September 5, 2015

Sponsored: What to Wear to a Mud Run

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Mudderella. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Lately, there is a broader trend in fitness toward developing these skills and combining fitness activities with fun social activities – and I love that trend. Since moving into Colorado, I’ve really gotten into hiking, and I love that it’s a workout that doesn’t feel like a workout. Okay, hiking is definitely tough, but there are more reasons to do it than just getting a workout in!

Peace and quiet, forced “me” time away from my phone, and views like this make hiking an amazing experience!

I wrote before about Mudderella, an obstacle course organization that sponsors mud runs all over the country and is designed by women, for women. In preparation for Mudderella, you’ll need to develop strength, balance, endurance, and agility. (Mudderella offers a great training program here.) Mudderella’s motto, “Own Your Strong,” encourages women to get out, get muddy, and have some fun while pushing themselves through the obstacle course – and they say that “mud is the great equalizer.” But if you’re preparing for a mud run, there are definitely ways to not let the mud get the best of you. Specifically, you should be planning out what to wear and what to bring to the event with the mud in mind.

Original image credit: Presidio of Monterey

If you want to get very serious, companies like MudRun offer “rugged, tactical clothing for top athletes to wear in a mud run.” That’s right, top athletes – there are actually elites in the world of obstacle sport racing (OCR), and they make a lot of money being fast while getting dirty in the mud! However, while there are amazing athletes out there who actually do take mud run competitions seriously, most of us are just in it for fun – so you want to be as comfortable as possible.

The most important thing to remember for your mud run: no cotton! Cotton absorbs water and mud, and I’ve found from my own trail running and hiking that it’s really hard to get the dirt completely out because of its absorbency. Anything absorbent is going to also absorb all that nasty mud you’re slogging through, and probably stretch out in the process – creating even more drag to slow you down.

On a related note, you’ll also want to avoid wearing baggy clothes – which can further pick up mud and muck to slow you down. (Zippers can also get clogged with mud – avoid anything clothing that has them.) Wear form-fitting clothes that aren’t going to get caught on branches or obstacles, and make sure they fit well – the last thing you want is having them sag so you have to keep using your hands to hike them up. In a marathon, that might be okay, but in a mud run, you want your hands free to help you with the obstacles.

As far as your feet, you might be tempted to wear your oldest sneakers – and you’re not entirely wrong. Your shoes are going to get pretty disgusting, so it’s best not to wear your brand new ones that you still love the color of! But traction is incredibly important in an obstacle course, so wearing your old worn out kicks may slow you down significantly. Ideally, you can wear a pair of lightweight trail running shoes that have good traction but that you also don’t mind getting (really) muddy. If you love your first mud run and want to get serious, some shoe companies are also making shoes specifically for obstacle course racing that are lightweight, drain well, and also provide lots of traction.

You never know when an obstacle course will make you wade through water, like this 5K I did back in 2006.

Shorts or pants? There are pros and cons to each. Being bare-skinned may help prevent absorption of mud and water in your clothes, but it may also increase your risk of getting your legs scraped up a bit if it’s a wilderness-type course. Take a look at the obstacles ahead of time and know what you’re getting yourself into. For events like Mudderella that use man-made obstacles, you’re probably best in shorts; for events “out in the wild” more protection might be a good idea. In either case, you may also want to consider getting knee or elbow pads to make the crawling obstacles more comfortable and provide more protection.

Likewise, one question you’ll have to figure out based on the obstacles is whether to wear gloves. If you’re new to mud runs, you might not have even thought of this, but they will save your hands from calluses if your course involves rope climbing or carrying heavy objects! Again, though, avoid anything cotton and absorbent – consider instead picking up a pair of cheap rubber garden gloves, and just tucking them into your shorts when not needed for an obstacle.

Finally, what not to bring or wear? Anything even remotely valuable – which includes jewelry and cell phones. While I frequently run road races carrying my phone, I would not recommend that for a mud run, where your phone is likely to get lost or destroyed by mud. Mudderella has a bag check where you can securely leave your things while you run, and this is where I’d suggest putting your phone and car keys. (It would be a disaster if you tucked them into a pocket, like I usually do during a run, and then you lost them somewhere in the mud on the course!)

While most beginner-friendly mud runs offer showers at the end, the wait can be long. Plus, unless you’re willing to get pretty naked, you’ll be showering in your muddy clothes and not getting all that clean. At Mudderella, you can take advantage of a rinsing station and changing rooms, but it’s best to pack a change of clothes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty until you can get home and can really scrub down. Don’t forget underwear! I also recommend flip flops to wear afterward – they’re usually more comfortable on your feet post-run than putting on anything constricting.

Finally, don’t forget a garbage bag to put your muddy clothes in – or two, if you’re flying home and will need to put your clothes/sneakers in a suitcase before really washing them. Double bagging can save the rest of your stuff! If you’re driving, it’s smart to bring a big washable beach towel to put over your car seats, so that any extraneous mud won’t get on them.

Right now Mudderella has 9 US and two Canadian events planned for 2015… but they also said they may add a few more! So be sure to check out for all the latest info. The current 2015 event schedule of events is:
Pittsburgh – September 12, 2015 – Slippery Rock, PA
Whistler – September 26, 2015 – Blackcomb Mountain, Whistler, BC Canada
New England – October 3, 2015 – Thompson, CT

Plus, as a thank you for reading this blog post, you can use code MUDDBLOGGER20 to receive 20% off any 2015 US Mudderella event!

Hope you enjoyed these tips, and have a great time at your mud run! 🙂

Disclaimer: Mudderella provided me with an outfit and promotional item in exchange for blogging about their events. However, all tips were researched and written on my own.


2 thoughts on “Sponsored: What to Wear to a Mud Run”

  1. I feel like my running attire is well suited to mud runs – in that it is all 10 years old and really smelly so probably should be thrown away anyway. Let me tell you how I’d throw away almost anything immediately after wearing it in a mud run.

    The gloves are a great tip. My hands are fragile and any cut on them takes forever to heal. Lord knows I’d likely get some cut on my hand that would get all infected with mud!!!

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