Here’s a little un-solicited advice, the kind that nobody wants and most don’t need, but I’m gonna pitch it all the same. Me, and my crew recently ran the Spartan Super at the Wintergreen Ski Resort in Virginia—lots of glorious elevation and wicked hill climbs so often that “run” was a mildly aggressive hike.

Lots and lots of great attitudes all over the place and, well, a few (a very few) not so much.

We’re all attracted to these events because we’re wondering in our noggins how we’ll do, how we will stack up when faced with this or that challenge. That’s what this is all about, right? Well, fun is word number one and then comes that little nudge of curiosity that says “Man, I hope I do all right.” You will.

What I want to help you out with is how to make sure you perform up to your expectations and not “get in your own way.”

It’s common to hear people sweating fire hazards, shock obstacles, obstacles with any significant height, or cold water plunges–we’ve all got our “Hey, I’m OK with heights but when it comes to [insert personal scary thing here] not so much.” You’ll hear folks in the queue before their turn to do this or that thing that stretches their limits feeding their anxiety with “Man, I bet that water’s cold.” “How cold do you think that water is?” “Wow, that’s sure going to be cold.”

I get it, it’s hard not to ponder what you’re a little less than sure about but I ask you, what did you sign up for? You’re here to swim in that water, right? You’re going to climb up that cargo net, go over the boom and climb down the other side, right? You’re going to eat that shock and move on, right? What I’m saying is you signed up to push yourself a little, test yourself a bit and obstacles such as these aren’t really a surprise. It’s not like you walked out of Starbucks and stumbled into a Tough Mudder.

My advice to you when you feel a little over-anxious is to shut-up about it. Remember that you signed up to have fun not talk yourself out of fun. Getting yourself all worked up about this or that personal “Oh, man I don’t know” course segment will not help you in any way, and, to be honest, it’s a little less than interesting or helpful conversation for your fellow teammates. Don’t be that guy. Don’t be that gal.

You’re here to swim in cold water, climb up and down high things, and other challenging tasks, so shut up about it and just do it, and have fun while you do it.

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Mark Hatmaker
Mark Hatmaker is the bestselling author of the MMA Mastery series, the No Holds Barred Fighting series, Boxer's Bible of Counterpunching, Boxer's Book of Conditioning & Drilling, Boxing Mastery, and No Second Chance. He has produced more than 40 instructional videos and he has extensive experience in the combat arts including boxing, wrestling, Jiu-jitsu, and Muay Thai. A highly regarded coach of professional and amateur fighters, law enforcement officials, and security personnel, he is also the founder of Extreme Self Protection, a research body that compiles, analyzes, and teaches the most effective Western combat methods known. He lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.


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