This time next week I will be in a lot of pain, but filled with pride. Why? I hear you ask. Well because next Saturday I am taking part in my second Tough Mudder! (I have the orange headband to prove I've done it once already).
For those of you who don't know (check it out) it's not really a race but more an outdoor obstacle course, that's all about teamwork and challenging yourself. In their own words - Tough Mudder is no ordinary mud run - it’s an experience. An escape from the everyday. At Tough Mudder, you won’t just face your fears - you’ll knock them down. You’ll go over, around, and through them. You’ll test your strength, stamina, and grit, and you’ll help the Mudders around you to do the same. They run multiple courses up and down the country (even a half one if you're a bit intimidated by the thought of running a muddy half marathon), so wherever you are you can sign up and get involved.
This year we've opted for the Yorkshire one, near Skipton (brand new course). Now it's 13 miles in total, but along the way you encounter many obstacles, some fun, some painful, some cold and all of them difficult (you try climbing up a halfpipe after running 12 miles). Don't worry it's all part of the fun (apparently). I will be writing a whole post on my Tough Mudder experience for you guys next week, once I have recovered from the many injuries I am bound to sustain. This post however is more about training for events like this, and what I have been doing lately to prepare myself (nothing can really prepare you for this though).
KEEP ON MOVING
Now every month i get a delivery from TRIBE, I signed up to the first box for just £1! It's a subscription of 'Natural Sports Nutrition' tailored to your needs. The regular price is £8.95 per box, and in that you get 6 individual items. They provide a balance of carbs, protein and minerals, helping you to train stronger! I was so impressed after my first delivery I decided to keep them coming.
From a design point of view it's clever, eye catching and certainly makes a statement. That alone was enough to keep me wanting more (the designers curse). The box is bright orange so you can't miss when it arrives through the letterbox, with 'KEEP MOVING' proudly displayed on the top. Inside you'll find a mix of bars and shakes in an array of colours and flavours. When you sign up, TRIBE ask you a little about the fitness you do so they can work our the stuff they'll think you'll need. I have found they're spot on with this!
The box is illustrated inside with a picturesque mountain range and the words 'Eat Natural. Run free' they're all about motivation at TRIBE. The bars packaging is clear and concise, telling you exactly what is inside each bar (my favourite has to be the sour cherry & buckwheat one). Now I am particularly fond of the extra information I haven't found on a lot of healthy snack/ protein bars, which includes a little indication of when to eat them alongside your workout. Some say an hour or 45 mins before, others are to help refuel and so eat 15 mins after. As I am not an expert in protein it is really helpful to have this information clearly on each individual bar. They also include a little break down on the back of the carbohydrates, fats and proteins (which I understand a little bit more). I've definitely noticed the difference since starting to take in protein shakes and bars before or after my running workouts, I don't get cramps or feel as sickly as when I wasn't eating the right type of foods for my training.
Mentally (any type of fitness/ exercise) it is just as challenging as physically, but that's why especially in Tough Mudder you're encouraged to join in teams. I am doing it with my good friend Connor this year, we had a group of 5 last year but as I'm sure everyone knows, life gets in the way. I'm not going to lie it's brutal (but also a laugh) and I'm sure the pictures will tell a great story. I am both excited and nervous to get stuck in again. However, I am as prepared as I'll ever be and I found a quote over the weekend that summed it up for me perfectly, 'You don't train so it doesn't hurt. You train so you can tolerate it.'
Now fitness is part of my daily routine, I don't ever really stop training, at least not completely. Some weeks it's climbing mountains and others its taking part in fun runs. Mostly though I run between 12 and 18 miles a week, over three days. That's a run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday each is usually between 4 and 6 miles. It's usually after work or in an evening but on odd occasion I will run in the mornings if I feel particularly energetic. Spending this hour of the day outside training is a highlight, and over the past year it's not only changed my appearance but my outlook on a lot of things (as well as fuelling my passion for adventure).
As someone, who was on the verge of being a size 16 many moons ago, yes it's true I have the pictures to prove it, this is an achievement in itself. I adore running, it clears my head and helps me to feel comfortable in my own skin (which I am sure for many young women is a daily challenge). The run itself has changed dramatically! Last year I was training in my local gym on a treadmill (looking back felt very monotonous at the time) and now I run rain, wind or sun, mixing it up on multiple routes through local woodland and parks not far from my flat. Mapping out these whilst exploring was a lot of fun in itself.
On the weekends, I've been walking in Delamere a lot and will squeeze and extra run in, if it's a particularly quiet Sunday. I get outside as much as I can and even more so the closer TM gets! I will happily go walking for hours and even though it's not as vigorous as my run, the TRIBE bars are perfect to pack into a backpack for the journey. In my opinion, walking the dog, taking the kids to the park instead of the cinema or even taking a romantic stroll with a couple of coffees (rather than going out for a fancy dinner, or sitting in with a takeaway) are all simple steps to improving your own wellbeing.
It's all about mentality, you have to make it part of your routine and not a chore. However you can, make it fun! Signing up for events like Tough Mudder certainly motivates me to keep myself in good shape and even on the days when I've been working for 10 hours I find the time to fit in a short sprint. The TRIBE box has a lovely little quote etched onto the bottom, once you've consumed all your delicious snacks it reads "If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon." That's what it's all about, supporting each other not who can run faster, who is skinnier or stronger but working together to achieve and accomplish our goals. It may take me longer than some of my fellow mudders, I may feel the burn and want to stop but we cheer each other on and help each other out. What better thing is there to be a part of, in a time when it's hard to trust other people and we don't often speak to strangers. These types of events bring you together with people of the same mindset and motivation, those are the people I want to get to know!
IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
I'm not going to lie, there will be a great deal of junk food consumed after this Saturday. It's rare I treat myself but I think I will definitely have earned it, it's important to remember that sometimes it's more good for you than you realise. I am very guilty of punishing myself more than rewarding. I am getting better though! If this post motivates even one person to sign up, or go for a run this afternoon it was worth it! I'm already convinced I will be signing up again next year and dragging along some first timer friends next summer (training starts again on Sunday).
I can't wait to fill you all in on the experience and claim my second headband (I think this one's green, not too sure, but I really want the pink one so that's only 8 Tough Mudders away...), having taken part before I also get to take on some of the extra hard obstacles (lucky me!). I plan on giving a run down of my top 5 obstacles and posting the 'sexy' before and after photos, so keep a look out.
I've got to survive the course first though, bring on the arctic enema!
🍑 A B Y
Aby, 24. Northerner.