Mud-run events are not typical runs and require training to prevent injury. For participants who are experienced runners, the additional obstacles in the race require upper body strength in addition to preparation for running. For those who have the muscle strength, training for running endurance as well as tackling physical obstacles is needed.
The best way to approach a mud run is through a training regimen. A prerace workout schedule should begin a minimum of eight to 12 weeks before the event. The level and amount of training depend on the event and your desired outcome. According to Catherine Anderson, co-owner of Achieve Fitness, Inc., and Milwaukee Adventure Boot Camp and certified fitness trainer, sport performance specialist, and nutrition specialist, “To prepare your joints and muscles and really get in cardiovascular and muscular strength health, it takes about three months. That way you can ward off any overtraining issue and injuries. And you can work it in as part of your life balance.”
Your basic training program should include two to three days of running (including sprints) per week to increase your wind, spliced with cardio and interval sessions. Training should focus on mimicking the obstacles to be featured in your event. “There are so many different types of physical exercise you are training for,” Anderson said. “You have to train for muscle strength, muscle endurance, and cardiovascular endurance, and you can pretty effectively hit two of those in one workout. But to hit all three in one workout is tough; it takes proper planning. You need to separate them to really hit them and give them their due.”
The most important aspect of your training is to practice like you will play, which includes training wet and in water and/or mud conditions.
Your workout should begin with a dynamic warm-up to prepare the muscles and joints for the movement of the workout. Next, active and dynamic stretching loosens up the major joints with full ranges of motion.
Rest periods of one to two minutes between circuits while training will prep you for the downtime between obstacles, where your rest time is your run time.
Important things to keep in mind while training are:
- Train for this specific event
- Train harder than the actual event
- Train wet to acclimate yourself to conditions
When starting any physical regimen, it is always best to check with your doctor first.