Just when you think you're tough enough

Obstacle Race

Chris James conquers 50 Tough Mudders

Chris James has conquered 50 Tough Mudder competitions. (Khaleejtimes)
Chris James has conquered 50 Tough Mudder competitions. (Khaleejtimes)

48-year-old Chris James has completed 50 Tough Mudder competitions, more than his age. He’s indeed proving that age is just a number, with obstacle races as the fad these days among the youth.

Tough Mudder, has garnered it’s reputation as one of toughest events on the Planet with the ice water plunge known as ‘Arctic Enema 2.0’ and ‘Electroshock Therapy’ – a muddy sprint through dangling electric wires. This year also sees the introduction of the ‘Block-Ness Monster’, pushing, pulling and rolling their way through 60 feet of slick, rotating barriers in a water pit.

“I have no idea how many I will do, and I’d happily say at this stage ‘as many as possible’. Tough Mudder keeps me motivated all year and being at the events is such a positive part of my life I can see no reason I’ll be stopping soon.” says James.

“Each different event location brings different challenges due to changes in course and conditions so I don’t get bored. I would like to try some in heat and even at night to see what difference that makes.”

Tough Mudder keeps Chris James motivated. (Khaleejtimes)
Tough Mudder keeps Chris James motivated. (Khaleejtimes)

It’s all about team work

“The number one thing to remember at Tough Mudder is to turn around when you complete an obstacle and see if there is anyone behind you that needs some help or encouragement”, says James.

This past weekend I took two new guys out on course, one had trained a bit and one that hadn’t, they both had a great time and found it hard but managed to complete the course with some help.

Treats and cheats

Talking about diet and nutrition, James generally keeps to eating a ‘clean diet’ of meat, vegetables and some fruits 6 days a week and splurges on the weekend.

“Personally I’ve found my performance was enhanced by not eating ‘white carbs’ such as rice and wheat (breads and pasta) or sugary and processed foods. Keep it simple using ‘one ingredient’ foods like bananas and dates for an energy boost and eggs, vegetables and meat for meals. I drink lots of water and one or two cups of black coffee or tea in the morning.”

“I don’t believe it is good to cut everything you enjoy out of life, just reduce the processed foods (comes in any form of packet) and eating a good healthy and balanced diet allows you room to enjoy treats and ‘cheats’.”

 Training variety

James also advocates intervals and varying your training in preparing for Tough Mudder or any obstacle races.

“You won’t be running a straight long-distance, you will be running between obstacles so it’s a kind of ‘stop-go’ training which breaks up your running rhythm.”

“Therefore it is good to use some ‘interval’ style training to condition yourself to the changes in pace. Also, as above, try to get outside to run on uneven terrain to get your muscles and joints used to changing surfaces and angles.”

In the end, it’s mind over matter, and all about team work. Get your teammates together not only to test your physical fitness but also mental grit and camaraderie.