Obstacle Races, Fear, and Mental Toughness

We’ve been talking about obstacle race/mud run training a bit over the last week or so.

I shared with you that a short time ago, we put together a training group at the FVT studio, and took a full 12 weeks to prep for one of these events.

As I reflect, and think about our workout program, and then who did the best at the actual event … at the end of the day, MENTAL TOUGHNESS was by FAR the biggest factor that determined success or failure that day.

We had a couple of folks who were physically prepared, in good shape, and could have without a doubt finished the race. And this is of course key, and a big part of it. (I actually put together a full training program based on the workouts we did at the studio to get ready – find out more about that here.)

But when the going got tough, and they were pushed out of their comfort zone by freezing water, electrical shock, having to army crawl through a dark, narrow tunnel, or any variety of other challenges … they cracked, and gave up.

On the other hand, those who overcame their fears and got it done, succeeded. A friend of mine (not on our team) happened to be participating in the event the same day that we were … he barely trained, was frankly pretty out of shape, but made it through just fine – because he was TOUGH. He’s USED to being in situations that challenge him physically, and he knows how to push through.

In another example, we saw a women trying to get over a 15 foot quarter pipe again and again unsuccessfully. She might not have been in the best physical shape, but she was determined to get over this obstacle. On about her 10th attempt she finally made it over with the help of her whole team pulling her up. The whole crowd was cheering for her persistence when she finally made it. Another good example of mental toughness and someone who was determined to be successful.

At the end of the day, I believe that mental toughness, grit, whatever you want to call it – is what determines your success not only at your next mud run, not only in your fitness program, but in life in general.

So – HOW do you get more toughness, more grit, and conquer fear – if you don’t have it already?

Exposing yourself to challenging situations, and conditioning yourself to get “used” to them is one of the best ways (psychologists call this “cell habituation”).

Get uncomfortable. Do tough workouts and push yourself. Go outside and expose yourself to the elements. Train at different times of day.

And you have to ALWAYS be challenging yourself. Even if you were an athlete in the past, if you don’t KEEP pushing yourself mentally and physically on a regular basis – you can without a doubt lose your edge.

We see it all the time with new folks at our studio. They’ve been active in the past, but they’ve stopped – and they’ve gotten soft. They can’t BELIEVE how hard the workouts are, based on the shape that they used to be in.

So don’t let this happen to you. Whether you’re prepping for a mud run, or you just want to be a better version of yourself – keep pushing, and keep that edge. Do this day in, day out and you’ll be WELL on your way to more mental toughness – and more success in fitness and in life!

Thanks, talk soon -

Forest Vance

PS - I put together a report called, “20 Tips to Crush Your Next Mud Run”. It’s got 19 MORE concepts like the one we talked about in today’s article. And you’ll get it free as a bonus when you pick up a copy of the Mud Runner’s Manual, which we have on sale this week. Get more details and grab your copy HERE.

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