Let’s Get Dirty: The Ins & Outs Of Mud Races
Why end your workout covered in sweat only, when you can collect medals and be covered in mud too! Mud races are the new “it” thing in fitness and people all over the land are getting down and dirty, all while testing their athletic abilities. So if challenges, obstacles and mud sounds like fun to you, then get race ready with these RAD tips.
Why Throw Dirt On Your Skirt
An estimated two million people competed in some sort of obstacle race in 2012 and this number will continue to soar since over 500 mud-related events are held each year worldwide. So, what’s all the hype about? Well the top reason is that they are fun! If you like to run, yet find clocking miles boring, then spicing things up with a few dirty obstacles may be just for you. Spanning from three miles to as long as 24 hours in length, there is bound to be a pit of mud that is perfect for you. The most popular mud races today are: Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Warrior Dash and Muddy Buddy (just to name a few). So don’t be afraid to throw some dirt on your skirt all in the name of fitness. Sign up for one today.
Messy Training Done Right
Obstacle races require both general and dynamic strength, therefore your training must be just as diverse. I mean really, when was the last time you jumped over fire, climbed under cargo nets and went running with a sandbag on your shoulder? Probably close to never. So here is the deal:
1) Get your core in check. This is where your body’s powerhouse resides and most injuries are related to weak core muscles, so invite more planks and glute bridges to your workouts.
2) Run Off-road. Most races take place in wilderness settings so why train on concrete and asphalt? Hit up some grass and gravel trails so you can practice jumping over some things.
3) Intervals are integral. During the race you will be going from all out effort to moments of semi-rest. Imitate this feeling by adding intervals and especially hills to some of your workouts.
4) Mix things up. Next time you head out for a run shake things up and stop every mile or so for a set of burpees or some pushups. Keep the body guessing and you will be finish line ready in no time.
Dirty And Fabulous
Outside all of the glory and fun that comes with mud racing, the camaraderie involved is bound to throw your self-esteem off the charts. Studies show that people who depend on and encourage others in their workouts are often times more likely to reciprocate these same benefits and pleasures in other areas of their life as well. So, training for and completing a mud race with your crew can do both your body and your mind good.
Don’t Be A Dud In The Mud
So here’s the ugly: Muddy adventure based races can be dangerous. This past April a 28-year-old man died during a Tough Mudder in West Virginia, and three deaths and injuries resulting in paralysis have occurred at events by other organizers too. So while that Instagram photo may get you 100+ likes, the risk involved must be considered. Don’t freak out, these tips will keep you from being a dud in the mud:
1) Be aware of others. Some people came to turn all the way up. If thats not you, then cool. Get out of their way and run your race.
2) Be fast with fire. Yes there will be fire in some cases. The key is to be quick. Keep your eyes on the ground and beat it…knees to chest!
3) Master your mind. Follow your gut and stay in touch with what you are feeling. Adrenaline can rule in moments like this so make sure your are mentally connected through out so you wont be bruised up later.
Not So Grimy Gear
Most people just throw on their old workout clothes and head to these obstacles prepared to ditch their gear after, however while this is the most logical choice it is not always the smartest or safest. So, starting from the bottom, your shoes. An athletic shoe with traction is key. Waterproof is even better, and ankle support is best. I recently tested the Brooks Women’s Ghost 6 GTX and couldn’t be more pleased. I typically train in the Ghost 6, so to experience the same award-winning blend of cushion and balance with the added technology of a waterproof yet breathable protection makes for the perfect pair for you dirty FitGirls. And the good news is you wont have to chuck these babies after the race, just rinse and wear. Also be sure to slip into a pair of man-made fiber socks that fit snugly above your ankle (not cotton-they absorb moisture which is no good). Pair this with form fitting, moisture-wicking gear and you wont have to dig mud out of odd places after the finish line. Speaking of mud in crazy places, snag you a pair of ear plugs and goggles too. Try the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Plus Mirrored Goggle and the Hearos Ultimate Softness Foam Ear Plugs.