4 Tips for Running a Mud Race


Mud races are a fun way to get exercise and run a 5k while getting dirty and generally being awesome at life. Now that I have run 2 mud races, I am an expert. My gold star is currently in the mail.

Should you decide you also want to be awesome at life and sign up for a mud race, here are a few tips:

1. You will get muddy

I know, I know. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

But you actually would be surprised by how many people sign up for a mud race and then complain about getting dirty. These are the people I want to push down and rub their face in the mud. And that's being nice about it.

Listen: there are plenty of regular 5ks to sign up for that do not involve getting dirty. I ran the Dirty 30 last October (recap and more pictures here), and at the very last obstacle, I was covered head to toe in mud. Then who do I see but this lady, trotting up, decked out in a cute baby blue Under Armor bodysuit, completely clean.

Where's the fun in that? If I were 15, I would reply: Up your butt and around the corner. But I'm not going to say that because that isn't nice.

She had clearly walked around all the obstacles and arrived at the finish line with not a speck on her. Lamesauce.

 If you sign up for a mud race, know that it really does involve mud. Save yourself the added stress and plan on getting dirty.

Like the above mud pit. See how I'm smiling? (I'm in the black; my friend Ashley is in purple. Bottom right.) I am not going to buy this picture because, though it is awesome, I am cheap.

Consider the mud race a metaphor for life.

You can be this lady (see below) and slowly walk through the sidelines of life, or you can be like my brother and I and power through the meat of it all. Don't let the fact that I look like I'm getting sucked under frighten you. Although sometimes life does suck you in and cover you with mud, so I might actually have something going with this whole analogy.

2. Wear clothes and shoes you don't mind getting ruined

As previously highlighted by point #1, know that you shouldn't wear your best sports bra or favorite pair of running shorts or most expensive pair of socks.

In the Dirty 30, I ripped my shirt crawling under barbed wire, and in the Warrior Dash, my socks were stained brown from the mud and I ended up tossing them. I was able to save my shorts and sports bra after a good washing (actually three good washings), but you should probably just plan on wearing clothes you don't care that much about.

Also, concerning shoes: a box is normally available for donating your muddy shoes after the race. I've donated my shoes both times, and each time there was quite a large pile of shoes. They hose the shoes off and give them to Goodwill or exercise programs for people who can't afford to buy shoes of their own. It's a great way to get rid of an old pair of tennis shoes.

I would also suggest leggings or tall socks (depending, of course, on the weather), because you will be crawling over walls and through tunnels, and my shins and knees get banged up if I'm only wearing shorts.

3. Sign up for an early wave time

For both of my mud runs, I've signed up for an 11:00 a.m. wave time or earlier. Usually mud runs have waves leave every 30 minutes, and the later you run, the more backed up the obstacles get and the longer you have to wait. There are more crowds later on, so it's best to go earlier if you can.
4. You don't have to be a runner or a bodybuilder to participate

Before my first mud run, I was nervous. The website likes to scare people by saying that this will be the craziest day of your life and it's the hardest thing you will ever do, etc.
Our finisher's medal for the Warrior Dash was also a bottle opener! Useful and awesome.

I won't lie and say it's easy, but you don't have to be a "serious" runner or a bodybuilder to make it through the obstacles.
I still haven't decided if I want to buy this picture. 
It's pretty awesome, though, no?

There is climbing and crawling and water and mud and even fire (in the Warrior Dash, at least), but I see people of all shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities. And if you honestly can't make it through an obstacle, you can go around it. So don't let fear hold you back from signing up for one of these. They are so much fun!

**giveaway closed**
Now for your chance to win a FREE mud race entry!

I'm so excited to be able to offer one of you a free race code for the Reebok Spartan Race!

I haven't personally participated in this run, but after checking out their site, I definitely want to.

The Spartan Race can be found in cities across the country, and it's even international! (Although note that this free race code is ONLY for a US-based race.)
The Spartan Race features four levels of toughness--the entry level Spartan Sprint, intermediate Super Spartan, the Advanced Spartan Beast, and the Extreme Level Death Race--which makes this a great race for the hardcore athletes and the mud run virgins. And, for that last category, the people who have a death wish.

Go HERE to see if there's a Spartan race in your area, and don't forget to check out the 2014 locations as well!

Even if you don't win, you can still get 15% off any Spartan race by clicking HERE.


  1. I hate running, but mud runs are the best! so fun and usually there is beer at the end, making it much easier to run to the finish line. My favorite one that I have done so far is the Devil Dash and Foam Fest!

  2. THIS LOOKS AWESOME. And you definitely deserve a gold star. :)

  3. that looks like a lot of fun!

    i got back into exercise last week, and I actually really enjoy going out and get moving - i so would like to do that. but seriously people should know what to expect if they sign up for a mud race...i mean the name says it all..MUD.

  4. Eyes on the prize...it's mine!

  5. There have been plenty of mud races in my area, but I've always been too scared to try. You make it sound like fun, and not so scary. It's great to hear what it's really like from someone who's done it.

  6. I am doing my first mud run this month, Dirty Girl Mud Run. I would love to do the Spartan at Miller Park!

  7. I am planning to do my first mud run this year, in October; hoping to build a team to run for charity as well!

  8. Great advice!! I love this post. My boyfriend and I did the Muddy Buddy run a few weeks ago and it was sooo fun. I really want to do another one. Also-I think you should buy the badass picture.

  9. I did the warrior dash a few years ago - fun times were had. I definitely agree you knees & shins get banged up pretty good!

  10. Last year I ran the Primal Mud Run in Virginia and it was a lot of fun, although tough at times.

  11. Oh my goodness. This race looks like so much fun! I'm going to have to find out if they do one around here! :-)

  12. Thanks for your tips and info. I'm running my first next weekend- the Mud Man X!

  13. Thanks for the heads up on my giveaway! I'd love to win yours so I can FINALLY try the Spartan Race series (October in Nebraska!!!). I love races with a challenge!!!

  14. You have to buy that picture! haha. It is the best. I'm an avid runner, but have never done a mud run… You have me inspired!

  15. Dude. Buy the picture of you jumping over the fire. That's awesome.

  16. Yes! Just a few weeks ago I ran in a local mud run and it was amazeballs.

    I still have 3 huge bruises on my leg from it - totally worth it.

  17. Nope, this will be my first!


  18. I've always been scared of mud races and need to get over that! Have to try my first one soon! (Never done one before--EEP!)

  19. My siblings and I have JUST been talking about doing the Spartan race, Tough Mudder, or Warrior Dash since my brother and sister-in-law did the Spartan Race last weekend! We are just trying to figure out which race but they liked the Spartan.

  20. I really want to try a mud-run, and it's really encouraging to know that you can go around an obstacle if you can't complete it! I honestly didn't know that!

  21. My hard core sister-in-law has run this once before and loved it. I would die, so I'm entering this giveaway on her behalf!

  22. I would totally buy that picture!! I've heard of this run, but hadn't researched it. Pretty cool!!

  23. I'm trying to channel my inner optimist by entering this giveaway. I had done the fugitive 5k already & had just STARTED training for a tough-mudder... the Godfather of all mud runs... when I sprained my ankle. And it feels like I'll NEVER run again. Just have to remember that it will eventually heal & I'll play in the mud someday.

  24. I have not yet but want to so badly!

  25. I want to celebrate my August 17 birthday by running the Super Sprint in Virginia on 8/25. What better way to celebrate turning thirty than by getting tough and dirty at a Spartan Race?!? I've never done one and really want to leap over fire and crawl under barbed wire!

  26. I haven't been in one yet, but will be doing the Muddy Buddy near Chicago on 7/20.

  27. I have run the Mudathlon. Not as serious as Warrior Dash or Spartan race though.

  28. I've never ran a mud race, but I really want to.

  29. Definitely want to try the Spartan Race! I'll take a cupcake at the end too!


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