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Your Greatest Endurance Test Ever

Written by Fiona June 28 2013

Here’s a lowdown on preparing and getting fit for an endurance event. Endurance fitness tests have a bad name. This is because most people erroneously think that these events are mostly about physical fitness. In reality, endurance tests are 95% mental when it comes to preparation.

imagesPreparation means information first

The first step is to find out everything you can about the event course. For example, the next Tough Guy test is scheduled for 27th-28th July 2013 in in South Staffs. Who knows what the weather will hold.

This video gives you a nice idea of what to expect:


The race description tries to scare you with mention of barbed wire, mud and pictures of the obstacle course. Take this as a blessing since the more you study the race course the better prepared you will be. For example, you can go to your local climbing wall to simulate what you will face on the test day.

Also, check the weather forecast frequently as race time approaches. You don’t want to show up dressed for sub-zero conditions if an unexpected warm front appears.

Remember, these races are a serious matter. People get hurt in every race, and some situations might even be life threatening. The Tough Mudder endurance test is designed by British Special Forces and these guys do not kid around. Do your loved ones a favor, and make sure your life insurance policy is paid up before you enter: check out Compare the Market for quotes.

Clothing for endurance events

Obviously this depends on weather conditions. For the cold, you want stretchy thermal fabric in layers. A hat and gloves are essential as heat loss from your head and hands can immobilise you. Here’s a great cold weather secret weapon: Duct tape. Tape over your shoes instantly gives you versatile wind and cold resistance. You can even tape a tiny shelf over your nose to break the wind. This is a lot better than a scarf suffocating you.

One common cold weather mistake is to put on too many sock layers. This actually makes you colder, since it compresses your feet and cuts off heat providing circulation. Keep it loose and comfortable.

Eat to win

If you keep drinking several pints of ale and eating heaped plates of greasy food on weekends then you won’t find yourself on any podium. Again, mental toughness comes from making sacrifices and keeping focused in all areas. Your suffering on the test course diminishes when you are psychologically tougher in general.

Endurance training requires plenty of carbohydrates and protein. Heaps of fruits and veggies also supply you with fibre and vitamins for fast recovery times. A plate with a lot of colours is good for any athlete. The 20 best foods to keep you in shape include turkey breast, black beans and oatmeal.

The night before the race you should load up on carbohydrates, such as pasta. Protein is important too as is a bit of fat, believe it or not, since fat is fuel. Chicken on the bone and pasta with olive oil are great choices. Avoid tomato sauce as the acid reflux could be devastating. Top it off with a hearty salad and your tank will be properly filled when race time comes.

What about training?

The best training for these events is one word: Run. And run a lot. The 2013 Hell Runner winner finished the course in just over one hour. Some competitors took almost three hours to finish. There is no way to predict exactly how long the winning time will be due to unknown factors like weather and surface conditions. So you must train for the worst. If you train for an all-out effort of 2 or 3 hours, then a one hour win time will leave you finishing strong.

You should also include as many workouts as possible that mimic race conditions. For example, set up a barbed wire crawl course if you can. If not, at least work on crawl technique. This will also serve to toughen up your body in critical areas such as your knees and elbows.

Recovery time

Planning for this is important too. First of all, take at least one day off work after the race. Soak in the tub and just be lazy. Spend time cuddling with loved ones. Then, as soon as possible, begin planning your next endurance test. Victory loves preparation, and the sooner you start the better chance you have of outlasting the competition. See you on the podium!

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