Bored of exercising in the gym? Turn your neighbourhood into your own epic workout zone

One thing very few people know about me is that I hate getting wet socks. It’s the worst. Having to walk around with a sopping foot for more than two seconds can send me spiralling over the edge. So I surprised myself when I actually hit the register button for a seven mile obstacle course through the mud – because it inevitably means, my feet are going to be wet for a lot longer than two seconds.

It is of course Mudderella UK. The length of this obstacle course alone is enough to mean I need to train and that’s before even considering the obstacles that lay in wait – such as scaling barrels of hay, crawling under wire and the name gives it away, but getting dirty in the mud.

Thinking of entering next year's Grand National

Thinking of entering next year’s Grand National

To kick start my training, my husband offered to be a personal trainer and take me on a woodland adventure. He’d walked the route a week earlier and used available resources to make up the obstacles. We can often forget how the best training ground we have is the world around us.

Obstacles were given exciting names like tingle tangle (a climb through the branches of a fallen tree), lazy dog (a scramble over a log) and ditch hop (self-explanatory). I loved running through the trees, listening out for the next obstacle coming up and how to tackle it but before long anxiety set in.

Attempts at the bunny hop (not a fluffy skip around in the woods, amusing though that would be and far more in my ability bracket, but a jump onto a horizontal tree trunk) and the plank (a calculated walk on a log over a stream) proved a little futile. Both obstacles made me realise how much the mind can hinder success. Because the obstacles weren’t on the ground, I had difficulties overcoming the mental chatter of the ‘what ifs’. What if it breaks? What if I fall? (The height of both obstacles were barely enough to render a scuff).

pit of doomI also struggled to scale a gate using only my upper body but luckily was nimble enough on my feet for cow splat (happily avoiding any unsavoury moments). I’m counting that as a tick on my training sheet!

My sportseeking mission has always challenged me to find ways to stay active without getting sucked into gym life. Although I need to train more before Mudderella using their training plan, I’m going to mix it up with plenty of bunny-hops, lazy dogs and who knows, maybe I’ll even learn to love soggy socks.


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