Guess what, Mudders? Your commitment to obstacle course racing (OCR) can pay off in big ways—and we’re not just talking about the health benefits of being fit and the badass feeling you get when you cross the finish line. Aside from the sense of physical, social, and mental accomplishment that you walk away with while the mud is still wet on your sneakers, you might be reaping some serious benefits in other areas of your life, too.
More specifically, doing events like Tough Mudder can enhance performance in your regular ol’ job, according to author and international career coach Marion Brooks. Yep, you read that right—crushing a weekend obstacle course can actually make you a better employee. (And that could mean more bucks in your bank account, right?)
The fact is, there are a number parallels between being crushing an OCR and killing it at work, Brooks says. “Successful employees rely on strong performance, persistence, and seek out ways to grow and develop their skills, and these are also essential parts of the formula to win in the world of OCR.”
Keep reading to learn five ways being part of the Tough Mudder tribe can pay off at your job:
1. Building new skills will make you an asset.
Tough Mudder is always developing new obstacles and creating new challenges—and that means you need to go into skill-building mode to conquer those challenges. What new training technique can you try to conquer an obstacle? What video can you watch to gain an edge? What bootcamp class can you take to get more fit? This willingness to learn and and try new things will give you a serious edge in the office, as instead of being comfortable with where you’re at (or worse, afraid of change) you’ll look at new work challenges as a opportunity to grow, and you’ll jump right into building the appropriate skills needed.
2. You become more disciplined.
To be successful in OCR you need to put in time and effort. Lots of time and effort. (No Happy Ending comes easily, right?) The same goes for your 9-to-5 job. Just showing up and doing the bare minimum isn’t going to get you promoted, isn’t going to get you a raise, and isn’t going to impress anyone. But after becoming an OCR regular, you’ll start to approach your career in the same way and put in that hard work upfront. Giving it your all—in everything you do—will become a point of personal pride.
3. Persistence will keep you in the running.
Persistence is a given in OCR. In any Tough Mudder event, no matter how well you prepare, you’ll run into difficult and sometimes unexpected obstacles. (A teammate—or you—will cramp up or get sick; the weather will be sucky; your gear might not perform...we could go on.) That’s true at work, too. Deadlines get shifted, resources get cut...shit happens. But Mudders who build up the resilience to get up when they fall down (or keep at it with a bad boss) will ultimately win.
4. Strategy will get you so far ahead.
Completing an OCR like Tough Mudder requires a strategy—from building your team to pacing your race to preserve energy to honing in on the perfect race-day diet. There’s even strategy in the preparation, from your fitness training to your nutrition regimen to help you grow and develop so you can compete at a higher level. When you apply that same level of strategizing into ways to grow and develop at work, not only will you succeed in your career, you’ll excel.
5. Peak performance becomes a habit.
In obstacle course events like Tough Mudder, you strive to deliver your peak performance on race day—and you train to do just that. You’ll need to deliver your peak performance in your career, too, and it will come way more naturally when you’re already used to digging deep for your best.
Dana Baardsen has been using her degree in nutrition and food science to coach nutrition at gyms and wellness centers in the New York City area and cover health and fitness since 2012. Her work has been featured on Tough Mudder, Fit Pregnancy, Class Pass, Reader's Digest, and more. She edited The Cool Girl's Guide to the FODMAP Diet and chats about weight loss topics as a guest on the "Conquer Your Mountain" podcast.