Sure, you can do a Tough Mudder event alone—there will always be plenty of people along the course to cheer you on and lend you a hand. But pulling together a team and hitting the starting line as a group can reap some seriously cool benefits—a sense of camaraderie, working together as a team, and seeing friends face and conquer new challenges are just a few. The hard part can be actually finishing the event as the same happy (if exhausted) unit that you started out as. These pointers can help ensure that you all cross the finish line as friends.
1. Train and Set Goals Together: Yes, you can train on your own (and you should), but there are plenty of reasons why your group should train together, too. Not only does it offer some pre-race team bonding, but you’ll also learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This way, every team member can accurately anticipate how the group will perform on race day—and use that knowledge to set common goals. “Teammates need to all be on the same page going into a run,” says Tough Mudder Bootcamp Creative Director Eric “ERock” Botsford. “Everyone may have unique personal reasons, but it’s important to clearly communicate, before the run, why you’re all together in the experience.”
2. Hype It Up: Get your team to get into a collective mindset before walking up to that starting line. Come up with a fun team name, order group T-shirts, and, if you’re the cheerleader of the group, send a few “Let’s DO THIS” emails or group chats to your team to get everyone pumped up. Sometimes, the little things make a big difference—and you want your tribe to shine.
3. Have a Pre-Race Check-In: Before race day, check in with every person on your team. Your squad is guaranteed to have way more success on race day when you stay in touch and even get honest with each other. There’s nothing wrong with sending a message like, “I am going to eat an entire pizza pie after the race because the healthy diet is seriously killing me today.” It will remind your team members that you’re human, but dedicated to being the best on race day for yourself and for them. A pre-race check-in is also a good opportunity to remind everyone what to bring to a Tough Mudder, so no one forgets something important. Like, you know, sneakers.
4. Check Your Ego: If you’re, shall we say, the competitive type, pay careful attention to your egotistical tendencies before—and especially during—your Tough Mudder event. This is especially important if you’re racing with a team. Check your ego at the starting line and focus instead on the ways you can help your team—and other Mudders—have a better experience. Remember, Tough Mudder events aren’t timed, and teamwork and cooperation trump competition. Besides, helping others is way more rewarding than just being fast and “beating” them. “Be 100% supportive to your friends during the run,” ERock says. “Experience and ability can be all over the map with teammates, it is important to understand that the team comes first and nothing matters more than everyone crossing the finish line together.”
5. Conquer Obstacles Together: So you’re one of the faster, stronger members of your team? A) See above and B) remember what’s really important in a Tough Mudder: Having fun. So stick together and don’t leave anyone behind. Besides, you’ll need each other to conquer the different obstacles together. It’ll be a huge bummer if one team member is trailing behind and gets stuck at an obstacle because everyone else raced ahead. So, slow your roll and get ready to form that human ladder.
6. Stay Resilient: Sometimes, not even the best teamwork can get everyone across certain obstacles. That’s okay. Instead of having hard feelings, focus on what went right—and get in the right mindset to tackle the next obstacle together. Make a pact prior to the race to help each other through tougher challenges. ERock encourages Tough Mudder participants to celebrate the little things: “Tough Mudder is as much a team-building exercise as it is an obstacle course. If something cool happens, some feat of athleticism occurs, or everyone has a mental breakdown at some point... laugh about it, talk about it and grow from it. Keeping your mind focused on what Tough Mudder actually is about is a great way to keep the team together beyond the finish line.”
7. Be a Motivator—Sometimes: Of course you’ll want to cheer on your squad during the race, and you should. Cheering can motivate a teammate having a tough time or break the tension. And every obstacle conquered deserves group high-five. But it’s important to know when to talk and know when to be quiet, according to ERock. “Motivation is key when struggle is happening, but often times too much communication can lead to arguments or rising tempers—especially late in a run.”
8. Cross the Finish Line Together: Yes, you did it together. So cross the finish line together, too. Then celebrate the milestone together with a muddy group selfie and that celebratory post-race brew.