Obstacle races are growing in popularity, but if you haven’t been to one yet, you might have some concerns. The experts at Tough Mudder fielded a few questions.
Q: What gear should I buy?
Answer: Normal running shoes work the best. Cleats won’t help — in fact, they’ll be worse on your feet and are dangerous for the other participants. For clothes, choose lightweight stuff that dries quickly. You should also bring a change of clothes for after the event so you can enjoy the post-party. If you go with gloves, be sure to grab tough, thick ones to prevent burns from the ropes and splinters from the walls.
Q: What would you advise for someone who hasn’t been training but might like to sign up for an event anyway?
Answer: If you’re considering taking on a Tough Mudder course, we recommend that at a minimum you should be able to:
run approximately 5-8 kilometers, 2-3 times a week;
do 10 to 15 push-ups; and
swim 25 meter non-stop.
However, we have people of all ages, shapes and sizes participating in the event. Tough Mudder challenges participants on a range of levels — so while some body types will excel at running, others will be better suited to obstacles requiring upper body strength. The most important thing is the strength of the team, not the individual.
Q: How can I avoid infections?
Answer: It is highly important that all participants arrive for the event in full health. If you are not feeling well, your immune system may be compromised, and you may be at risk of infecting other participants. Be sure to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of rest in the weeks leading up to the event.
Q: Any other advice?
Answer: Eat what you would normally eat and have breakfast beforehand. Tough Mudder isn’t a competition to get the fastest finish time, so you don’t necessarily need to load up on protein or alter your diet drastically the way people competing in other endurance events do. The main thing is eating a nutritionally sound meal that will give you enough energy to get through the event.
In terms of hydration, a lot of people drink too much water before the event, which actually depletes electrolytes. It’s much better to sip water throughout the course to ensure you’re hydrated and avoid big gulps of water which can cause gas and, for some people, give you a stitch.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel