CHELSEA — When you're planning a run through lakes of mud surrounded by fire, preparation is probably a good idea.
Chelsea Piers' coach Gerald Moore says he can help you get ready.
Moore, a fearsome former boot camp instructor for the U.S. Army, has assembled a training regimen of offbeat exercises designed to prepare both the fit and the feeble for the summer's mud runs.
Mud runs, such as Tough Mudder or the Warrior Dash, have grown in popularity in recent years. Tough Mudder, which bills itself as "probably the toughest event on the planet," regularly brings in some 20,000 participants who embark on a 10 to 12 mile dash through obstacles like rope climbs, flaming pyres and, of course, mud.
Moore's own tough training simulates many of those obstacles — all within the air-conditioned comfort of the Chelsea Piers' Sports Center.
"Just about anything that you can do that challenges your mobility and ability to move from one place to another, we have here," Moore said.
Gary Griffin, 33, regularly attends Moore's training and in June was completing a body-breaking course of rope climbs, runs, weight pulls and sand crawls.
"It's tough — a good whole body workout," he said.
"A mud run, it's tough and you never know what's coming, but this definitely gets you ready for a race."
Moore's training course involves more than just your typical treadmill and weights. Chelsea Piers put up a jungle gym at his request, and he orders his trainees to crawl through the sand of its beach volleyball courts.
They've also ordered specialty machines like the Jacob's Ladder, a sort of ladder-treadmill that simulates climbing up a wall, as well as a Marpo rope that simulates pulling your body up a rope — or even a tug-of-war.
"It's this sort of equipment that lets us train our people to be the best at those sorts of runs," Moore said.
The runs near New York City are largely scheduled for the end of the summer or the start of September, which means that if you're hoping to make it over the legion of obstacles and finish the race, you'd better start training now, Moore said.
He added that it may also be the best way to get that beach body as the summer goes on.
"People now want more goals that are outside of themselves," he said. "It gives them incentive to push forward, it makes them work out harder each and every day."
Moore's classes at Chelsea Piers start at $576 for eight weeks for members, and $720 for non-members. Full schedule and details are available at their website.