You’ve signed up for your first obstacle course race, and it’s the best, muddy sort: Mud Hero! You’ve started training, getting your legs and arms in shape for the big day, but then you realize, “Wait – what the heck should I be wearing to this ‘mud run’?!” It’s an important question you ask, and rather than guessing, you’re coming here to get the answer (very smart!). Let’s break this all down so that you are ready and comfortable during the race – and at the after party.
That’s right: the first thing you need to know is that cotton is a definite bad idea. Cotton is heavy and even heavier when it gets wet (which it surely will be during the Mud Hero event). As opposed to running and climbing around with extra weight, be prepared to invest in clothing that is not made of cotton – performance dry-fit material is a good bet!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Accessories
Most accessories are inadvisable. With a lengthy race that sees you climbing over and under obstacles and wading through mud pits, any accessory could be lost. Hats, sunglasses, iPods – just leave those at home, as the likelihood of those making it with you to the finish line are slim – and if they do, there’s a reasonable chance they’ll be damaged. If it’s sunny and you need your shades, wear athletic grade shades that have a tie around the back of your head to keep them in place.
Jewelry is a BAD Idea
Small precious items like these are easily lost amongst the craziness of a Mud Hero event. Worse, an earring could get caught on an obstacle, and leave you in some pain – never mind the lost earring.
Electronic Devices (Music, Video Cameras, etc.)
If you want to carry a music device or GoPro camera, be sure to secure it to your person, and hold tight whenever going through water or mud. Make sure you TAG us in any footage using @mudhero or #MudHero – we’d love to see it and share with our Mud Heroes fans!
An advisable accessory though is the headband. While it could get lost in a mud pit, it will serve you well to keep sweat and hair out of your face during the obstacle course race. And if you do happen to lose it, it was only a headband after all, so no sweat (pun certainly intended!).
The first suggestion is to not cover your upper body. Many men, especially in competitive heats, do not wear a shirt at all; while many ladies wear only a sports bra with a tank top. The thing to learn here is that for obstacle course runs, less is really more: less clothes means you’ll have less to catch on obstacles and less to trap water and weight – and this will make you more successful.
Of course, if the weather is unfriendly and it’s a chilly out, then a shirt may be needed. Here’s where compression gear works best, as it is tight to your skin (less to snag on obstacles) and helps keep your muscles tight while retaining very little water in the process. Wicking fabrics can also be great here for similar reasons.
Same should go for your bottoms. Compression gear is the best, and less is more: compression shorts only is ideal. Adding a small pair of shorts on top of compression shorts is fine, but that added, loose fabric could get caught and snag, slowing you down.
Remember: in the end, an obstacle course race is not a fashion show – no one is judging how you dress, as you will likely be covered in mud by the quarter mark (or before!) of the event anyways.
(Good compression clothing includes Columbia's PFG Terminal Deflector Zero Long Sleeve Shirt or River Chill II Short Sleeve)
Again, avoid cotton. Well-made wool or wicking socks are the best idea – or just leave the socks off, as less is more in the world of obstacle course racing. We recommend Compression socks if you're running the 10K Ultra.
(Good sock brands include Darn Tough, Columbia Poly Mesh Cush Crew Sock and Injinji Toe Socks)
Most Important: SHOES
Shoes are the most important article of clothing you will wear for a Mud Hero event. While, yes, they are going to get super-muddy, it is a bad idea to simply wear an old pair of sneakers. As soon as these get wet, they will probably become very heavy and you will be running around all day in a puddle. Rather, invest in durable shoes with great treads, support and, especially, drainage.
(Some of the best obstacle course racing shoe brands and models out there are Columbia Drainmaker's, Solomon S/Lab Ultra 2, Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0, and Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5)
When the Run is Done…
Don’t forget that when you complete the Mud Hero course, we will be throwing an EPIC Mud Bash After-Party: you don’t really want to party in your messy racing gear, so do bring a change of clothes for afterward. We’ll be collecting unwanted shoes at every event and donating them to Sneakers4Funds so please bring an extra pair or two you don't need/want/use anymore.
Check this list off, and then get back to training – we can’t wait to see you at the next Mud Hero event!