SGPT: Tell us about yourself?
Josh Matthews: My name is Josh Matthews and I am addicted to racing. I first came across obstacle course racing when some people from my gym decided to do a Spartan Sprint in 2015. I decided why not and entered as part of the team. From that race on, I have been trying to complete in as many events as my budget and schedule allows. I’m an 11 year veteran of the US Navy, where I served in submarines and as a scuba diver. Whenever we were not on the sub we always took ourselves to the woods and cliffs to get away from the constraints of duty. I have always had a love of the outdoors and a competitive spirit, and these Obstacle Course Races combine those two traits into one mad day.
SGPT: Did you have an athletic background growing up?
Matthews: Growing up in Michigan, I always played various sports, but baseball and snow skiing were my favorites. It wasn’t until leaving home that I was exposed to other adventure type activities that really allowed me to find what I was really made of.
SGPT: How did you train for the Tough Mudder event?
Matthews: Based on advice from a previous mudder and good friend, we worked on upper body pulling exercises and grip strength. And lots and lots of cardio, mostly running.
SGPT: Tell us a little about the event? Where was it?
Matthews: The event was held at in Fairburn, GA at Bouckaert Farm, an equestrian event center situated on 8000 acres astride the Chattahoochie River just SW of Atlanta..
SGPT: What was hardest part of the event?
Matthews: For me the hardest part had to be the distance. This is the farthest that I have ever run (of my own accord) at one time and it showed with some minor calf cramping and after race exhaustion.
SGPT: What is one thing you wish you would have done to get ready for the race?
Matthews: I should have included more running in my pre-event regimen.
SGPT: Any tips for up and coming athletes that want to do the Tough Mudder?
Matthews: The biggest thing to know about the Tough Mudder is that it is a team event. There is no way any one person can conquer the course alone. It requires teamwork to complete successfully. The great thing is that you don’t have to have a team; everyone on the course serves as a teammate. All that said, you should show up with a good attitude, ready to have some fun and run/walk for 12-ish miles. There are no timing chips or losers in this event. Everyone that finishes is a winner as long as you try your best and leave it all on the course.
SGPT: What kind of trail running shoes did you use for the event?
Matthews: I used Reebok All Terrain Super Trail Shoe. After running a previous race in regular trail shoes, I learned the value of ORC race shoes. The traction on the muddy slopes is unbelievable and very necessary. Definitely a must have for any “mud run” event.
SGPT: Did you use compression socks or body glide on your feet to prevent blisters?
Matthews: I did not wear compression socks for this race, but I was sure to wear non-cotton, moisture-wicking socks. With the race being 12 miles and running in wet shoes for most of the race, I didn’t feel like body glide was necessary.
SGPT: Did you use electrolytes or salt tablets for training and the event?
Matthews: Prior to the race, we each took a serving of pre workout Cellucor C4 with some BCAAs included. The Tough Mudder event has several “aid stations” throughout the course where racers can get water. The stations alternate with also having electrolyte drink available as needed. Some stations also had protein bars cut up and ready for refueling on the go. For emergencies each of us also carried a few packets of mustard to help in case cramps started coming on. The mustard worked very well for two of us to stave off the cramping in our calves.
SGPT: What book are you reading now?
Matthews: I am reading Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries.
SGPT: Many thanks for the interview
Matthews: My pleasure
Interview with Shane Henderson Spartan Racer