Regular 5ks are great for fitness, but if you’re looking for a little more than your average road race, it’s time to look at a mud run. What is a mud run you ask? Why it’s a run filled with mud and obstacles at every turn. In the Indianapolis area, athletes can choose from a variety of races including the Mudder’s Day Mud Run, the Dirty Girl Mud Run, Indiana Mudocalypse Mud Run, the Indianaplis Mudatholon, Indianapolis Zombie Run, and so many more. Mud runs are typically a 5k distance, with an assortment of muddy obstacles. Some are more competitive than others, and most of them involve a beer at the end of the race.
Obstacles can include rope walls, tunnels, muddy hills, water wading, and whatever else race creators can come up with to challenge participants. Serious teams will sign up for earlier waves, with their minds on the main mission. More social teams and duos will take the course a little later in the day (it’s warmer), and take a more leisurely approach. Anyone can attempt a mud course, but a little bit a training can make the day more enjoyable. In addition to a regular walking/running schedule, consider the following:
- a light weight lifting routine to build upper body strength
- a fitness class to improve coordination
- spend some time working in the yard
- hike off-road, either on a gravel or dirt trail
A variety of activity will get your whole body ready for the experience.
The day of the race, the challenge comes in navigating the check in, finding the baggage check, and getting in the chute to start the course. On race day, your disposable bag of tricks should include:
- old, old shoes
- old, old clothes
- duct tape (to wrap around your shoes, to keep them on your feet)
- sunscreen (even though you’ll be covered in mud)
- snacks for before and after the race
The mud factor can’t be understated. Tape your shoes to your feet, and be prepared to soaked in mud down to your bones. Don’t bring anything with you on the course you don’t want to have covered in mud. Consider wearing clothes you wouldn’t mind throwing away- after the race it might be the easiest option. I made the mistake last year of bringing a nice backpack for my gear. It worked well at the beginning of the day, but post race I was a muddy mess, and it wasn’t easy to dig through it without getting it dirty. This year, I’m bringing a paper shopping bag instead.
Mud runs are a fun way to challenge yourself, spend a fun time with friends, and do something different. I’m signed up to do the Dirty Girl mud run in May, and I’m looking at doing one in the fall as well. No matter your skill level or interests, there’s bound to be one in Central Indiana for you!