What To Bring and How to Train for a Mud Run

On April 21st I did a mud run (Rugged Maniac) with a few of my friends. There were a few things I learned about it that I am going to pass on, or at least write them down so I don't foget them:

First of all there are certain things you should bring. I did not bring all these, and should have. Here is my list:

  • Towels and rags. You will want these in your car on the way back. You could also use a large towel to wrap around yourself to change.
  • A change of clothes. There were showers there, but people looked dirtier coming out than in. The mud is very sticky and a hose outside will not wash it off easily.
  • Sports drinks/water. Don't buy it there.
  • Cash. Almost nobody accepts credit cards there.
  • A distinctive looking bag for all the stuff. Rugged Maniac had a bag check, but took forever to find it if the bag was not distinctive enough.

The question I asked very often of others who have done this run was "What should I wear?". The answer is not simple, since everyone has their own preferences. However, here are some nuggets of wisdom I managed to gleam:

  • Do not wear anything white or light. It will be ruined by picking up the color of mud. That is unless you specifically intend to throw out whatever you are brining.
  • Do not wear cotton. Spandex, polyester and rayon seem to do better with repelling mud. I ended up wearing a Nike short sleeve shirt with long spandex pants
  • Wear shoes you are willing to throw out. I put mine through the washer twice and they are still very much mud color and in some cases full of mud.
  • Consider Five Fingers style shoes. I do not own a pair, but one of my running mates did and used it. It sees to have held up well enough and he did not injure himself. If you already own a pair, consider using it.
  • You will likely end up throwing out your socks and underwear.

"How do I train?" and "What obstacles will there be?" were other two good questions. In general the obstacles included crawling through the mud, jumping over things and climbing walls. As far as I know, there isn't much to do to train for crawling in the mud, but you can train for the jumps by practicing your broad jump. You should also work on functional fitness, as you will be tested when climbing walls. Thankfull, they were not too tall, and generally your teammates would be able to help you if you cannot make it over one. Going into it, I thought you'd have to be doing a lot of pulling your body up with your arms only, but that turned out not to be the case with this race. However, it seems that other races do have more strenuous obstacles that might require more upper body strength.

There was also lots of running on uneven terrain. You will want to make sure you have good balance and that you have strong ankles before race day. Rolling your ankle in the middle of the race, in the middle of the woods would really suck.

Selecting a mud run also seems to be an important consideration. If this is your first time, consider doing something on the simpler side, such as the Rugged Maniac. It was a 5k race, so most people end up finishing it in about an hour. There are other, much longer races out there that will take more out of you.

Now go out there and get muddy!