Mad for the Mud

Tips for training for obstacle courses and mud races.

By Amanda Vogel, MA
Mar 17, 2014

We’ve seen many activity trends come and go in the fitness industry, but perhaps none quite as “dirty” as the current obsession with mud runs and obstacle races. While some events are milder than others, many could be described as an “ordeal” that also happens to be a workout. For example, you might find yourself slopping through mud, scaling impossibly high verticals and pushing yourself to the limit—physically and mentally.

The popular Tough Mudder® competition even includes an obstacle with live wires that repeatedly zap competitors with 10,000 volts of electricity, causing burns that have landed a few people in the emergency room (Greenberg et al. 2013). And some competitors arrive at these rugged, strenuous competitions woefully unprepared and quickly get in over their heads.

The popularity of these events has surged in recent years, though the website www.ObstacleRacer.com says attendance may be leveling off. Nevertheless, the fitness industry cannot ignore the fact that a lot of people are entering mud runs and obstacle course races, and there is a good chance our clients will be among them. They need our help to prepare properly.

Getting Started With Mud Races

If you wish to experience an obstacle race for the first time, you might want to test the waters with a shorter course (less than 5 kilometers with fewer than 10 obstacles, for instance). Being able to go at your own pace versus racing to the finish line might also be beneficial.

Here are some of the major programs:

To read the full article that ran in the March 2014 issue of the IDEA Fitness Journal click here.

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Amanda Vogel, MA

Amanda Vogel, MA, is a fitness professional and the owner of Active Voice, a writing, editing and consulting service for fitness professionals. She writes for IDEA, Health, Prevention, and Self, and has co-authored books on postnatal fitness and yoga. With a master's degree in human kinetics, Amanda has worked in the fitness industry for more than 15 years, including time spent as a program director and vice president for a chain of all-women clubs in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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