3 Life Lessons from America’s Toughest Mudder

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I recently ran America’s Toughest Mudder Midwest, and I’ve been talking about it, A LOT. I describe the obstacles, the mileage, and the soreness that followed, but in truth that’s just setting the stage.

I’m really talking about the race as context for a greater purpose. I’m not just talking about getting muddy or hypothermic, I’m talking about doing the things you’re not sure you can do. If you’re looking for information on how to more successfully run a Toughest Mudder, I’m not you’re guy.

But if you want to learn from my experience, keep reading to discover three life lessons I was reminded of Running America’s Toughest Mudder Midwest.

1. It’s all about team.

Longtime readers of my blog know how important team is to me. I think it’s incredibly important to be a team player and master teamwork. Unless you’re a top elite performer, in America’s Toughest Mudder you’ll come across a couple of obstacles that you simply cannot surmount alone. They’re designed that way. You depend upon your teammates to help you out. In my case, this sometimes meant my friends literally hauled me up and over obstacles (thanks guys)!

Our America's Toughest Mudder Team

Me, Bob, and Tim. 3/4 of our team. Our fourth teammate, Andrew, was still running!

As in America’s Toughest Mudder, so in life. Even if you’re not scaling walls or dropping down into mud, you can’t do it all on your own. You have to learn to trust your team. You have to accept that you must rely on others. The other – equally important- side of this is that you have to give selflessly to your teammates as well.

2. Mental matters.

Before the race, I published this post about how I wasn’t really prepared for race, but that I fully planned to run it anyway. Which, obviously I did!

I wasn’t wrong; I was unprepared and undertrained, but I still managed to run 18 miles. How? Thanks to the bolstering of my teammates, my mental game was strong. You can be physically ready but if your mindset is off, then you can crash and burn. But a strong mindset and a positive mental attitude can power you through all kinds of shit you body isn’t ready for!

The same is true in life. Even if you feel unprepared, having the right mindset, staying determined, and have a positive attitude count way more than preparation and training. Mind over matter is real, so whatever challenge you’re facing, keep your head in the game!

3. Just keep moving.

You’ll meet incredible athletes and elite performers at these races – Allison Tai gave me a high five – she’s kind of a big deal! That said, I am not one of those elite performers. I knew I wasn’t going to win or set a record, but I also wanted to push myself as far as I safely could. To do that, I couldn’t think about the race as a whole. I couldn’t even think of each loop individually. Instead I just concentrated on what I was doing each moment, and when I started hurting or feeling like I couldn’t go on, I focused on one thought, “just keep moving.”

When things are getting rough, in a race or life in general, just keep moving. You don’t have to be fast, you don’t have to beat anyone, you don’t have to make rapid improvements. Just keep moving.

No matter what’s happening, no matter what challenges you face, no matter how hopeless things seem, no matter how unsure you may be, you only have to do one thing…

You just have to keep moving!

You Don’t Have to Run a Toughest Mudder to learn from it.

I don’t care if you never set foot on a muddy race course or never climb an obstacle – that’s not what this post is about. I want you to be part of a great team, keep your head in the game, and keep moving. Do that, and I think you can achieve just about any goal you put your mind to. And if you happen to run a big ole muddy obstacle race while you’re at it, well, have fun!

If you’d like to see a little bit of the Toughest Mudder action, check out my video:

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