If you’ve never had the pleasure of a mud run, you need to try it. There is nothing like lining up with your fellow runners and sloshing through the mud, getting it splattered all over you and basically, having the time of your life.
But if you’ve never gone on a mud run before, there are a few things that you need to know about gear. Let’s look at the essential gear you’ll need for your first mud run and what you need to know about it to prevent any rookie mistakes. Follow these guidelines, and your first mud run is going to be a major success.
1. Go with Practical Not Fashionable
You may be tempted to create matching team clothing that looks great but isn’t all that practical; this is a mistake. Families or teams that go on their first mud run wearing matching cotton t-shirts are going to get bogged down (no pun intended) by cotton and slow you down.
Not only does the mud stick better to clothing like sweatpants and big cotton t-shirts, but these articles of clothing also absorb water, meaning that you’re going to feel like you’ve put on weight with your very first run. Plus, the chafing is horrible; take it from someone who knows.
The best choice for mud run clothing is spandex. Not only is spandex lightweight and comfortable, but it also isn’t going to hold very much water. Of course, there are other considerations as well, such as durability and protection from injury which we will cover below.
2. Make Sure That You’re Protected
The next factor that you are going to consider is whether your gear offers you enough protection. Here’s the bottom line: mud running can be rough and slipping, and falling is not just common but expected. Make sure that you protect yourself against the cuts and scrapes that mud running brings.
The way that you do this is by adding some extra protective gear in addition to the spandex outfit base that you are using. For example, you can add nylon leggings or tights underneath your spandex. This will protect your legs, which are usually the body part most susceptible to cuts and bruises on a mud run.
You can also choose the gear that offers protection where it covers, such as choosing thicker spandex that will protect your torso, groin and other areas from injury. The bottom line is to make sure that you try to achieve a balance between protection from injury and lightweight gear that isn’t going to slow you down on the run.
3. Choose Gear That Will Last
You need to consider durability when it comes to the gear that you’ll be running in. Remember, mud runs are super fun and challenging, but they are also hard on your clothing. Make sure that you choose clothing that is going to last through at least one day of a mud run event and obviously, the longer you can make it last, the more money that you will save.
But keep in mind that you are going to get dirty, and you are probably never going to get your outfit completely clean. That’s why many runners use one outfit for their mud runs specifically. Just choose something that is going to last as long as possible. That may mean spending more on your running gear than you are used to, but if you are going to make mud running one of your new hobbies, it might be worth it.
4. Bring Additional Gear Just in Case
You should also be prepared for other weather changes while you are there. For example, if it is chilly or windier than you thought it was going to be, you may get cold if all you are wearing is the mud running gear that you chose based upon a hot day.
The best way to prepare for this is to have additional gear that you can use for your run if the weather is different than what you expected. For example, you may want to include a plastic poncho that you can wear over your runner’s outfit if some unexpected showers come your way during your run.
If the weather is colder than you thought it would be or the wind is strong, wear a light pullover like a windbreaker. Don’t wear anything with a zipper though because the mud will just clog it up and make it unusable. Nylon is the best material for a pullover because the mud doesn’t stick very well.
5. Choose the Right Footwear
Finally, you want to choose the right footwear for your mud run. There are two parts to this. The first is the socks that you will be wearing. You don’t want to just grab for anything from your sock drawer. You don’t want cotton, nor do you want ankle high socks that are going to collect mud and add to your total weight.
Instead, you want a running sock. Running socks are specifically made for this type of activity, and they will keep you from getting blisters. Tuck your socks into the running tights previously mentioned for best results.
If you want some suggestions, these MudGear socks for men and women are perfect. They come in a two-pair package, so you’ll have a backup pair, and they are stylish, comfortable and perfect for a mud run. Also, there are these compression socks, also from MudGear, that break the rule advising against socks above the ankle because they will keep mud off and protect your shins and ankles from injury.
Finally, you are going to want to skip your running shoes over these socks. For mud running, some runners prefer to wear boots because they are better at staying on and sloshing through the mud. If you are wearing tennis shoes or running shoes, tie them as tight as you can comfortably wear them and double knot the laces. This will keep them from coming off as well as coming untied during your run.