Remember when you were a kid and you had boundless energy, running around outside and getting muddy and you didn’t care? At the end of the day, you’d fall asleep fast from sheer exhaustion. How can you bring back those carefree days of being a kid? Try a mud run!
Mud runs are growing in popularity because they bring back the kid in you. They are like adult playgrounds where you can get dirty with your friends, do a tough workout—and feel like a warrior when you finish.
There are many different types of mud runs with varying degrees of difficulty, but picture an organized run of a certain distance with obstacles—and lots of mud. They have all sorts of names …warrior dashes, nature runs, adventure runs, dirty girl or commando runs, or just plain mud runs. The courses can involve climbing over old cars, jumping over fire, balancing across a log, crawling under wire, slogging through waist high mud puddles, and scaling over walls. And in between you are most likely jogging through uneven terrain and conquering some hills.
People are attracted to mud runs because of the sense of adventure, the camaraderie, the challenge and the fun of getting dirty! As hard core as they sound (yes you better be prepared physically and mentally), they are not about “winning” they are about “accomplishing”. You are encouraged to sign up with friends or make friends at the start line and the motto is “no-one left behind”. It’s not about your course time, it’s about finishing along side of other wet, dirty and covered in mud “teammates”.
A well-known mud run that takes place in several dozen cities across the country is called the Tough Mudder The Tough Mudder is 10 to 12 miles of the toughest obstacles and is meant to test your mental and physical stamina and your grit. It’s not for the faint of heart and only the more experienced runner or fitness enthusiast should attempt it.
Other mud runs are more doable distances like 5ks with obstacles, but still offer a challenge to your mind and body.
While fun is a big part of mud runs, training and preparation are essential to keeping you healthy and safe during a mud run. You should probably know in advance that it’s unlikely you will get through a mud run without a scratch, but if you train beforehand, you can safely participate. Training your entire body is the best way to prepare for the challenge to your muscles and your endurance.
Make sure you wear sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet or muddy and wear wicking clothes and socks so you don’t have wet cotton clothes sticking to you and weighing you down.
At the end of mud runs there are often lots of smiles, celebration, muddy hugs, sometimes beer and margaritas … or if you want to keep your healthy day rolling along—fruit and water! Oh, and get ready to get hosed down after. You don’t want all that mud in your car do you?
I’m going to start with baby steps and tackle my first Mud Run, the Go Dirty Girl Run on August 4 in Minneapolis. It’s just for women and it’s a 5k, untimed race designed to push you (a little) out of your comfort zone! It’s all about team-spirit camaraderie and encouraging other women to finish! Come join me or look for a mud run in your hometown! Who knows…Tough Mudder 2013 could be in my future!