Monday, March 24, 2014
Three weeks ago, I climbed out of the Lancaster YMCA pool and sat in the hot tub: In 2 hours and 8 minutes I swam 4,250 yards. In ten minutes in the hot tub, I just sat. The I grabbed some food, changed and rode 30 miles.
Since that Saturday, I have ridden almost 400 miles, run 30 miles and swam eight more miles training for an Ironman this August.
Training is the biggest difference between the Tough Mudder and the Ironman Triathlon.
My training for the Tough Mudder was running and keeping in shape for half marathons and the gyms workouts I was already doing for the Army Fitness Test. If you can pass the Army Fitness test and run a slow half marathon, you have the fitness necessary to do the Tough Mudder.
The real challenge of the Tough Mudder are its signature obstacles. You do not have to be in terrific shape to run and crawl through 10,000-volt wires, nor do you need endurance to swim 30 feet including passing under a wall in an ice-filled dumpster.
The Tough Mudder, true to its name, requires more toughness than fitness. I got shocked badly enough last summer that I will not do the Tough Mudder again.
On the other hand, the Ironman is all training and little danger, relative to the Tough Mudder.
But the training swallows all the free time in the triathletes life. Someone asked my kids what they do in the evenings. "Go to the gym," was my sons' answer in unison. In the gym I run and swim while they play basketball.
Now that the weather is better I will be on the bike training for my best event, the 112-mile bike. The bike alone will take longer than a Tough Mudder and I will have a 2.4-mile swim behind me and a marathon ahead.
Which is tougher? If ice, shocks and high platforms are your cup of tea, the Ironman is much, much tougher and requires much more training. But if facing real pain and danger are not part of your plan, the Tough Mudder obstacles may be worse than the training required for an Ironman.
If I successfully complete the Kentucky Ironman this year, it will be my first and last Ironman. In fact if I make the swim and the bike but drop out or pass out on the run, I will be happy. I want to go back to bicycle racing in my old age.
Tough Mudder vs. Ironman, Part 3
Tough Mudder vs. Ironman, Part 2
Tough Mudder vs. Ironman is Here
Second Tough Mudder Report
First Tough Mudder Finish
First Tough Mudder Photos
First Tough Mudder Entry
Ironman Bucket List