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Training for the Tough Mudder So Cal #1!

There is no turning back. I’ve joined a team, registered for the July race at Snow Valley, and I’ve begun training for what they say “just might be the toughest event on the planet.” Sounds a bit dramatic, but still–10 miles of slogging through mud, over obstacles that require assistance from fellow racers, and up and down a ski resort–I haven’t attempted anything like this. Shoot, I get tired snowboarding down Snow Valley’s runs in the winter time.

I’m behind schedule according to the experts, but I’m already in moderate shape for an obstacle race. Still, four weeks is a short time to prepare myself for tripling the distance of what I normally run. 5K I can handle, 10K has been done with difficulty…But 10 MILES? This is uncharted territory.

And there’s already a new challenge: I’m battling a potential injury from over-training after a few measly 3 mile runs. 2-3 weeks ago I started experiencing some mild foot pain above the ball of my left foot, especially after getting out of bed. It doesn’t bother me while running, but after Googling “top of foot pain” and sifting through pages and pages of information on stress fractures, I’m in my own head. I’m going to take a week off from flat running, and then return to hill running very slowly (a few 1-2 mile run/hikes, and then a few 2-4 mile run/hikes). That won’t get me to the condition I was aiming for, but hopefully it will keep my foot in the game while giving me enough conditioning to handle this 10 mile beast of an obstacle/mud run.

For the next few weeks, I’m throwing together everything I can think of in no particular order. In the end, how “structured” of a plan can you make for running all over a mountainside? Here’s what I’ve got:

  • modified pool running using my kid’s floatie vest (watched a youtube video on pool running)
  • strength training three times a week (40 minutes, finished by two 10 minute circuits of brutality (I modified these from the Tough Mudder conditioning site so as not to further beat up my foot– 1 minute resistance, 2 minutes cardiovascular.)
  • cycle uphill for a  few miles, run laps on a synthetic track, breaking up each lap with a sprint up the bleachers
  • steep trail hikes (swimming through ponds, climbing up rocks and waterfalls)
  • dusty trail runs: I have a steep 3 mile loop I run once in a while, but I’ll probably extend the uphill section and walk the downhill to save my feet and knees. This will turn it into 5-6 mile trek, which will hopefully help me build endurance.
  • Beach volleyball
I’m strength training with heavy weights and circuit training three times a week, and the other 2-3 days I’m trying to do some sort of activity that will boost my cardiovascular endurance while preserving my foot from hammer-time. I don’t need to set a personal record my first time out, but I need to finish well without killing myself. And without fracturing my feet.

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