A race like the Warrior Dash I ran last weekend is different from pretty much any other running race you’ll ever do. It requires some special preparation, some special gear and a special attitude to make it a fun and comfortable day. Since the Warrior Dash and similar events are becoming all the rage, I thought I’d come up with a list of tips that I learned and made my Warrior Dash much more fun. Other Warriors, let me know if there is anything you think I should add.
- Gear check a bag. I’m normally not a gear check kind of person at races, but this is one instance where you will definitely need a bag. Factor in the extra time to check your stuff, you’ll be happy you did. Also, bring a bag you don’t mind getting dirty. Everything will get muddy.
- Don’t rush. Yes, it is a race, but on my course, they left some of the hardest obstacles until the end. Trust me, you don’t want to be burnt out and have to crawl through 50 feet of mud under barbed wire.
- Want to take pictures? I took our old point-and-shoot, put it in a zip-top bag and had it in my bra for the whole race. It even made it through the mud pit pretty well. Wiped off a bit of mud and it was good as new. Of course, I can’t guarantee this will work for you, but it did for me!
- As with all races, hydrate and fuel properly. Because the atmosphere for this race is more fun than competition, you might be tempted to skip your normal pre-race routine of hydrating and eating. Don’t! You’ll be working hard and will need the energy.
- Wear tight-fitting clothing. Mud is heavy. Heavy pants mean that I saw a whole lot of boy bum crack at the exit of the mud pit. The less you wear, the less mud to cake onto. See how tight my pants are up in that photo? By the end, I could barely keep those up. I saw lots of men wearing just tightly-tied swimtrunks and women in boardshorts and sports bras.
- Think swimwear. If you aren’t comfortable wearing just swimwear, at least make it your bottom later. Swimsuits dry faster and can work as an under layer that you don’t need to change.
- Bring gloves. There were quite a few rope obstacles in our course and I wish I would have had gloves! After pulling up your own body weight on a rope a few times, your hands start to get seriously chapped.
- Bring a second set of clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. You won’t ever be clean until you get home and take a shower (even after you rinse off) but putting on some cleaner clothes will at least make it to where you aren’t miserable. Bring a pair of old shorts and a ratty t-shirt to throw over your bathing suit after you’ve chucked your race clothes.
- Don’t expect to keep your shoes. Just go ahead and accept the fact that you are going to need to donate them at the end. Bring your grubbiest, oldest tennis shoes and be happy that they’ll live on another life as something else after they’ve been donated.
- Tie your shoes tightly. For running, it is generally good to keep your shoes tied loosely because your feet swell. Not this time. If you do that, you’ll lose your shoes. Some people even had duct taped the top of their shoes to their ankles, but I found that tying them very tightly (as in, they almost hurt) was enough to keep them on nice and snug.
- Bring flip-flops or other easy-to-clean sandals in your gear check bag. One of the first things you’ll want to do after the finish is toss your shoes and socks, and you definitely don’t want to walk around barefoot. Your sandals will get muddy probably, but at least your feet will be covered.
Other Stuff to Bring
- First aid kit. While you probably won’t sprain your ankle like I did, you probably will get a few small cuts and scrapes on the obstacles. A small first aid kit with wipes and Bandaids will do wonders to make you more comfortable. You can always go to the first aid tent, but I prefer to leave that for serious injuries.
- Plastic grocery bags or trash bags. If you want to take your clothes home and try to wash them, you can tie them up in plastic bags and put them in your gear check bag without getting everything else muddy.
- Dark (preferably brown) towel. Most races have a place to rinse off after the fun, but you won’t get “clean”. Bring the towel to help wipe off/dry off after your rinse down. I’d avoid bringing your really nice guest towels.
- A wet washcloth in a zip-top bag. Again, you probably won’t get to rinse off very long. So a wet washcloth will at least let you get your face and hands clean.
- Sunscreen. If you are planning on sticking around for a while after the race, slather on the sunscreen. Trust me, a mud-speckled tan is not a good look.
- Your ID. Want to drink beer afterward? Don’t forget your ID. They’ll be checking.
- Cash. See above.
- Sheets and/or towels. Leave these in the car to sit on for your drive home.
- A good attitude. Everyone was in good spirits and there to lend a helping hand when necessary at my race. There were very few serious competitors and most people were out there just to have fun! Join in. Giggle when you slip and fall in the mud (you will) and give someone a hand if they need help over an obstacle (they will). You’re all trying to get through this together!
With a little preparation, a mud run can be super, duper fun! And heck, if you forget something, just go buy yourself a beer and don’t worry about it. Happy mud running!