Training for a Tough Mudder: Update 2

This is the second update tracking our progress as my wife and I prepare for our first Tough Mudder event, a Tough Mudder Half at Mesa, Arizona in April.

In the first update I noted that while researching the various obstacles we will encounter during the event, it became clear that upper body strength, and the ability to pull yourself across or up obstacles, will be key. Accordingly, a key area of focus for us has been improving upper body strength. As we trained at out local gym and on a parcourse at a local park, we easily met our training objectives.

Tompkins Park – Sierra Vista, Arizona

This last week presented a challenge as we visited family in Illinois. Anyone that travels regularly knows that maintaining a workout regimen can be a challenge when on the road. If traveling on business, and staying in a hotel, you can generally count on having access to a gym. While the breadth of equipment is often pretty narrow, my experience is you can at least get in a run on treadmill and use some dumbbells.

The options narrow if you’re traveling for pleasure, staying with family and don’t have access to a gym … even a gym light on equipment. The options are narrowed even further if it’s too cold – as it was in Illinois (really cold) over the last week – or too hot and getting in a run, which is free, outdoors.

Our solution? Seek out a local gym which offered daily or weekly passes. Our first stop was the local YMCA which was just around the corner, walking distance, from my mother-in-law’s house.

On the first morning we got up at 5:30 and ran over to the YMCA. Unfortunately, they don’t offer daily or weekly passes; the facilities are only available to members.

Later that morning, following a review of gyms on Yelp, we visited a local gym in the neighboring town, seven miles away. Pay dirt! We spoke to the owner, Meridith – who shared her own inspiring story (formally weighed ~ 370 lbs. as I recall, is now down to 175 lbs. and had purchased the gym early last year when the former owner decided to move west) – and she offered deals at either $7/daily or $20/weekly. Of course being brilliant mathematicians we chose the $20 deal even though we would only be using the gym on three mornings. (That $2 savings is going directly to the Emergency Fund, my friends!)

Maximum Performance – Galesburg, Illinois

Don’t let the exterior fool you, the gym possesses all the equipment (e.g. free weights, machine weights, dumbbells, treadmills, squat racks, rowing machines, mats, recumbent bikes, dip bars, pull-up bars, etc.) needed to get a complete and total workout.

Three days and $40 later the wife and I are on track to meet the Tough Mudder Half challenge in April, thanks to Meridith and access to the fantastic facility she owns/manages.

Stay savvy and stay fit, my friends and don’t let travel be an impediment to getting in your daily workout!

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.


  1. I’ve never done a Tough Mudder, but I have a few friends that have. I’m not sure if I would ever do it myself! We even have what appears to be a TM training course by our house in Austin. It looks really intimidating!

  2. Great way to keep your training going James! Looking forward to your updates – just over two months away now!

    • Indeed. We’re looking forward to a challenging, rewarding weekend.

  3. I’m no where near in shape to even check the Tough Mudder website. 🙂 I know some friends who have completed in one, they found it fun, challenging and rewarding. Good luck to you and your wife. Seems like you got the right frame of mind to do well.

    • Thanks, my friend. We’re enjoying the training and I’m certain the event will be a challenge … but rewarding.

  4. I’m jealous, James. I’ve played around with the idea of doing a Tough Mudder. Thirteen miles of obstacles is pretty challenging, though. I know my brother and a couple of my friends would join me. But I don’t know if Mrs. Groovy would allow it. “What are you nuts?” I hear her chiding me. “You’re 55 years old!” Sigh. No one ever said giving veto powers to your wife was going to be all sunshine and lollipops. Glad to see you and the misses are maintaining your training regiment. Can’t wait to see how you guys do in April.

    • Should be interesting. I celebrated the big 50 a couple months ago so I will let you know how this ‘old’ guy does through more updates as we prepare and of course, pictures and a post highlighting race day. Thanks for taking the time to stop by, my friend.

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