vest or normal shorts/t-shirt combination. Whatever you do bring – make sure you have run in it before ETM – nothing new on race day.
Food is Fuel
Food and nutrition is really important. I suggest you bring a bit of everything with you to eat (sweet and savoury) – you will never know what you may want to eat at 3:30am on lap 5. My personal food favourite is peanut butter on flat bread – something very calorific and that can be eaten pretty quickly – bonus tip – it’s something I can take with me and eat on the first part of the lap. I also take a gel to eat about half way into the lap (a fun pack of Haribo’s are also good.)
Your Pit Crew
Time in the pit is really important, if you are “racing” you need to spend as little time in the pit as possible. But even if you’re not racing, the more time you spend in the pit, the more comfortable you become and less likely you will want to go out for another lap (especially into the later parts of ETM). This is where your pit crew come into their own. They can help you prepare food and drink whilst you’re out on the lap, help tie you’re shoe laces, zip up and take off your wet suit (trust me, you will get this when you have completed ETM). Most importantly, they are there for encouragement, pep talks and to push you out for another lap.
Pick Your Pace
12 hours is a long time on course. Mudders will have their own targets, whether its a particular distance or just to be out on course for the whole time. Pace is really important – don’t go off too quick too early, and don’t slouch either. On my second ETM, I had a timing chart for each lap to make sure I was on schedule. This also means conserving strength – you will get tired as the night goes on. It will be more beneficial to your body to take a penalty than to try and repeatedly complete an obstacle. Everest and Funky Monkey are so much harder the 4th or 5th time round.
And Enjoy It
Right at the beginning of this article, I mentioned how special ETM is. My final tip is to take it all in and enjoy the experience. Doing the obstacles at night is a totally different experience to running in the day. Whilst you are trudging away at 4am, you start to see the sun rise and that gives you fresh motivation to get to the end of the race. The atmosphere is absolutely electric and EVERYONE becomes one community as its us against the course.
Motivated to take part, sign up to Europe’s Toughest Mudder today.