Sophie Radcliffe versus the World’s Toughest Mudder
/ATHLETES IN ACTION
For those among you who already know me, it’s no big surprise that I am once again longing for a big challenge that brings me to my limits. I’ve cycled across whole countries and climbed mountains, but the race I’m going to take part in will be nothing like anything I did before.
BEFORE: The race I’m talking about is the World’s Toughest Mudder that takes place in the Nevada desert, near Las Vegas. It’s an extreme obstacle race that lasts nothing less than 24 hours. One full day and night of non-stop running around a 5 miles long course that is set up with twice as many obstacles as it is the case in a normal Tough Mudder. Again and again, as often as you can manage to make it through the course in 24 hours.
Of course, I had to prepare myself for such an exhausting event very well. The two most important things to gain ahead of an extreme obstacle race are strength and endurance. With this article, I want to share my training experience as well as some good advice with anyone who wants to take part in obstacle or endurance races.
To get in shape for this huge challenge, I went to my usual gym in London. But not only once a day like I would do normally, but at least twice – or sometimes even stayed there for a whole day long session. By expanding my sports routine that much, I learned how to stay focused during long periods of exhausting sport.
What a lot of people don’t realize: Withstanding an event that demands everything you’ve got is not only a matter of your physical health. You have to prepare yourself mentally as well! It’s okay to be afraid of what lies ahead of you, especially if it’s a 24 hour extreme obstacle race. But still, you always have to be confident that you will be able to make it.
Another important thing is to be fully aware of what you’re just about to do. Of course, to participate in the world’s most challenging Tough Mudder race is absolutely crazy. Always keep in mind that it’s okay to feel empty and tired when your training is harder than everything you’ve ever done before. In those moments, I can always count on my friends and family who will always build me up again.
The training for the Tough Mudder Las Vegas was one of the hardest training routines I ever went through. Sometimes I went to the gym just to take seven HIIT (high intensity interval training) classes right after one another. In addition to those sessions, I had lots of weight training classes as well as personal training. (By the way, If you’re interested in more details about my training, you can find some deeper information about it here.)
I was mentally prepared for what was ahead of me. As you might know by now, I love every kind of challenge, the bigger the better, and so this huge obstacle race was something I was really looking forward to. But physically – oh my goodness, this was hard. Going to the gym twice a day is hard, and therefore it’s no big surprise that this floored me pretty hard during the first few days.
But after I got used to it, I started to feel better, and of course also stronger and more ready to compete in the Tough Mudder. In the end, all the exhaustion, sweat and tears was definitely worth it.
It may sound funny, but the biggest challenge is not always the physical part. The hardest part is to get yourself to keep on going like you feel like giving up. Sometimes, you just feel utterly broken, and you are convinced that you reached a point where you just have nothing more to give.
But this is wrong. You can do everything you set your mind to. Sometimes it’s hard to remember this, but the best you can do is to focus on what you have already achieved and how close you already got to reaching your target.
Concentrate on feeling strong and positive, and try to keep out all those negative thoughts. Nothing compares to that feeling right after you made it through the challenge you set up for yourself – this feeling alone will always be worth fighting for.
STATEMENT: Remember why you are doing the challenge you’ve set yourself. You wouldn’t be doing if it was easy. You’ve got this!
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