This post was originally published on the Merrell Adventure Blog. Follow @jasonantin on Instagram and @JasonAntin on Twitter for more behind the scenes WTM prep.
With just about 2 weeks until I fly to Las Vegas to compete in my first ever World’s Toughest Mudder, my mind continues to race. I just got back from a great training weekend at “coach” Simon’s Long Trek Ranch, in Quebec. We converted his nearly 1,000 acres of land into a WTM training facility for about 48 grueling hours.
I had time to grill Simon on his 2 past experiences at the WTM and his lessons made me reflect on my past endurance mindset and how they might relate to World’s Toughest. Here are a few thoughts I’ve had when it comes to the mental side of endurance racing:
Be prepared to go on a mission [or in some cases, make-up your own adventure]. With every 24 hour race or adventure I’ve ever participated in, the course was either a point-to-point, a loop (or close to it) or an out and back. I’ve found that if the course is logical and I simply need to get from point A to point B, I can easily stay focused on the task at hand without much self-convincing. The contrived nature of the WTM course, with it’s short, repetitive loops will be a true test of will and determination. I will need to motivate myself to begin each new journey around the 2016 WTM course during the 24-hour timeframe.
Even in the middle of a long mountain traverse, we still made time for a light-sabre battle @ 13,000’
2) On that note, you need to be motivated – either intrinsically or extrinsically to finish these long endurance feats. I believe my motivation is there, as it often is with the new or unfamiliar of challenges, but come hour 20 of the World’s Toughest Mudder, I sure hope I can hang on to whatever is fueling my desire to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Here I’m in full suffer mode, but a little smile goes a long way. I’ve had some of my best races rocking a pair of Jorts [Thomas Woodson Photo]
The Elements will be one of the greatests of tests. I know from past events how much cold and wet can strip away any layer of enthusiasm that once existed at the start of the race. I found out this weekend while training at Long Trek Ranch how a moderate wind can cut through a neoprene wetsuit like a hot knife through butter. It will be important for me to stay ahead of the cold and the elements. If I fail here, it will no doubt be costly.
There may be 5 mile loops, 40 foot cliff jumps, long and challenging obstacles, but at the end of the day there’s one very specific distance that will determine success in endurance events: the six inches between your ears.
If you can maintain a positive mindset, and thus control what goes on in that relatively small 6-inch space, your experience over the vast majority of the entire Tough Mudder course will be a positive one. I truly believe that – After all, we voluntarily choose to embark in these adventures, so why wouldn’t we do what we can to ensure we enjoy every step of the journey!