World’s Toughest Mudder 2022 in Atmore, Albama was my second WTM. My first was at the notoriously cold Atlanta venue back in 2018. I learned a lot from that event and knew, whilst I was much better prepared this time around, I still came home from WTM with even more learnings.
Below is a (non-exhaustive and in no particular order) list for you to take away and perhaps help you prepare for your next World’s Toughest Mudder Adventure. Some of these will be more useful for those having to fly into the US.
- Instructions for pit crew – Your pit crew is your absolute lifeline for the period of the race. It’s not impossible to do WTM without a pit crew (and if you do, it’s worth reaching out to the “Orphan Tent”) but having someone to support you will make your life so much easier. With that in mind, they need to understand your anticipated wants and needs through the race. For example, I gave them details of:
- Target laps and anticipated pacing
- Where all my equipment and food was (actually they helped me lay it out) and what I I would need for each lap. I would always take with me 2 gels, but ensure there was food waiting for me to scoff down
- At the end of each lap, I would update them on how I was feeling and what I may need for the next lap
- It’s also important for your crew to remain pro-active. There is a timing board, so they could view your splits and anticipate your arrival back into the pit to ensure warm. They can also watch out for your well being – making sure you are warm, fed and hydrated!
- Nutrition & food – a bit of everything – 24 hours is a LONG time to just survive on gels. It’s also such a long time that you don’t really know what you will fancy across the whole time. Two main suggestions – take a bit of everything that you think you will want to eat – include “treats” (will give you a little boost) and also perhaps “warm” foods such as cup noodles and cup soups – using the hot water from the hospitality tent (more on that later). My second suggestion would ensure the food is calorie dense – gels, chocolate, nuts are perfect for this – you need to be cramming down as many calories down your belly across the 24 hours. I worked on the basis that I would be burning around 600 calories per lap. Of course, I would not be able to consume that much back each lap, but I would look to eat 2 gels on the lap (around 200 calories) and then down some chocolate, a choc au pan or something else along with a cola or chocolate milk. Over the lap that should be around 400 calories and without it weighing too heavy on the stomach, just so I could get back out there.
- Change of clothes – Again, 24 hours is a long time. You need to ensure you have different clothing to take in the change in temperatures that you will encounter (especially over night). Wetsuit and windproof jacket should definitely be on the list. After that, look at getting at least 2 pair of everything (just in case your sole comes off, or you get a large rip) after that – it’s down to personal preference in what you may or may not need. One quick word of advice – try not to over-pack (especially if you are flying in!). I started and finished in my shortie as well as the same pair of socks and my 361 Tarokos. After that, it was just a case of adding layers to stay warm. Sometimes, though – just changing into something dry gives a real boost – I did this for Toughest mudder for my final lap!
- Bring shelter that you can stand up in – Having somewhere to rest, sit and eat is useful. Very personal, but my only tip would be to get something that you can stand in – having to crawl or bend down to get into a shelter becomes more challenging as the race goes on! We bought a cheap gazebo and it just about held together. Added with a small picnic table a couple of camping chairs – it was enough for us. We then donated the useable items (not the gazebo, went straight into the bin) to the orphan tent. If you are going solo – check out the “Orphan tent” and they can help you out in a variety of ways
- Bring a Flask of hot water – The WTM hospitality tent is set up with a number of microwaves and hot water tanks for participants and pit crew to use. In theory, brilliant – but in practice (with over 1000 runners) microwaves were difficult to get hold of and hot water was usually luke warm at best. Bring a (large) flask of hot water with you for the use of cup noodles, hot drinks etc. Hot water is also great to pour down the neck of competitors inside their wet suit (of course, not too hot!) just to help warm them up a little.
- Make use of the Hot lap – The course is open on the Friday for a couple of hours. This is a great time to check out the course, route and obstacles with your pit crew. Many of the obstacles at WTM are exclusive, so its the only opportunity to try them out and build a lap strategy (which ones you may want to skip). You can also discuss strategy with the pit crew as there are specific points along the course where the spectator route intersects. Your pit crew can be on hand to ask questions and relay back to the pit to have food or a change of equipment ready for you.
- Dicks Sporting Goods is a great option for some necessities – This one is mainly for those flying in. Everyone knows about Walmart and that you can pick up most of the items you need. The problem is, that you can’t “click and collect” many items (shelters, chairs etc in particular) and you generally have to have it sent to a home – not brilliant if you are staying in an AirBnB or hotel. Dick’s Sporting Goods have a ton of items that you can use and even better – you can click and collect from the store. It was a god send for us for chairs and tables which we weren’t able to obtain from Walmart (even though they were reserved)
- Flying in with enough time to prep – Personally, I think an “optimum” time is Wednesday to Wednesday – Flying in on Wednesday, Walmart and Dicks shopping on Thursday, whilst acclimatising (and any bit of jet lag) and then prepping on Friday. Monday is brunch and decompressing, Tuesday a bit of sight seeing, whilst Wednesday is packing and flying. If anything adding a few more days after WTM weekend for some more tourist stuff would also be a great idea if you have the time. I spoke to some who flew in on Thursday (basically getting in late Thursday night) and they felt there was not enough time to acclimatise and prepare for the weekend.
- Food and sleep before hand – Another thing issue with not being American is the difference in food and having to sleep in a different bed. Coming in a day early will help, bringing your own pillow (this definitely helps) but just eating “simple” food before the race would be ideal. It’s so tempting to go to Panda Express, TGI Fridays, Cheese Cake Factory, but leave the rich food until after the race – you dont want any “accidents”!
World's Toughest Mudder Videos
My own video from the “Hot Lap” – this is an open-course the day before, allowing us the opportunity to check out the route and obstacles