Some of you might have heard me talking about Tough Mudder or Primal Challenge. Some of you might have even seen my posts on the G2R facebook page or on my own page. Having now completed my first mud run, I can only say I’M HOOKED!
So, last weekend was supposed to be Tough Mudder but after training for months my team mates had to back out due to injury and travel problems. It all worked out though. Last weekend was also Primal Challenge here in lovely Northwest Arkansas. A friend invited me and I jumped at the opportunity to get muddy’ and broken closer to home. I signed up with the Fighting Artichokes sponsored by Sheep Dog Impact Assistance and got ready for what was supposed to be 4 miles and 15 obstacles. I was part of a team of 7, dedicated to starting and finishing together. Some of the obstacles involved tall wall climbs and heavy load lifting. Basically, teamwork was the motto.
We took off at 10am sharp and began the adventure. A few hundred yards running, a couple of early mud trenches, then basically a mile up a mountain. with almost 1,000 feet of elevation change. Yep, it was going to be that kind of day. Up, down, around, over, and finally across that mountain… and several obstacles later and somehow we logged almost 6 miles in just over 2 hours. Needless to say, it was brutal. Here’s the finish. Times were affected by having such a large team but at the end of the day, a great time was had by all. We can’t wait for the next one. That said, here are a few pointers for those of you that like a little “spice” in your run.
Of course you’re going to want to keep running. Most of these races range between 5k and 12 miles with decent stretches of terrain between obstacles. Depending on where you’re running, you will want to run hills, up and down, and I would suggest finding some good trails to practice your footwork. You’re constantly having to watch your footing to save your ankles and on downhill runs, you find yourself dancing as much as running to avoid slick spots, dodge rocks and roots, and still maintain a good pace.
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment for this. Basically, find heavy things to pick up and carry. Make yourself some sand bags. Throw one over your shoulder and run up some stairs. Find a good swing set to do pull ups on. Do pushups. Also, work on your range of motion and repetitive motions. Do air squats and jumping jacks. Basically, get used to working your whole body a couple of days a week. These challenges don’t play.
Rest up and clear the day
As with any race, rest up the night before. Sleep helps. Also, fuel up for the day. You’re going to burn more calories in a mud run. On that note, as usual, #hydrateordie. As with body fuel, you’re going to burn more water despite being wet a lot of the time. STAY HYDRATED!
Gear is important for these types of challenges. You want something weather appropriate that also doesn’t hold water. The more your gear soaks up in water and mud, the more you weigh trying to drag yourself over 8 foot walls. Fast dry shirts and shorts, multiple layers of socks, quick dry, and light weight shoes with lots of grip are a must. My New Balance Minimus Trails were perfect. Some wear gloves, some don’t. I didn’t on this one but probably will find some good fingerless gloves for the next one. I would also suggest some sort of knee/elbow protection as I took a few chunks out of mine dragging myself through the mud. you don’t need anything crazy. Maybe just neoprene.
All of this said, the name of the game is having fun. I’m addicted to mud runs now. It just works for me. My wife? Not so much. She’ll stick to staying clean. Do what you love. If you’re interested in trying out a mud run, here are a few links for you.
Tough Mudder – Pretty much the judging standard of challenges. Typically 10-12 miles with 24 obstacles. They happen all over the world, year-round so just pick your poison and get to training.
Warrior Dash – The 5k version of Tough Mudder. National distribution so finding one isn’t typically very hard and from what I understand, this is a great introduction to the sport.
Primal Challenge – This group just got its start in Northwest Arkansas. The first event was amazing and they’re already talking about a longer version of the Challenge this October. Basically, I’m already signed up.
Pig Trail Mud Run – Another Northwest Arkansas mud run, held in Springdale on June 1st. This is also the first event of its type held by its organizers so we’re looking forward to a growing mud run culture around the ole NWA. I’m signed up for this one as well. Watch for updates!