Kit & Preparation

KIT – what to wear

Box-out quote “A lot of competitors come in old scruffs to throw away afterwards,” says Mr Mouse. “But they are helping hypothermia as the water hangs cold in cotton. You need lycra or a material that will drip dry.”

Training is vital. But what you wear can also help or hinder…

Here’s my guide: 

Nettle Warrior

Running tights: even if it’s scorching. Bare legs will take the brunt of bruises and scrapes. Choose fabric to withstand barbed wire, rough wood, stones, gravel and mud. The 2XU Womens X-Form Active Compression Tights (£75; www.cotswoldoutdoor.com) got me through both Nettle Warrior and Tough Guy – and still came out of the washing machine as good as new.

Long sleeves: Again, bare skin needs protecting – especially for commando style crawls. The 2XU Womens X-form Active Compression Top LS (£65; www.cotswoldoutdoor.com) with an old running vest over the top for pinning my number to, performed well.

Gloves: a must for gripping ropes and fences. Sailing gloves are perfect as they are light weight and water resistant with great grip. Try Musto Long Finger Performance Gloves £25 from http://www.musto.com).

Off-road shoes. I tried lots of variations in training but the best grip by far came from the Nike Air Pegasus Plus 28 Ladies Trail Running Shoes (RRP £79.99).

Sports bra: chafing is the last thing you need so rethink sturdy, supportive bras. The Shock Absorber 4490 gave good E-cup support but wicked water away brilliantly (from £20; wwwlessbounce.com)

Winter Tough Guy

I was terrified of succumbing to hypothermia – here’s how I avoided it. (Hypothermia victims were hatless and wearing t-shirts and shorts).

Rash vest (a wet-suit type top worn by surfers). The thermal properties of the C-Skins Ladies Polypro HDi Short Sleeve Thermal Rash Vest (£31.99; www.wetsuitcentre.co.uk) worked like a dream.

Neoprene hat. The snug C-Skins Adjustable Surf Hood (£14.99 from www.wetsuitcentre.co.uk) stayed put and kept gunk out of ears

Waterproof gloves and thermal liners: I could still feel my hands thanks to Ultra Grip Gloves: £32.50 and Thermal Liner Gloves: £9.95; from www.sealskinz.com

Waterproof socks: My feet were still painfully cold (with toes numb for two days!) but at least they were dry in Thin Mid Length Sock: £27.95 from http://www.sealskinz.com

Waterproof Beanie: I jammed this over my neoprene hood and it worked brilliantly until I lost it en route. (£24.95 from http://www.sealskinz.com)

Base layers: A must. New ActivBody+ sporty thermals from Damart are light but effective (Long sleeve t-shirt, £29, and leggings £30 www.damart.co.uk). Or try Helly Hanson Warm Freeze top and leggings (£65 and £50; http://www.hellyhanson.com).

Off-road shoes. I tried lots of variations in training but the best grip by far came from the Nike Air Pegasus Plus 28 Ladies Trail Running Shoes (RRP £79.99).

Sports bra: chafing is the last thing you need so rethink sturdy, supportive bras. The Shock Absorber 4490 gave good E-cup support but wicked water away brilliantly (from £20; wwwlessbounce.com)

Helpful hints…  

Don’t wear orthotics. You’ll want to chuck these sole-biters into a ditch.

Have someone on hand with food. After one lap of Killing Fields you’ll receive a jelly baby but you’ll need far more. I shook with low blood sugar in Nettle Warrior.

Be a baby bird: open your mouth and allow yourself to be fed. Dirty hands = Weil’s Disease.

Leave your dignity and inhibitions at the start line (for the mixed post-race showers if nothing else).

Take out personal insurance in case of injury to you or someone else. Sports Cover Direct offers bronze, silver and gold one day cover from £9.20 to £27.60 (www.sportscoverdirect.com)

Preparation

Weight training is essential: push-ups, pull-downs, bicep and tricep curls, squats, lunges, monkey bars and pull-ups are great for building upper body strength.

High step-ups, squat thrusts and ‘mountain climbing’ drills are good training for endless climbs up hills and obstacles.

Include hill runs in your run training.

Circuit classes will build stamina and core strength.

Practise off-road running on soft, uneven ground. A balance board will also strengthen weak ankles

Try open water swimming with your local tri club to prepare for murky lakes.  (Serious Tough Guys take frequent dips into freezing lakes during long winter training runs).

Ask loved ones to thwack you simultaneously and relentlesly with wet tea towels (as preparation for the electric shocks)

Grit your teeth and prepare to hurt…

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