Run like a Pro

Before you lace up your Mud running shoes, read these tips which will make a difference between loving and hating the experience.

Goal setting

The good news is that working toward a goal may do more to improve your physique and mental health than you might think. Experts recommend picking an event that will require physical training like a walk-a-thon or 5K.

According to a recent study, runners reported that just completing the event or race gave them an increased sense of accomplishment. Newcomers and seasoned veterans alike agreed that they felt more confident and more powerful in all areas of their lives after completing the race. They felt stronger mentally and physically and more able to master problems at work and in relationships.

Train like you run

Check it out yourself. Get into what you want to wear on race day, go down to the river or lake or beach, dressed in your favorite football team sweats, tape up and run across/up and down the river. Feel the weight of the water in your clothes, the weight of the shoes, the traction of your shoes taped, the flexibility of your feet when taped. Then wear Spandex or nylon shorts try your shoes double-knotted and socks tucked. Huge difference!

Before the event try out your Running gear under muddy race conditions. Jump into a pond or a lake, then go for a run, then jump in again and run some more. If you have no pond or lake nearby, take a shower or bath in your kit and then go for a run. It would be annoying if you find out half way through the mud run that your Mud running gear gets uncomfortable or starts chafing when wet and muddy.

Train harder than the actual event will be

There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better because the difference comes as a tremendous relief in a race. It may rain during your race or and since you want to take part in a mud run, you’ll want to be prepared.

Training for a rainy day

Practice some running in wet shoes and wet clothes. Use a Garden hose to soak your running gear, or jump into the ocean or a pool and then go for a run. This may be a bit of a challenge, but gets you seriously fit and ready.

Combination Training

Beginners should start with combining walking and running. Begin by alternating four minutes of waking with two minutes of running for a total of 30 minutes. Follow this regimen every other day for at least two weeks then add a minute to the run and subtract a minute from the walk.

After a couple of weeks at this level, step it up to four minutes running, two minutes walking. Keep going until you are running continuously for 30 minutes or settle into any walk/ run combo that suits you.

A week before the race, cut distances by about two thirds and limit running the last two days; this is called “tapering.” As the weeks progress, it will be tempting to crank up the speed, but overdoing it increases your risk of injury.

Training

Train like you run. Practice running in wet shoes and wet clothes. Jump into the ocean or a pool and then go for your run. Train on dirt, mud, sand and through water. Run hills and stairs.

Check it out yourself. Get into what you want to wear on race day, go down to the beach, lake or river, dressed in your favorite football team sweats, tape up and run into the water, then up and down the beach or river. Feel the weight of the water in your clothes, the weight of the shoes, the traction of your shoes taped, the flexibility of your feet when taped.

Then wear spandex or nylon shorts. Try your shoes double-knotted and socks tucked. Huge difference! You don’t see Marines running up the river with duct tape on their feet, right? Usually, they wear boots and camo gear. Don’t duct tape your shoes, just double-tie your laces and TUCK them in. People who duct tape their shoes have the tendency to tape too hard and reduce circulation, or limit the range of motion in your foot, causing injury. By taping, you lose 50% or more of the traction on the bottom of your shoes as well. 300 meters into the race is the first mud hole! From the first obstacle on, it’s mud, dirt, mud after mud for 2 miles, You do the math. Have you seen any Marines running up the river with duct tape on their feet? Usually, they are wearing boots and camo gear.

Don’t wear goggles or sunglasses

Contact lenses can be a pain when mud gets in your eyes.

Race Day

Take photos of yourself before and after the race. You’ll have more fun later.

Stay Hydrated

Drink 12oz of fluid two hours before your run, then another 12oz of fluid for every hour that you exercise. You’ll need more water during high humidity and hot temperatures. Drink the water they offer along the route.

Warm-ups and Stretching

Warm up your muscles before you begin any run. Warm muscles stretch with greater ease. Strength your muscles before and after you participate in the sport. This will improve your flexibility and reduce chances of injury.

Join a Team

Join a team or find a partner to run with. First-time mud runners may want to run with a friend. You are more likely to stay strong to the end when you have someone else running with you. Be sure the others on your team are at your same intensity level; don’t pair a slow runner with other fast runners Ask for help along the route when you need it, there are lots of volunteers around. Create a team costume to stand out!

Positioning

If you are serious about your race time, arrive to the start line early and try to start at the front of the wave.

Listen to your body

Take breaks as you need them. Drink more water. Don’t walk or slow jog down big hills, run and pass other competitors with caution.

Obstacles

When you crawl through the tunnels and under the wires, do a bear crawl. Do not crawl on your knees or you will scrape them on small rocks.

Mud Pits

Don’t run through the middle of the creeks or mud pits where they can get deep; run along the shallowest sides (edges) of the water obstacles. There may be unexpected divots and holes in the creeks and in the mud pits; proceed with caution.

Get dressed for mud and water

Running can be a great experience if your clothing is right and fits well, even when wet. Unless you are a fair weather runner you will get wet from rain, puddles, mud pits and open water swimming. Your clothes need to feel good and be comfortable no matter what you do. The following tips are mainly for mud running but can be adapted for any other wet run.

When you go to bog, it’s also a wise thing to leave your best clothes at home. Besides warm weather clothing you should also have something against rain and cold. You should also have extra footwear with you because you almost never can get out of bog with dry feet. Your local Army Surplus Shop may have most of the robust and inexpensive clothes and shoes you want.

Clothing Checklist

Get your adventure or mud running outfit.

We recommend that you wear old comfy clothes. They will get soaking wet and dirty during most events, but also protect you from cuts and bruises. Army surplus shops can help you get “geared up” from head to toe. They have most of the gear mentioned below.

Team Shirts add to the spirit of any event. If you’re on a team, make up your own team name and a shirt to show the pride of your team. We’ve seen some great team shirts and it makes the event all the more fun. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something that communicates the esprit de corps of your team.

Try your kit before the race.

Wet clothes feel a lot different then dry. Put on your running outfit, take a shower or bath and see how it fits. Then go for a run and a swim. You’ll soon find out what fits and what causes trouble.

Loose fitting cotton should be avoided. Sweat pants are extremely bad. Unless you’re just training, avoid thick cottons that absorb and hold water and mud and add weight. T-shirts can be worn loose as they don’t weigh much, even when wet. Anything that soaks up a lot of mud and water will weigh you down, not to mention chaff you.

Spandex is an option for any racing event. It is lightweight and doesn’t hold much water. Keep in mind that it gets damaged easily.

Wear long pants or running tights

You’ll need these to protect your legs in the deep, dark mud pits. Running tights made from robust nylon fabric are a good option.

Wear shorts under your pants

Being able to shed down to your shorts versus your muddy “used-to-be-white-underwear” will make the outdoor co-ed showers a much more enjoyable experience.

Wear an unlined jacket on windy days, which is a rain top with no zip. Zips can get clogged with mud. Choose a smooth nylon fabric from which mud just slides off. Any cotton feel may hold more mud.

Wear thick socks

Knee high socks are like ankle weights when wet. Wear ankle socks, preferably the ones made for running. This will prevent blisters and help your feet feel just as good as the day before the event. Definitely no cotton socks. Cotton + water = blisters.

Wear boots or running shoes

Unless you want to slip and suffer, leave those sneakers at home! You’ll need a pair of boots with good tread, especially after your first stomp in the mud. Sneakers do not have enough traction with all the mud that will get caked on. Plus, the hills of dirt that you climb along the race have been known to eat a sneaker now and then because they come off so easy. Running shoes that breathe are what you want (leather is bad).

Don’t duct tape your shoes, just double-tie your laces and TUCK them in. You don’t need to duct tape your shoes onto your feet, but you may if you want to look like the serious adventure runner! If you duct tape your shoes, people have the tendency to tape too hard and cut off the circulation, or limit the range of motion in your foot, causing injury. By taping, you loose 50% or more of the traction on the bottom of your shoes as well. 300 meters into the race is the first mud hole! You do the math. From the first obstacle on, it’s mud, dirt, mud pit after mud pit for nearly 4 miles. History shows that most runners pull off the tape on the back side of the run. You don’t see Marines running up the river with duct tape on their feet do you? Usually, they are wearing boots and camo gear.

Again, don’t wear goggles or sunglasses

Contact lenses can be a pain when mud gets in your eyes. It is a good idea to have rewetting drops and back up lenses. Rewetting drops work better than saline and you can get the preservative free kind that come in single dose packets. Your doc may have samples.

Soak your clothes after the race

Believe it or not, the mud does come out of your clothes! All clothes will get seriously wet and dirty during this event, but showers are often provided to rinse most of the dirt off. Make good use of the showers. Rinse off as much mud from your as you can. It comes off easier if you’re still wearing your clothes. Soak everything (even your boots) in a garbage can or other container and keep rinsing and soaking until the majority of mud has disappeared. Then you can throw your clothes in the washing machine.

Bring a washable bag to put your dirty clothes and shoes in for the drive home.

Bring a change of clothes (including shoes)

You’ll remember just how important this is when your carpooling buddy refuses to let you put your muddy body in their clean car. Bring a towel for the showers.
The post race festivities are meant to be fun.

Most importantly, have fun!