Competing in a Tough Mudder will present a number of unique and unpredictable challenges. While there is no way of knowing exactly what type of obstacles you will encounter, chances are you will not come across an elliptical or bench press during the race. Keep these Tough Mudder training tips in mind as you design your training plan, being sure to avoid these rookie mistakes.

Just Running

If you are training for a Tough Mudder and think you are going perform well on race day because you can run 10 miles with relative ease, prepare to be humbled. Cardiovascular is significant, but not your only concern. You will need to prepare your body to climb or crawl over, under, around or through various obstacles while navigating rugged terrain. Instead use sprints, hill repeats, and long runs for conditioning. Then, focus on increasing functional strength and athleticism using push-ups, pull-ups, dips and squats.

Training like a Body Builder

Think about the typical obstacles featured as part of a Tough Mudder; monkey bars, cargo net, rope climb, barrier wall, mud pit, or low crawl. Bench press, biceps curls, and calf extensions are not practical preparations for these types of challenges. Your training plan should include exercises that improve your strength to weight ratio. Training specific energy systems, movement patterns and athletic skills tested as part of an obstacle race will transfer to successful execution of challenges encountered on the course. Try to include hybrid workouts into your Tough Mudder training program by pairing running intervals and kettlebell exercise with oversized tires flips or weighted sandbags carries. Training in this manner will mimic the start then stop, strength and cardio aspects of the race.

Not Specializing

Baseline fitness will carry you to an obstacle. But it’s the race-specific skills that will take you over, around, or through them. Be sure to train for the types of challenges you might encounter during the race, not just for physical fitness. Train outdoors when possible. Use nontraditional training tools like kettlebells or a weighted sled. Create a training plan that will improve grip strength, agility and balance. Practice climbing, crawling, and transporting a heavy or awkward load during workouts. Following this Tough Mudder training tip will make you a specialist, not just another race wannabe.

Avoiding these 3 Tough Mudder training mistakes will help you prevent the the embarrassing experience of having to be carried off the course because you exhausted your fitness short of the finish line.