Saturday, 28 April 2012

Flash and Thunder: Training Week 1

To all our tough mudders, brothers and sisters,

Training for Tough Mudder: Sydney 2012 week 1 is over, only another 21 weeks til the big day. The pain, sweat and mud was certainly worth the effort this week, however we are looking to train harder over the coming months as ultimately we have to be able to run 20km and complete obstacles in between.

Training begun on Monday 23rd of April 2012, with no intention of Tough Mudder or fundraising. We both wanted to get fit for Surf Life Saving Championships. Thunder has been a part of both Bunbury and North Cottesloe Surf Club for years and only recently Flash decided to join up. Within 24 hours of our first session we had planned and organized to take on Tough Mudder: Sydney 2012 and fund raise for charity. We train both individually and together throughout the week, sometimes amounting to 12 sessions each in a week. Individually we train for our chosen sports (Thunder - SLS and Football, Flash - Basketball and SLS) and hit it out at the gym, but together we push ourselves through our paces and finish each session physically and mentally fatigued.

Our training base for week 1 has been Jacobs Ladder, Kings Park. This area contains a lot of resistive and assisted running opportunities that can help you prepare for all terrain running tasks. Jacobs Ladder is a twisting flight of concrete stairs amounting to 242 steps, at the top of the stairs is an even tougher task known as The Hill which is 250 meters with a 40 degree incline. These two obstacles are great, going up both is physically hard work and every muscle in your legs ache from the running but going down is mentally fatiguing, you must watch every step and control your body otherwise you may fall. Both Jacobs Ladder and The Hill have anywhere between 40-80 people training on it at once so you must dodge and work your way through the traffic.
View from the top - Jacobs Ladder
Thunder and The Hill
Twice in week 1 we met 1km from the base of Jacobs Ladder, it is always important to get a great warm up before exercise so we always run from our meeting point to the base. A good 45-60 minute workout is to complete both Jacobs Ladder and The Hill 3 times each, any more than this amount of time or sets of each means you are not going hard enough. To begin with we run hard up Jacobs Ladder, once we hit the top we go straight into aerobic boxing.

Completing a set of upper body exercise between Jacobs Ladder and The Hill and vice versa allows your legs to have a break but still keeping the blood pumping. Typically, for boxing we would complete 40 cross punches, 40 hooks and 40 upper cuts each before taking on Jacobs Ladder or The Hill again. Every time we reach the top of Jacobs Ladder or The Hill we will complete our boxing sets before moving on.

Both Jacobs Ladder and The Hill take the same amount of time to descend as it takes to ascend, this is because we must watch every step in our descent to ensure not tripping or falling forward. After completing 3 sets of each plus 6 sets of boxing in between, we finish at the bottom of Jacobs Ladder and run 1km back to our meeting point.
Our third session in week 1 saw us tackling The Hill at 6:30am on Saturday morning, we planned to run only The Hill 3 times and add some more aerobic workouts at the top of The Hill. Our times for both descent and ascent of The Hill was again the same however we had improved our times from the previous sessions, averagely it will take 1 minute 20 seconds to descend and the same to ascend. We had some inspiration from a guy in the States and how he prepared for Tough Mudder, he is known as The Mustache Man.

Our aerobic workout at the top of The Hill included medicine ball lunges, medicine ball passing, push ups, crunches, sit ups and boxing that we had performed in previous sessions. We also added in the exercise that you would have seen in the above video, a pushup on raised bars, swing your legs through straight into a dip and back again. Each of these exercises we performed in 30 second stations, and although the time is short, to get a good workout you must go hard and perform as many reps as possible. You don't need special gym equipment to be able to perform these exercises, a lot of this equipment can be found or made from everyday items. We used 2x15 litre water containers (bought from a camping store) to perform the exercise.

In the future we plan to train in different scenarios including cliff diving, swimming, rock face climbing, sand running, quarter and half marathon running. We agree the greatest benefit from exercising and preparing towards a goal is the feeling of achievement after every session. If you can do this, you can do anything you put your mind too. We are Tough Mudder!

Remember we are raising money for Wheelchair Sports WA, so please donate at

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145 days to go!

- Flash and Thunder

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