Mud Run Tips

I recently ran my very first mud run. I am in reasonably good shape -- I jog a few times a week, I'm not overweight, and I have passable upper body strength -- but the mud run was way harder than I expected. Three days later I'm still a little sore and beat up.

If you're curious about what to expect from a mud run, here are some tips from both my own personal experience and from others who have done this before. It's certainly not a comprehensive checklist of suggestions (I am no mud run connoisseur and have no plans to become one), but if you've never participated in something like this it might be helpful to you.

There are a few other things like "bring several towels" and "bring a garbage bag and a change of clothes"; however, those are obvious enough that I won't put them on a list. You should also get plenty of sleep the night before, wear clean underwear, don't eat yellow snow, etc.

A non-obvious tip that someone gave me was to bring a cooler full of water to dump over my head in case the shower area was too crowded. That sounded good, but for me there was plenty of opportunity to rinse off and the towels got me de-mudded enough to go home. Your mileage may vary.

Regarding the obstacles and what kind of physical shape you need to be in to do one of these things in the first place: this is not like a 5k or a 10k race. You don't have to be a svelte and speedy runner-type who can hold a steady pace for miles on end. Ideally you should be able to maintain a slow jog for the distance that the event covers -- not that you'll necessarily be jogging the whole way, but because there is so much non-running exertion that you'll be dipping into your reserves by the end. Again, you're not running for time, you are just pushing through a really long and arduous workout.

There will also be some amount of upper-body strength involved. Nothing superhuman, but you might have to climb a wall or two. I thought that the obstacles were just going to be a bunch of mud pits; however, it turned out that there was quite a bit of climbing on the course I was on. You can always skip an obstacle if you can't make it (no one will eject you from the course if you do). Simply be aware that you have to use your arms if you plan to conquer every single wall and hill.

If you want to see some of the obstacles I faced, here are several photos that my wife took (she was excellent enough to cut through the course and snap a bunch of action shots). Just click on one of the pictures below and that will take you to the gallery:

So, would I do it again? Not sure, it's not really my thing. I pseudo-enjoy running, but I don't like mud so I'm probably not a good person to ask. I can definitely see how other people like it, especially if you do it with a friend. It makes for a good story.

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