Lessons learned from Europe’s Toughest Mudder 2017

The UK Tough Mudder Season starts later this month with the first 5km City event in London. But for many Tough Mudder competitors, thoughts are focused on Europe’s Toughest Mudder events. This year there are two events in the UK – Midlands in May and Scotland in June. I’ve written a review from last year’s Europe’s Toughest Mudder and it can be found here.

Europe’s Toughest Mudder is now only 8 weeks away and training is going well.  This post is focused on the lessons learned from last year and how I can improve my performance for 2018. Especially when the “contender” status for World’s Toughest Mudder athletes has been increased from 25 to 30 miles. As I am participating in WTM in November, contender status at least affords me a better pit area (closer to the start/finish line) therefore, not wasting as much time or energy looking for my pit area.

Here are my reflections, I hope they are useful for your own Europe’s Toughest Mudder training.

  • Pitting & Timing – Last year’s time plan was just enough to get 6 laps in. Allowing us plenty of leaway to get the 5 laps competed. Timing will be tighter this year, which means spending a little less time in the pit (definitely dawdled around) and getting in and out quicker.
  • Shoe choice – I wore the Reebok All Terrain gen 2 shoe. The grip on those were awesome, but we’re very light with little cushioning – built for speed rather than distance. Which meant after 3 laps, I was starting to feel every inch of the terrain. The last lap I walked as I had issues with my hip and foot, I think stemming from the Reebok’s and lack of cushioning.  I’m  planning on wearing the Adidas Kanadia and Reebok Trail Attack. Both have great grip just like the All Terrain, but more.importantly have more cushioning like a traditional trainer. Hopefully I can go for longer without feeling too uncomfortable. They are a little heavier, but that’s the pay off I will have to make for better comfort.
  • Clothing – I had a wetsuit shorty along with base layers and was pretty happy with the choice. This time around I have purchased a front zip shorty (and full for WTM). This will make transition and changing easier. I did waste a bit of time in the pits because of a back zip AND couldnt quite regulate my temperature on the sprint lap. I have also purchased a pair of “Bleggmitts” which opens out to allow my hands to do the grip work rather than trying to grip with slippery gloves.
  • Nutrition – I was ok with my choices of food last year – having peanut butter and coconut sandwiches (no crust) when pitting along with some chocolate brownies. However towards the end I was getting a little fatigued. The only addition here will be to ensure I’ve taken a gel to take half way around the lap. I think it will definitely help in keeping me going.
  • Strength – In later laps my grip strength let me down. Since last year, I have started working on upper body strength with my gym work and started to climb at my local gym to help with grip strength.
  • Endurance – Again, since last year I have started working on my running and endurance. I have joined a running club and have upped my mileage so 30 miles is less daunting to me than 25 was last year.
  • Start – We were called to the start line at 11.15pm ready for the 12.00 start. We grouped near the back and this definitely lost me 10ish minutes on the first lap (that and stopping for a pee). I need to be nearer the front and ready earlier. 10 minutes could mean the difference between completing the 30 official miles.

So there are my thoughts on where I could improve to hit 30 miles. Do you have any additional tips for me or anyone looking to do a Toughest Mudder for their first time?

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Wil Chung