For the past couple of years, I’ve wanted to do a mud run. The idea of running around and tackling obstacles just sounded like a lot of fun. When our friends Courtney and Dave asked about doing the Warrior Dash with them this year, Garrett and I decided that this was the year to do it.
On the morning of the race, I had that horrible feeling in my stomach that makes me think of track and field days back in grade school. The run was 3.51 miles up a ski hill with 13 obstacles and while I was somewhat prepared for the race, there were other things that I didn’t factor in. Overall it was a great experience, but in case anyone else was thinking about doing one of these races, I thought I’d share some of my tips from a mud run rookie!
Train with Total Body Conditioning and Running. Leading up to the race, I was increasing my strength training workouts to really get my back and arms strong enough to pull me up and over the obstacles. I’d always thought that the obstacles would be the hard part, but it turned out that the running (uphill!) was the bigger issue. It’s been four years since I did the ZooRun 5km and to be honest I haven’t really run like I did back then in a long time.
Combine that with fighting off the start of a cold, seasonal allergies and some mild asthma, I was huffing and puffing before we even got to the first obstacle. I was pretty disappointed in myself for not remembering to bring allergy medication or some kind of cold medicine before we left. If we do one of these next time, I’m coming prepared! We let the rest of our group go ahead and then Garrett and I went at our own walking/jogging pace.
Wear tight clothing. That baggy t-shirt is going to feel 20 pounds heavier once it gets wet and covered in mud, and those loose shorts are going to start falling down while you’re running. You’ll also want to tie your shoes extra tight – otherwise you could lose them in a mud puddle.
Bring a clean towel, a damp facecloth in a plastic sandwich bag and a change of clothes. We were hosed down by some friendly firemen after the race, but I wouldn’t have wanted to stay in my wet clothes all day long. Even with that quick shower and change of clothes, I was ready to hop in for a real shower as soon as we got home. I couldn’t believe the dirt that was still coming out of my hair!
Don’t wear good shoes. You want to make sure you that they are shoes you can run in, but don’t bring your new pair! After the race you can either toss the shoes into one of the donation bins at the run site, or you can wash them to use for future mud runs.
Bring a large plastic garbage bag, especially if your husband thinks it’s a good idea to roll around in the mud. We forgot this, but our friends remembered to bring a huge one, so we tossed everyone’s muddy clothes and shoes in there before we went to the beer tent. Our friend Courtney was so sweet and washed our muddy clothes together with hers when she got home!
Warm Up & Stretching. It’s important to warm up your muscles before the race. We took the dogs on a walk earlier in the morning and then did some light stretching. The dogs were happy to get out and it gave us a chance to limber up a little. We also did some stretching while we waited for our wave to start. My stomach was just full of butterflies at this point. Ah!
It’s okay to go around an obstacle. We got to one obstacle where you had to scale a wall while pulling yourself up a rope. On my first try going up it, I felt like I’d ripped my hands on the rope – so I walked around it (as well as the next vertical rope climbing one). It wasn’t worth tearing apart my hands when we still had other obstacles to get through. The point of the obstacles are to push yourself, but you shouldn’t do anything that you don’t feel safe doing.
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water the day before the race to hydrate yourself, as well as the morning of and throughout the race. The night before the race, we had a more carb heavy dinner than we normally have and then kept breakfast light.
Don’t forget to take before & after pics! I’m so glad we remembered to do this before we started the race and after we got back, all covered in mud. A big thank you to Courtney’s mom for coming out to cheer us all on and take some photos.
We left the race with participation medals, fuzzy red viking hats, new t-shirts and more than a few bruises. Even with all the setbacks, I’m so glad that we did this. It was a big wake up call about getting my cardio back up, but it was also super empowering that I was able to get over those obstacles and climb higher than I normally feel comfortable going. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did things that scared me (in a good way). We’ve already talked about doing one next year and training for it more.