What is mud running ?
Great training for an obstacle race…
A mud run in it’s purest form is simply a race through a muddy field. For example the Maldon Mud Race is a competition where runner race 400 m through the River Blackwater. (Usually to raise money for charity)
However there are very few ‘pure mud runs’ left, as virtually all of them now include an obstacle element. The best way to train for a mud run is to use trail running or a cross country events, especially using trails that are on lower more open terrain.
So what is mud running, an obstacle event or obstacle race ?
For starters there is a difference between an event and a race.
- In a race the aim is to finish as fast as possible, in addition there will also be penalties for not completing the obstacles (often involving doing burpees)
- Events are a much more enjoyable, where the aim is simply to finish. Very often not timed it is simply a run along a muddy track with obstacles.
A mud run is often far more challenging than a pure obstacle race, because the track between the obstacles is mainly mud – making running a lot harder.
How long is it, what are the obstacles ?
The distance and number of obstacles vary, for example
- The Rugged Maniac features 25 obstacles over a 5 kilometer course
- The Pain & Suffering is a super tough 10 mile course with 35+ obstacles.
- The World’s Tough Mudder is a 24 hour race, where you have to go round a 10 and 12 mile course (with various military style obstacles) as often as possible.
Obstacles can include climbing over walls, crossing water, climbing out of pits, crawling under barbed wire, and jumping through fire. If you’ve ever seen an ‘army training film’ then you will get the picture.
Alone or in a Team ?
The advantage is that you can often sign up as a team – so you can join with friends (or work colleagues) and use it as a bonding or bragging events. (Depending where you finish !)
How do you train ?
Even short runs are tough !
A 4 or 5 k run doesn’t sound very far, but as they are in mud and across obstacles you will get very tired.
For the running simple add trail running or a cross country events, into your routine.
But in addition you will need to focus on flexibility and upper body strength. Add strength training (ideally in the gym) or exercises like burpees to your regular routine.
In addition there are also some ‘hurdle practice training events’ throughout the UK – if you sneak one in before your mud run you will amaze your friends !
How to start ?
Hopefully the above guide as to what is mud running will have given an idea and temptation..
There are a number of mud runs held, simply follow the links below for more details
The Tough Mudder
One of the best know organisers they have events throughout the world – with the aim very much on team building and fun. The Tough Mudder courses are between 10 and 12 miles and contain various military style obstacles.
There are half races, as well as the extreme World Tough Mudder mentioned earlier.
Although the emphasis for most of the events in fun the extreme race is highly competitive with a top prize of $10,000 for winning.
More details at tough mudder
X-runner (Extreme obstacle race)
They run 5k or 10k mud runs & obstacle course races
With over fifty thousand competitors they are one of the leading mud run and obstacle races in the UK.
For example the 5k run includes 50 obstacles – with the limit on the number of participants.
More details at x-runner
Set in the spectacular Peak Districts the bog commander mud run is a 6 or 12 k run over mud and natural bogs in a very hilly area.
The point of difference is that it not only includes man made obstacles, but also natural ones like river runs and very rough terrain.
More details at Bog Commander
Like the ones above the spartan race also has events throughout the UK
There are 4 different levels (including a junior one and an extreme one). In addition they also have a preparation option, helping you get into shape to get the best results.
More details at Spartan race
Many, many more..
Mud running is growing at a phenominal rate – it is claimed the 1st mud run and obstacle event only happened as recently as 1987. With this year well over 1 million people taking part in the USA.
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