Mud Run Do’s and Dont’s

So you’ve signed up for a mud run. Congrats – Mud Runs are EPIC. The first race Erin and I ever did was a mud run – we did the Spartan Race in Malibu, CA in November of 2011. Once we finished that race, I was hooked. Not only are mud runs physically challenging (some of those obstacles are no joke. Seriously, they will electrocute you), but they are also ridiculous amounts of fun – when else in your adult life do you get the opportunity to roll around in mud? AND have it be socially acceptable? The answer is never, people.

I had no idea what I was walking into, so I thought I’d put together Mud Run Do’s and Dont’s for all you newcomers out there.


Before the Race

 Mud Run Do's and Dont's - Before the Mud

DO train properly.

I was completely unprepared when I did my first mud run. I figured since I could run 3.1 miles (the distance of the race), I’d be fine. What I didn’t factor in is the steep inclines, the climbing, the swimming and all the obstacles that demanded a ton of upper body strength. Running just isn’t enough – make sure you do total body conditioning in preparation for your race.


DO eat a solid breakfast.

You probably won’t need to carbo-load like you would for a longer endurance event, but make sure you eat a filling breakfast a few hours before the event. TRUST ME– you’re going to need the energy.


DON’T be late.

Race mornings are hectic – give yourself plenty of time to get out the door, get to the venue and get to the starting line. I always arrive 90 minutes before my heat time.


What to Wear

 Mud Run Do's and Dont's - Gear

DON’T wear anything you are too attached to.

You will most likely have to throw away everything that you wear on race day (I guess you could keep it, but it’s going to be completely covered in mud stains). Don’t wear anything you are going to be sad to see thrown in the trash.


DO dress appropriately.

Wear tight fitting clothing – there are a ton of opportunities to get your clothes snagged on things, especially barbed wire. You also may want to wear long sleeves/pants – you may get cut up when you are doing ground obstacles (like the army crawl), and long sleeves and pants can act as a barrier (I don’t actually follow this rule. I personally like getting cut up. Battle wounds and such. But that’s just me.).


DON’T wear new/expensive shoes

Your shoes are going to get TORN UP. Save your good shoes for running/normal races. I have a designated pair of shoes just for mud runs – I throw them in the washing machine after a race. They are still usable, but definitely not for every day wear. If your shoes are unsalvageable after the race, they usually have a place where you can donate them to charity.


During the Race


Mud Run Do's and Dont's - Obstacles

DON’T skip any obstacles.

Seriously, don’t. You might feel better in that immediate moment by not taking on an obstacle that seems impossible, but I promise you, at the finish line, the victory won’t be as sweet knowing you didn’t finish everything.


DO help out other racers.

One of the things that I love most about mud runs is the sense of comraderie among the participants. So shout out some words of encouragement to someone who is struggling with an obstacle. Put your hand out to help someone over a wall. Help out a fellow racer and know that they would (and eventually will) do the same for you.


DO have fun!

Doing mud runs are among the most fun things I’ve done in my adult life. I don’t worry about beating my best time or anyone else competing. I’m just there to enjoy and have a good time (although I recognize that crawling through mud and jumping through fire are not everyone’s idea of “a good time“. But hey, to each their own, amiright?) HAVE FUN!


After the Race


Mud Run Do's and Dont's - Shower Time

DO take a lot of pictures.

You can’t count on the photographers at the race getting a ton of pictures of you – you will typically get one at the finish line and (maybe) one along the course. Make sure you take lots of pictures of you and your friends covered in mud. You’ll want to have them later when you need a reminder of how awesome you are.


DO bring the right clean up gear.

There might be showers, but there might not be (we’ve had to jump into a lake to clean up!). That being said, make sure you bring the right gear to clean off after the race. You will need:

  • 2-3 towels (2 to clean yourself off with, and one to have a friend hold around you while you change)
  • Body wash and a loofah (even if there’s no shower, you can lather and rinse off with tap or bottled water)
  • Face wipes (I like OLEHENRIKSEN Truth To Go Wipes or Neutrogena Deep Clean Wipes)
  • A WARM change of clothes
  • Flip flops
  • A plastic bag to put your dirty clothes/shoes in


DO give yourself time to recover.

ESPECIALLY if you’re new to mud runs. They can be really hard on your body, and you’re definitely going to feel it the next day. If you can, try to keep your schedule free the day after the race. Post up on your couch, watch some movies and ice up your muscles.

Mud Run Do's and Dont's - Done and done

Those are my go-to Mud Run Do’s and Dont’s. What do you guys think? Did I forget anything?

3 thoughts on “Mud Run Do’s and Dont’s”

  1. Thanks for this! My husband is doing tough mudder this Saturday and was wondering about some of this – especially about his shoes – I’ve posted it to his wall. 😀

  2. Awesome post! Yeah, doing my first mud run at Tough Mudder on Saturday. How did you get those on-course pictures? Did you tuck away a water-proof camera, or did a spectator join you to take them? As it got closer to the run, things started to occur to me, like that I’m going to be getting *back* into my car afterwards. Great tips on cleaning up, thanks!

    1. Hi Sean, If you have a waterproof camera you can strap onto yourself (like a Go Pro), then take it, but I wouldn’t recommend bringing a camera you will have to carry with you – it’ll just get in the way. Save the photo ops for the end of the race. GOOD LUCK on Saturday – it’s going to be epic! 🙂

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