Tough Mudder events require a range of physical skills – from scaling walls to plunging into ice baths. Here are 5 sports that will help you prepare for race day!

Tough Mudder events involve team-oriented obstacle courses of 10 to 12 miles, designed to test not just physical strength but also mental grit. So if that appeals, just how might you go about preparing for this extreme activity? Well, there are a few more traditional sports that may help pave the way and get you off on the right foot.

1. Rock climbing

Seasoned outdoor climbers or regular on the artificial climbing walls will have some of the great qualities required for Tough Mudder - namely upper and lower body strength and the ability to think fast. If you are home on the climbs then the thought of a 15-foot wooden wall probably won’t have the same effect on you as a few of your team-mates, and your input will be truly appreciated, be it when climbing netting or scaling the Tough Mudder’s awesome Everest 2.0 or Berlin Wall.

The flexibility and agility you pick up when rock climbing will also be great preparation for Tough Mudder. Rock climbing also involves some falling off initially (supported by ropes of course) - and the determination require to get back on the wall will be really useful on race day.

2. Cross-country running

Long-distance running events usually involve miles of hard pavement or road, and that isn’t for everyone. But mud-soaked alternatives like cross-country or fell racing will lend themselves nicely to training for a Tough Mudder. Getting involved with a cross-country running group or club would be a great way to prepare. Even if it’s just a group that run through the local country park. The spirit of camaraderie fostered by working out alongside existing and new friends alike would also set you in good stead for your Tough Mudder.

Through cross-country running you will start to build up the ability to break into a sprint ahead of a mighty slope climb – something that you will be really grateful for on race day. This is something anyone who previously trained hard in a team sport like rugby or football can also relate to.

3. Swimming

The benefits of swimming for body strength and stamina are fairly clear – although the Tough Mudder won’t quite be the same as a gentle dip in your local pool. While you’re unlikely to get an ice bath, or for that matter wade through a swamp, down at your local pool, swimming is still good preparation.

It’s a good workout for your whole body and will gradually build up your fitness as you head towards race day. If you’re feeling particularly brave, why not take on the thrill of a jump into open water . More of a ‘wild swim’ will be a more realistic way to practise for Tough Mudder conditions.

4. Field athletics

Do you still hanker for those days at school when you were up for the high jump… and for that matter the long jump too? Well, both of those disciplines will help if you’re out there as part of a Tough Mudder team.

Maybe head down to your local athletics club and see if you can get involved with some of the field sports there. Whether you’re encountering oversized water slides, scaling vast walls, or making the leap from one obstacle to the next, the sporting techniques you learn in field events will really come in handy.

5. Circuit training

There are fairly obvious benefits from a good gym workout, and an understanding of circuit training and body conditioning will really stand you in good stead out there on the ultimate obstacle course. Tough Mudder definitely involves high-intensity aerobic workouts, and prior experience can give you something of a flying start, not least circuit training classes involving sit-ups, box jumps, monkey bars and rings.

Boot camps and army style training courses are very popular and would be another get way to incorporate circuit style training into your Tough Mudder preparation, and they usually have the added bonus of being outdoors and often in mud working with a team ethic.