In preparation for our Tough Mudder race, below are some tips courtesy of our friend Amelia Boone, 2012’s World’s Toughest Female Mudder.
Obstacle Course Racing
- Shoes: Entirely acceptable to run in an old pair of running shoes (there are places to toss them afterwards), but a good pair of trail running/mud shoes won’t get weighed down and will provide much better traction.
- Recommendations: Salomon Speedcross 3; inov-8 x-talons, mud claws, bare grips, trailrocs; La Sportiva Crosslite. Trail running shoes such as Brooks Pure Grit, Cascadia or Saucony Peregrine are a nice “in between” shoe.
- Clothes: Compression gear, spandex. Anything that doesn’t retain water and get bogged down.
- Recommendations: Cheap is the name of the game here – expect rips and holes.
- Gloves: Split of opinion on this. I generally find that gloves don’t help grip for any obstacles, but others swear by them.
- Recommendations: Mad Grip ($10 on amazon); cheap gardening sticky gloves
- Rope Climbs: Don’t try to climb like a Crossfitter here. There will be knots – use them.
- Barbed Wire Crawls: If it’s clear, roll, don’t crawl. Saves your knees and energy.
- Walls: I find it easiest to grab the top, and use your feet to “climb” the wall. Or, help each other. Unless you are racing in an elite heat, help is always allowed.
- Electroshock: Use your arms to part the wires so you’ll get hit there first. Protect your head (and mouth).
- Monkey Bars: Wipe your hands in dirt to get some grip, and try to find the least muddy set. Hook OVER the bars as much as possible.
- Rings: Find a rhythm in your swing. Slow and steady will get you across.
- Tyrolean traverse: Go on top, not underneath. Hook your top leg and use your arms to pull.
- Tire flips/drags/etc: Use your legs; keep your back out of flips. Find a rope that’s long enough to hoist over your shoulder for the drags.
- In general: If you are not a runner, don’t be afraid to walk. Well over 50% of the people out there are walking the course, especially if there are hills. Just be courteous if it is single track and runners are trying to pass.
What to bring on race day:
- Trash bags: Your clothes will be muddy – throw them in, and deal with them when you get home
- One or two full size towels, and a hand towel: There will be “showers,” but for drying off
- Change of clothes; extra warm clothes
- Nutrition: For a race longer than 5 miles, I’d carry a gel or two with me. Bring post race snacks, bars, etc.
- ID (for race check in), camera/phone, cash, a Sharpie and car keys: They will have waivers and race numbers if you forget yours.
Check out these races
- Tough Mudder (10-12 miles) (May 18th/19th)
- Warrior Dash (3 miles) (June 15th & 16th)
- Spartan Race
- Midwest Super (8-9 miles): July 20th and 21st
- Wisconsin Beast (11-12miles): October 8th and 9th
- Superhero Scramble: August 24th
- Villian Option (13 miles)
- Super Villian (26+ miles)
- Men’s Health Urbanathlon (13 miles): October 19th
My contact info
Additionally, Jessica Murray has provided me with some information from some of her friends who have run Tough Mudders across the country. Here are a few other tips worth considering come race day:
- Bring some extra toiletries for after the race such as deodorant (PLEASE), a comb, girly makeup stuff, whatever.
- Make sure you are hydrating the days before the race. Eliminate the booze intake days prior.
- Don’t experiment with anything new or anything you don’t typically eat in your diet. You don’t want any surprises.
- On the day of the race, ideally eat your breakfast 3 to 4 hours before run time. Try to finish your breakfast at least 2 hours before the race; you don’t want to feel indigestion or an upset stomach.
- An hour or so before the race, eat a banana and perhaps some kind of fat fuel source if you are paleo (an avocado, some kind of nut butter, etc.).