Mud Run Misconceptions: Why It is Important to Diversify Your Workouts

Mud Run Misconceptions

   All right friends, last week I tried to do a mud run. Well let’s rephrase that…I successfully completed a mud run. But! It was way more difficult than I ever expected. I for some reason didn’t realize that mud runs involved a plethora of mud pits and running up and down said mud pits. Fun fact, mud is slippery! All of these things, I should have considered prior to signing up and running a mud run. Instead I was surprised on the day of by the lack of army crawling and plethora of mud pit climbing adventures.

                Here are some misconceptions about mud runs that I had that were completely debunked over the course of running our mud run.

Misconception #1: Mud runs are about running for time. 

                This may not be true of all mud runs, but the one we attended wasn’t timed at all. We had stick on numbers that fell off after the first obstacle, and they obviously had no timing mechanism in them at all. The heats were managed by a DJ, and they weren’t official or anything. We had initially decided to run a 10k in July, and then found out about this mud run, and decided to do that instead. Online it was advertised that the course was 5.8 miles, but it ended up being about 4.5 miles. While it was a great time, and I really enjoyed it, it wasn’t the substitute for a 10k that I was expecting.
One of the first obstacles, a giant muddy hill.

Misconception #2:  Mud runs don’t require any extra training aside from running.

                This was probably my fatal flaw when it came to this run. I have focused solely on running for the past three months. It was only one week before the mud run that I started incorporating some strength training into my weekly routine. On the day of the run I really felt it. Mud, as previously stated, is so slippery, and I didn’t have the agility or upper arm strength at times to clear some of the many obstacles. (There were 72 obstacles to be exact 😊 ) The run also highlighted my lack of sure-footedness. I am a very cautious human. I don’t really like heights; I don’t like throwing myself over fences, or down into ravines or sliding down muddy hills on my feet. While it took me a hot minute to complete most of the obstacles, I was able to complete them, even in my unsure state. Next time, I will add extra agility and strength training leading up to the run. I also need to add more trail runs or hikes into my routine to train on unsteady or not solid ground.
Another view from the starting lines.

Misconception #3: Mud runs only have serious runners.

                Most of the humans who I saw at the mud run weren’t there to run per say. They were there to have fun! After the first few obstacles, my heart plummeted. I crawled forward; I could barely keep up with my running partner; I huffed and puffed; I wasn’t going to make it to the end of this race. After falling flat on my face sliding on some mud, I realized this wasn’t going to be the run I had planned on. I was going to have to let go. I took a deep breath of wet sloppy, manure scented mud, and carried on. I took my time over the obstacles, stopping to survey them before charging head on. I also gave myself the grace to give up when there was no way. A kind man helped me up one of the mud pits, I couldn’t crawl out of, and my running partner gave me a boost when I needed it. 

Me Post Mud Run Standing by the Start Sign
At the end of the race, my running partner looked at me with such dread. I could see him waiting to hear the words “I never want to do that again.” Instead I smiled, saying “That was a lot of fun. We should do it again!”. He was worried that my struggle through the obstacles would turn me away from wanting to run another mud run again. However, for me, it was just the opposite. The mud run highlighted holes in my training. It showed me weak spots I have that I need to work on. This is a perfect example of how mixing up your workout routine can help you improve overall! For some ideas for fitness diversification, check out this post. Do not get too comfortable in your training schedule and methods! That will just hold you back! I cannot wait to hit the next run 😊.

My advice to anyone curious about running mud runs, go for it! It was a great experience. I learned a lot, and had a lot of fun! Be prepared to trash all of the clothes you wore though. :)