Top Ten Ways to Run a Really Messy Mud Run
By Rick Morris
Would you like to run a really messy mud run? No, I don’t mean messy in the sense of covered head to foot in mud, everyone loves to get muddy. In this article my definition of messy is untidy, unkempt, disorganized, ugly, nasty and mean. In other words, a big time crash and burn. So, here are our top ten ways to run a really messy mud run.
Wearing an outrageous costume has become part of the mud run culture. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s fun to get in the spirit with a wild and crazy outfit. But don’t create a costume catastrophe. Some of the mud run outfits cross the line from wild and fun to dysfunctional. Don’t forget that you will be crawling through mud, running through water, jumping over some obstacles and crawling through others. Any costume that will accumulate lots of heavy mud or get snagged on obstacles will slow you down and could even send you to a epic, mud run ending header. To run a really lousy mud run, dress for and not for function.
Mud run newbie’s are notorious for hesitation hell. If you want to insure a slow mud run and decrease your efficiency in getting past obstacles to new all time lows, then by all means hesitate at each obstacle. One of the main keys to maintaining speed and efficiently getting past obstacles is to use and not lose your forward momentum. That hesitation on approach to an obstacle will do an excellent job of robbing you of all your built up energy and help you run a really messy mud run.
You’re a distance runner, so you are used to running smoothly and easily while using the least amount of energy possible. That is what distance running is all about. To insure a cruddy mud run, be sure to follow that procedure on the obstacles. Most of the barriers, ramps, jumps and climbs require a significant amount of strength and power. So if you want to run a new personal worst, shut down your power and don’t put any energy at all into clearing those obstacles.
Weak is Wimpy
For many years I have been fighting a battle in trying to get my distance running athletes to include strength training as a consistent part of their training. Strong muscles improve your power, speed and injury resistance and just in the past few years, most distance runners have started to realize that. The mud runs require even more strength because of the many obstacles. But to run a wimpy mud run be sure to avoid strength training. Weak is wimpy.
One of the most popular, exhilarating and somewhat scary obstacles is the fire pit. While they look a bit scary, clearing the fire pits are really quite easy as long as you don’t hesitate and use your forward momentum, combined with a powerful leap. On the other hand you could include a hot foot and a fire dance in your mud run by not taking this obstacle seriously. I participated in one recent mud run and saw a group of young women that were competing in prom dresses ( see costume catastrophe above). Rather than power over the fire pit, they stopped, hitched up the bottom of their dresses and tried to tip toe over the fire pit. It provided some good entertainment and gave the safety volunteers at the fire pit a break from their boredom. As a bonus it gave the dress wearing runners the title of the worst mud run ever.
I think that the easiest way to insure a miserable mud run is to wear socks. Running through all that mud and water will add some valuable weight to your feet and will give you a nice cold and squishy feeling throughout your run. For a particularly miserable mud run, put on two pair of socks.
Fast and Furious
This one of for all you front runners out there. You already know that a good way to crash and burn half way through a distance race is to go out way too fast. That will work extremely well in a mud run. Try to use all of your energy early in your mud run. It will make those later obstacles and hill runs nearly impossible to overcome and make your mud run experience one of the worst.
During your mud run training be sure to avoid any hill training. Many mud runs include some significant hill runs. Even if your mud run is flat, there will be steep inclines, ramps and other obstacles that you will need to run up and down. Hill training will make those easy. So make every effort to avoid that strength and power enhancing hill training to insure a lousy mud run.
One thing that every mud run has in common is changing terrain and tricky obstacles that require focus and concentration. A really good way to improve your chances of tripping, falling and getting injured is to have faulty focus. So zone out, put on your headset, look around, talk to your fellow runners or anything else you can think of to take your focus off the course. If you screw up by focusing on the terrain you may just avoid injury and miss your goal of a miserable, messy mud run.
Mud runs present not only a personal challenge but also an opportunity to learn teamwork and practice compassion. Nothing can make your mud run more empowering and satisfying than helping your fellow mud runners up and over obstacles. But wait, that would make your mud run very successful. To make your race and yourself truly lousy, let your ego run amuck. Think only of yourself and don’t help your fellow runner, interfere with them. It will make you look and feel like a jerk.