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So, you think you want to do a mud race??? Part 2

11 Oct

I know, you’re thinking “What took you so long to post part 2?!?!” I’m thinking the same thing!

In the last post, we covered that mud races are for everyone, no matter what shape you are in…however, if you want to compete for a great time and complete all the obstacles or be the next Hobie Call, you would benefit from some kind of varied training (CrossFit, Bootcamp or hire a trainer) and learn to swim.

Building on those points:
3) Bring a change of clothes, a change of shoes, at least 1 towel and a trash bag or other bag you don’t care about to put your clothes in. You should wear clothing that you don’t care too much for because it will be brown, esp. if you wear white in the race. Some people dress in costumes – just be smart about what you wear. You don’t want something loose that will get hung up on an obstacle, something that might cause a freakish accident, shoes that are slippery and don’t allow for climbing walls with mud caked on them or something too hot (in one of the June races, a guy wore leather pants as part of his costume. That didn’t go over so well as he was near heat exhaustion from the pants and hot summer weather). My typical race outfit includes a dark sports bra and black shorts or pants (depending on the heat of the day). You will get wet, so check the weather and dress appropriately.

4) Regarding shoes – tennis shoes will get mud caked on them and feel 10 pounds heavier on each foot. Alternatives to this are water shoes or vibrams if you can run in them (break either of those in slowly to avoid injury). Every race has a shoe donation area near the finish line. I think that is a great thing – they clean the shoes and donate them to people in need. If you don’t plan to use the shoes for future mud races, I would highly encourage you to donate them. If you are going to use them in future races, they can be run through the washer – let air dry. Be sure to hose off the extra mud before putting them in the washer.

5) Race nutrition – everyone knows these races feature free beer upon completion. Beer has actually shown to be a good recovery tool, but don’t overindulge. I’d prefer a banana, some water, maybe a recovery bar if I need more nutrition. Pre-race nutrition should be light – I’ve seen people throwing up on the side of the race course who admitted that they had too much to eat before the race – don’t be that guy! I eat like a triathlete – if my start time is close to when I wake, I do some kind of energy bar or gel if I don’t have time to digest the energy bar. If I have a later start time, I eat a light breakfast (for me, that’s homemade muesli. You also need to hydrate. There’s water stops on the course – usually only 1 stop for a 5k distance. I’m always pretty well hydrated and I still drink quite a bit. I begin to taper my intake as race time approached – both to avoid a stomach full of liquid and to avoid having to pee at an inappropriate time.

I feel a part 3 coming on…stay tuned.

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So, you think you want to do a mud race??? Part 1

30 Sep

Warrior Dash, Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, Original Mud Run, and so on and so on and so on. These races are popular! If you haven’t done one, chances are that your friends will sign you up for one. They happen year-round. Michigan and Indiana in November? Bundle up and prepare to possibly race in the snow. Arizona or Texas in July? Hope they let you race naked (where will you pin your number??? Ouch!) I have 4 of these under my belt this year and I get a lot of questions about preparing for these races. Here’s a comprehensive guide:

1) “I need to get in better shape before I try one.” No, you don’t. MOST of the people doing these races are weekend warriors at best. You’ll have your serious athletes sprinkled in too (caution, they may take the race seriously). Any race offering free beer and firemen to hose you off post-race is meant to be a fun race. Hint, they usually let you by-pass obstacles too.

2) However, if you want to perform better in the race and do every obstacle, join a bootcamp or, better yet, a CrossFit class. Box jumps, rope climbs, speed intervals (running, rowing, etc.), pull-ups, push-ups, sled pulls, weighted vest runs, and hurdles are all moves that will help you in the races.  If you can’t get to a bootcamp or CrossFit gym, any general physical fitness will do. Most races post the course in advance, so you can get a good idea of the specific obstacles to train for.
By the way, being able to swim a short distance will help you by-pass a lot of people. There’s usually some kind of water crossing in which people wade or pull themselves on a rope. Swimming is far more efficient (and faster) in getting from shoreline A to shoreline B.