Friday, 7 August, 2020

How hard is the Tough Guy race?

Home Forums Event Discussion How hard is the Tough Guy race?

This topic contains 26 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Robin Wood 3 years, 8 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)
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  • #27655

    Patrick Linker
    Participant

    Last weekend I completed a Tough Mudder race. I did all obstacles; and “Electroshock Therapy” was not so bad than I imagined. Had lots of fun. The Tough Mudder course was also physically difficult. Now I am interested how the original Tough Guy race (as I know it is the hardest obstacle course race worldwide) compares physically and mentally with the Tough Mudder.
    I know that Tough Guy Original event takes place in the winter. Cold water will make the race more difficult I think. Moreover there are 4 obstacles with electric shocks. How does these electric shocks (e.g. in the “Vietcong Torture Chamber” obstacle) compare with electroshock therapy at Tough Mudder? Are the shocks worse (and if yes why)? What is the physically most difficult part of the Tough Guy race? Which physical and mental requirements a participant should have before entering a Tough Guy Original race?

    I would greatly appreciate a reply!

    #27656

    Andy W
    Participant

    Hi Patrick,

    I’ve never completed Tough Mudder so I don’t have much of a comparison but I will say the following:

    Tough Guy is amazing. The atmosphere on site is unique – there’s a real buzz to the day. The course and obstacles themselves aren’t overtly difficult individually but put it all together in a package at the end of January and you’ve got a fearsome prospect.

    I think James Appleton summed it up best by saying it’s the only race of it’s kind (ignoring Death Races/extreme endurance events) where you can turn up and genuinely not know if you’re going to finish or not.

    It is hard but it’s far more mental than physical in my experience. That said I know I don’t feel the cold anywhere near as much as some people. Kit is important also but it by no means guarantees success.

    Key points to make:

    – Protect your core and head, if you lose temperature here your race is already over
    – Test kit in advance so you can make adjustments if required
    – Do some cold water dunkings before hand, it makes a huge difference if you can mentally prepare yourself for the shock the first time the cold water hits your chest

    The other thing is to try not to be too intimidated by it. Turn up with an open mind and some reasonable kit and you should be perfectly fine!

    Good luck! See you in the mud!

    #27658

    Patrick Linker
    Participant

    Thanks for the answer. Tough Guy seems like a real challenge. I have heard that Tough Guy contains 4 obstacles with electric wires. The most terrifying (according to race reviews) is the Vietcong Torture Chamber. Are the electric shocks in the torture chamber really extreme? Are these worse than electric shocks in other obstacle course races e.g. Tough Mudder?

    #27668

    Andy W
    Participant

    I don’t know about that!

    The chamber is pretty nasty but I took great care not to get shocked – either that or my body was so numb I didn’t feel it!

    Anyone else been shocked by them?

    #27681

    Alan Viveash
    Participant

    The shocks are dead easy to avoid. Also completed the course without getting a zap. The obstacles are pretty easy though, just big and old! Watch your hands for crush vs A-Frame and rope – lots of opportunity for this.

    It’s all about the cold – the killing fields is so much time in water with little or no chance to run to get your heat back. This ruins you! Bomb up with neoprene and do some cold water acclimatization before the race and it’ll be golden.

    #27694

    Patrick Linker
    Participant

    Tough Guy is extremely hard and I have heard that less than a half of the race entrants finish the race. How I can train for the physical and mental torture of the Tough Guy race?

    #27695

    Phil
    Moderator

    It is quite easy to avoid to the electric shocks if you’re smart… Check out my review from two years ago (which was my first time) https://www.mudstacle.com/2015/02/reputation-mind-games-legend-tough-guy.html

    As Andy has said, so much of the battle with Tough Guy is getting the kit right. If you’re reasonably fit and have good kit then you should have no problems. I think there have been occasions in the past where they’ve had 50% failure rate, but thats not the case any more. Most people are quite clued up about what to expect and what to wear so its not nearly so high any more.

    It will certainly be harder than Tough Mudder, but I don’t think it’s the toughest in the country. If you’re seeking serious challenges you should also look into Nuts Challenge 4 laps (Winter especially), Suffering Legends and Nuclear Oblivion.

    #27696

    Patrick Linker
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply! Here are a few other questions about Tough Guy:

    – Can electric shocks be avoided at ALL electric obstacles (also on the slide at the end of the race)?
    – Have I do training on lakes in the winter to be fit enough to Tough Guy; what training for the freezing temperature should I really do?
    – Is the cannonshot at the start of the race extremely loud? I know I can keep off the cannon dozens of metres, but I think it is a lot louder than an ordinary start pistol. Loud bangs also have the risk that ear(s) is/are damaged.
    – Is the run through fire difficult and dangerous?

    #27697

    Andy W
    Participant

    Hey Patrick, my comments as below:

    – Can electric shocks be avoided at ALL electric obstacles (also on the slide at the end of the race)?

    Yep! Although I think I got shocked this year as I had a burn on my shoulder but I didn’t feel it. was so numb from all the cold water!

    – Have I do training on lakes in the winter to be fit enough to Tough Guy; what training for the freezing temperature should I really do?

    As I said before your first priority is to protect your head and core. At least a neoprene beanie and warm base layer required. I went with merino base then thermal compression then rash vest over the top and was fine this year. Neoprene should definitely be considered.

    – Is the cannonshot at the start of the race extremely loud? I know I can keep off the cannon dozens of metres, but I think it is a lot louder than an ordinary start pistol. Loud bangs also have the risk that ear(s) is/are damaged.

    It’s loud yes but not really an issue.

    – Is the run through fire difficult and dangerous?

    Nope. By the time you get there you’re soaked to the skin so there’s no risk of you catching fire and in reality you’re welcome for the heat!

    My final note:

    You’re running the risk of being frozen by analysis (overthinking it!). Tough Guy is Tough Guy. It’s a very special race which I imagine I’ll be going back to for many years.

    Do not overthink it. Yes it’s tough but the real risk is from cold and hypothermia. Shocks and fire you can avoid or recover from easily but coming back from the cold is impossible without pulling out of the race. Keep yourself warm and enjoy the rest.

    #27719

    Andy W
    Participant

    Hi Patrick sorry didn’t realise I didn’t actually answer one of your questions!

    With regards to cold water training – I don’t feel the cold all that much so I don’t do anything specific myself. I do know people use cold water acclimatisation training (cold showers etc.) which can help!

    How badly do you feel the cold?

    #27771

    Des Crinion
    Member

    As mentioned above, shocks are easily avoided, so can be relatively ignored. You cannot however avoid the cold. It gets into you and tries to shut you down. I am usually quite competitive in races but on both occasions in Tough Guy I didnt really care where I was in the race, I just wanted to finish!

    #27774

    Patrick Linker
    Participant

    Thanks for the answers! In videos I see people getting shocked at electric obstacles. Has someone concrete tips how to avoid any shock (a shock from a 18V battery must be extreme, I think)?

    At one time the Torture Chamber was completely dark and therefore one couldn’t see any electric wires (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OybtRHiAIps). How is it possible to avoid electrically charged things in the Torture Chamber?

    On the end there is the slide with electric wires. Sometimes participants were lead around this obstacles, sometimes the participants slide down and (I think this is worse) sometimes participants climbed up the slide with electric wires. In videos I saw that in 2016 participants had to climb up the slide. How can electric wires be avoided even if I have to climb up the slide?

    I would greatly appreciate hints!

    #27775

    Alan Viveash
    Participant

    Super-basic explanation of electrics used in obstacle races = high voltage, low amperage. It’s about 10,000v at a tiny amperage delivered in pulses about 1 second (ish?) apart. It’s the same/similar kit used in electric fences. It really isn’t that bad, just feels like a hard smack. Tasers operate on the same principal just with a higher voltage still and more jolts per second (AFAIK! I’ve not hand any taser based fun).

    Avoiding them in the torture chamber is easy – it’s not as dark as it looks in there. Cameras are terrible in low light, your eyes are far better.

    Viagra falls – stay low, use the ropes. I’m fairly confident that the wires were off on that last obstacle in 2016 though.

    But above all, the shocks are really only 0.5% of Tough Guy. Relax and do your cold water prep – that’s what matters.

    #27781

    Hi Patrick, I’ve did Tough Guy and Total Warrior last year and took the quickest route through the shock obstacles. I told myself ‘so what if I get shocked, it’s part of the experience’. And despite going through maybe 5 different shock obstacles now I’m yet to be shocked. Maybe I didn’t trigger it, maybe I didn’t feel it because of the low amperage, as Alan described, or maybe they weren’t even turned on, I don’t know. But I expect it’s one of the last two as I did charge right through them. To second Alan’s comment, I really wouldn’t worry about the shocks.

    As for cold water acclimatisation, I started with cold showers and then found a clean river near me to build up my resistance. I found a few spots staggered along my run which were sheltered from the current so I could go neck deep without worrying about being washed away. I started by going in for 30 seconds at a time then built it up to 2min 30secs at a time, having 3 or 4 dips per run. The cold water therapy also did wonders for my muscles and prevented any cramp…you may get some funny looks from any walkers though!! Enjoy, Ben

    #27808

    Patrick Linker
    Participant

    Now I think about not doing a Tough Guy race in 2017. Maybe in 2018. I am a little afraid of this race, because:

    – The electric shocks are too intense
    – In the finish I get only a medal and not a Finisher Shirt like in a Tough Mudder; why I should torture myself only because a medal?
    – I need more preparation for Tough Guy I think, I have to train more; many people don’t finish the race

    Question: Is the Tough Guy really worth to run? I can imagine that it is a great experience finishing the race. But paying so much and then experiencing to hard electric shocks, etc.???

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