One of the downsides of being an International Man Of Derring-Do is that you’re constantly being invited to a glittering array of parties, buffets and drinks receptions that can spell disaster for even the best-laid training plan. But that’s enough about what I imagine it’s like to be Rick Edwards, because this month even my training got derailed by a trip to the Americas – and specifically one of those states where nobody runs, sidewalks don’t exist, and the only acceptable answer to ‘Pancakes or mega-muffin with your country breakfast, sir?’ is ‘Both, please.’ I had a great time, thanks for asking.
So, yes. Running was tricky, and overeating wasn’t. But there’s hope, because I spent at least some of the time working on the other things you need for a good Mudder: core strength, endurance and what I’m calling dangling-from-things ability. Something I’ve discovered when training with other people, for instance, is that decent pullup numbers don’t always translate to dominance on the monkey bars: for that, you need to get used to brachiation, the technical term for swinging with one arm at a time. Monkey bars can help, but they’re unnecessary: if all you’ve got is a pullup bar, then just holding on with one arm at a time, switching every few seconds, will get you used to the body control needed to graduate to orangutanging your way across bars, rings or ropes. With the help of Sony’s Lifelog app, I kept my step-count above that all-important 10,000 a day, but I also managed to keep a handle on my jetlag via the inbuilt sleep tracker, and (of course) went Vine/selfie/Twitter crazy.
Then, of course, there’s the crawling. I’m no massive fan of getting facedown in the dirt during my workouts, but with Tough Mudder there’s really no option – if you can’t make it under a cargo net, there’s essentially no hope of negotiating the claustrophobic horror of ‘Birth Canal.’ So, again working with limited space, I’ve been doing ‘walking’ style planks – going from forearms-on-the-floor to pressup position and back again – with TRX moves to get my core and pulling power up to scratch. I’ll worry about the mud on the day.
Oh, and finally this week: big shoutout to the tube drivers. Normally I hate running home, but the strikes forced my hand, and there’s no better Tough Mudder training than dodging a cityful of pedestrians who are all looking at their phones. My jog-commute (I’ll think of a clever name for that later) was exactly as stop-start as I expect the Mudder itself to be, and I even managed to hurdle some binbags and ricochet off the odd park bench on the way home. Hey, it’s not as glamorous as whatever Rick’s doing, but it’s a start.
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