“Jump over fire! Climb a mountain! Thumb-wrestle a shark!” Okay, maybe the last one hasn’t been in a mud run advert … yet … but the premise is the same. Countless pictures of happily mud-drenched 8% body fat athletes splatter (pun intended) across magazines, websites, and gym posting boards. Chances are, you’ve even seen someone’s social media feed loaded with pictures of one of these events. If the thought has crossed your mind, then immediately been crossed OUT, that’s okay. Really, it is. Normally we spend time, money, and effort maintaining our fitness clothing, shoes, etc. Most of us keep some “beater” gear around; an old pair of favorite running shoes we can’t bear to part with, or maybe a lucky headband from racquetball glory days. Maybe cardio has never been a priority. Let’s go through this together, and shed some light on a valuable tool for your motivational calendar: mud runs!
Because it’s fun. VERY fun!
If you can WALK a 5k, you can finish a mud run. This is usually the number-one reason people hesitate. Mud runs are not a traditional 5k where you lace up and run three miles straight — each obstacle is a mini rest break while you complete that challenge. Unless you decide to sign up for a competitive or timed wave, there is no reason to frantically push ahead. You paid good money for this race; enjoy it!
Obstacles are meant to be a challenge Or else it wouldn’t be much of a race, right? That said, it’s okay to slow down and walk to an obstacle. Use that time to decide how you best want to try it. Or, if it looks outside of your current fitness level, bypass. I encourage everyone to give something a try, but ultimately the goal is to have a fun, injury-free time, and you know you best. Obstacles are often a team effort! You will see people you’ve never met helping you up or pushing you over any given obstacle. Strangers will suddenly be your biggest supporters and cheerleaders when you conquer a wall, or give you a sympathetic high-five when you walk around it. Try your best and then press on. Who knows, you may surprise yourself!
You will get mud stuck everywhere — yes, ladies … even *there* People will wear all sorts of outfits, and surprisingly the guy in the speedo is probably the best dressed for the race. While I am neither recommending nor condemning a banana hammock as your go-to racing outfit, cotton is generally not your friend, thanks to the material’s absorbency. While tight-fit material is not necessary, try to avoid looser shirts, as the water and mud will add a sagginess you may not want to deal with. Same goes for pockets — they will be filled with various squishy things by the end of the race! Save yourself the headache and take advantage of the bag check or friends to hold your keys and personal items.
Do your homework Is your race starting at noon? Slather on the sunblock. Bring enough water. Toss a couple Scooby Snacks in your bag. Have some pocket cash for parking, vendors, and incidentals. Visit the website for the race and read up on their general theme so you have an idea of what to expect. This will go a long way toward giving you peace of mind when it’s time to toe the line.
Ultimately, mud runs are an exciting way to have a dirty-good time with friends and complete strangers alike. Sites such as www.mudrunfun.com have calendars so you can check locations and dates for races throughout Florida and the rest of the country. The excitement of these types of venues has continued to snowball for the last five years, with no end in sight. I’ve run with kids as young as seven and helped The Biggest Loser participants cross the finish line — isn’t it your turn to come have some muddy fun in the sun?