Retired Army Colonel Joe Adams Talks Tough Mudder, First Time Preparation, Importance for Soldiers and Civilians

If you’ve ever wanted to test your physical and mental ability on a given weekend, the Tough Mudder is definitely the event to do it. According to retired Army Colonel Joe Adams on an average mudder there are “10 to 12 miles and there’s 22 to 26 military style obstacles throughout the course.”According to the GoArmy website “The U.S. Army has partnered with Tough Mudder to encourage both Soldiers and Civilians to strive for the best, push the limit, and be relentless in the pursuit of success.”

If you’ve ever thought to participate in a Tough Mudder challenge, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, you’re in luck. Retired Army Colonel Joe Adams joined me for an interview yesterday to discuss the Tough Mudder, whether or not the challenge is similar to Army training, he also shared tips on how first timers can prepare for the event, and so much more.



U.S. Army Tough Mudder. Image courtesy of of

U.S. Army Tough Mudder. Image courtesy of of



Candace Rose: What is the Tough Mudder?

Colonel Joe Adams: “The Tough Mudder – the mudder organization has been around for five years, they now have events all over the globe, all over Europe, all over Australia, and all over the continental United States. The average mudder, 10 to 12 miles and there’s 22 to 26 military style obstacles throughout the course. Depending on the location, you’ll have as many folks as 10,000 going through the course on a given Saturday. Mudder does a really good job at managing that so they’ll put folks on the course in 400 person waves.”


Candace Rose: Is the race similar to Army training?

Colonel Joe Adams: “Candace, I’m always pretty cautious about how I answer this because it’s not ranger school, but the spirit of a mudder is similar to a number of challenges we take on in the Army. I think the heartbeat of mudder is about challenging yourself and pushing past your perceived limits.

One thing I want to make clear about mudder specifically is there’s a number of different races, adventure events that are out there. The draw for us in the Army and the Army Reserve is that mudder is built around teamwork. There’s not a first place, there’s not a last place. It is about starting with your team, negotiating the obstacles as a team and finishing as a team.”


Candace Rose: Do you have any preparation tips you can share with us?

Colonel Joe Adams: “Preparation is everything. Start eight to 10 weeks out, focus on functional movements, pull-ups, rope climbs, interval training. For first timers I would also ask them to go to the Tough Mudder website depending on the site their going to and look at the obstacles they’re going to encounter. Folks will see there are a number of water obstacles on any given mudder course, so my last piece of advice would be if you can’t swim don’t do the water obstacles.”


Candace Rose: What is the importance of the race for civilians and soldiers?

Colonel Joe Adams: “The heartbeat of this in the Army and the Army Reserve, on our sponsored Army events or Tough Mudder events, we’ll bring out 35 reserve soldiers from that community and we’ll have them all over the course. At the start line, at the finish line we have our own obstacle. For us, this is an opportunity to create awareness and connect with the American public and make folks aware of specifically opportunities in the Army Reserve.”


Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?

Colonel Joe Adams: “Folks that want more information, go or – good places to start. Our next two sponsored Army events 31 October in Temecula, California and then 7, 8 November in Palm Bay, Florida. I’d love to see folks out there.”


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