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Is HYROX Hard? A Raw Tale of Challenge and Anxiety

Is HYROX hard

I hesitated to write this. As a coach who helps athletes enhance their HYROX performance, admitting my own struggles feels like revealing a weakness. Yet, there's immense value in sharing the full spectrum of experiences, especially when tackling the often-asked question: Is HYROX hard?

In my first HYROX, I faced more than just physical challenges – it was a battle with anxiety, expectations, and the harsh reality of competition. This is the unvarnished story of how, despite all my experience and preparation, HYROX proved to be an entirely different beast.

Stepping into my first HYROX competition, I was armed with confidence and a fair share of fitness expertise. As a coach for both running and HYROX athletes, particularly in nutrition, I felt prepared. Despite ongoing Achilles tendinopathy and limited running, my fitness levels were high. My PFT time was 23 minutes, teetering on the edge of the open/pro category. I thought I was ready. I thought wrong.

The Day Unfolds:

Fully fuelled and hydrated, I arrived at the event ready to face what I believed I was prepared for. However, as the race neared, my nerves started to fray. Questions and doubts crept in – how would I measure up against my peers and other athletes? The familiar symptoms of anxiety were setting in – a dry mouth, a frequent need to go for a wee, and an overwhelming sense of apprehension. This was stronger than normal.

To compound my nervous state, I'd taken a 600mg of caffeine, which normally wouldn’t be an issue. In training, caffeine was my ally, but not today. My readiness turned to pure anxiety, pah!

Warm-Up Woes:

During the warm-up, my body gave the first signs of rebellion. Cramps in my biceps on the ski erg – this really was an ominous start. I tried to shake it off, telling myself I’d be fine. But when the race began, my heart rate raced straight up to 186 bpm, way above my usual 165 bpm tempo. Something was definitely off.

The Sled Push Struggle:

The sled push was where reality hit hard. The sled that I had pushed effortlessly in training suddenly felt like a mountain. I kept tipping it up, struggling with every push. I blamed the sled, the carpet, anything but the truth – I was not performing as expected. My heart rate was through the roof, and I couldn’t seem to get it under control.

sled puhs for hyrox
Wrong grip......

A Cascade of Challenges:

It didn’t end there. The sled pull was just as brutal. My back and biceps were now spasming with every pull. To make matters worse, I took a wrong turn out of the Rox Zone and after remonstrating with the official I had actually done the 4 reps I had to backtrack, wasting precious time (not that time mattered any more).

sled pull for hyrox
Don't go arm over arm unless you're strong enough

As if that wasn’t enough,  in my frazzled state, I miscounted my running laps and ended up running an extra one. It was a series of mishaps one after the other – a true comedy of errors, only it wasn’t funny.

Finding a Rhythm Amidst Chaos:

Post burpee broad jumps, I finally found a rhythm, albeit a slow and painful one. If the race hadn’t already kicked me in the balls, I then had to do 100 wall ball in the thunder dome, every step a challenge. By this point, I was beyond humbled – I was in the clutches of a challenge I had underestimated.

Walking lunges sled pull
Smiling not smiling


HYROX chewed me up and spat me out. It was a humbling, eye-opening experience. So, is HYROX hard? Absolutely, yes. Would I do another, absolutely. I’ve now booked 2 more. Bring it on.


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