Sunday, October 27, 2013

Getting Dirty : Tips for a Mud Run

A few weeks back I wrote about my good clean bubble run. While getting clean and sudsy during a 5k was fun, life is about balance. Here is a recap and some tips from my recent dirty, rough, mud-caking Mud Run.

I had been looking at mud runs since January of last year. Most of them seemed intimidating, as at the time I had just started running and was in poor shape. Huff and puff after a mile, can't do two push ups kind of shape. 

One day I came across the Del Mar Mud Run, and before I could wuss out I handed over my money and prayed I would be able to run more than 2 miles by the time the race came around. Eight months later I ran it, survived it, LOVED it!

Honestly, other than continuing my typical work out routine (run 5-6x a week, cross train 3 days) I did no extra research into this type of run. That being said, here are my tips learned from experience.

#1 DO NOT WEAR COTTON! Cotton absorbs water. It will get heavy, and cause chafing. Instead wear gear that was specifically designed to be moisture wicking. This includes your socks. Feet can get chaffed too.

#2 Wear tight leggings. The mud sucks into every crevice, pocket, and cranie of your body and clothing. I wore tight capri running tights and drawstring pocket-less running shorts. I would have just wore the leggings, but I was worried about them becoming sheer when wet, and I was too cheap to buy a black pair before the race. Surprisingly, I was very comfortable and the extra shorts didn't hinder me.

#3 When it comes to your shirt, tight would be best. I wore a loose fitting, sleeveless performance shirt. While it dried quickly and felt comfortable while running, I think something more form fitting would have prevented rocks and dirt from getting under my shirt during the mud crawl parts. Every time I would swim through a mud bog the dirt would chafe my stomach. Owie.

#4 Wear trail shoes, or an old pair of running shoes. Please do not wear your awesome $150 shoes for a mud run. Please? Pretty please? The mud may or may not wash off, and is that really worth the risk?

#5 Practice at a play ground. I mean it. In a mud run you will rely heavily on your upper body strength to get through the obstacles. Monkey bars, rope swings, pull ups are all parts of mud runs. Playgrounds can supply ample opportunities to work on this. Now when I go to the park with my kids, they get a giggle out of mommy messing around on the monkey bars.

#6 Please don't tape your shoes. I know a lot of websites recommend you duct tape your shoes onto your feet and ankles.I saw dozens of runners with their tape falling off from the wet mud, and plenty of people standing on the side of the course so they could peel useless duct tape off.  Also, to me this seems like you are asking for an injury by restricting you natural movement.

#7 Bring a change of clothes, including shoes, towels, and a few gallons of water. The gallons of water are important if you are facing a long line at the showers after the race. Just wash yourself off with the gallons you brought along, camping style.

That's it folks! Come prepared and then all you have to think about is the fun! Mud runs - the most fun you will have paying to play in mud.

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