What Should You Bring to A Tough Mudder or Mud Running Event?
If you’re heading to your first Tough Mudder event, muddy obstacle race or mud run it makes sense to spend a little time before the event assessing what you need to pack. With a little forward planning you can easily improve your experience as here’s our suggested items you should bring to a muddy event.
Have You Completed a Tough Mudder Event?
Most Importantly- Your Ticket and ID
You have likely spent a fair amount of money to enter the event so it makes sense to either print off your event entry documents and put them somewhere safe for race day or ensure you have a copy saved as a file to your phone. Don’t trust that you’ll be able to get a 4G mobile phone signal in the middle of nowhere at an event to access your emails.
Many events won’t let you onto the course until you have shown the necessary documentation alongside some form of identification that proves you are who you say you are so be aware.
Garmin GPS or Stopwatch
Tough Mudder isn't a competitive event but it's always good to see just how well you did on the course- Whether you've done it with friends, your local boot camp or on your own because your friends chickened out at the last minute. Thjat way you'e got a marker for next time you do the event.
Many other events will time your performance to give you an idea of your performance so best to check whether you'll be timed or have to time yourself for the event.
Plenty of Shoes Get Left at Tough Mudder
Shoes to Pack for a Mud Run
There are two trains of thought when it comes to shoe choices for mud runs and events like Tough Mudder. School 1 is to use an old pair of regular running shoes that you’re happy to leave in a bin after the event to be recycled and sent on hopefully to some poor youngster who needs them a lot more than we do. School 2 is to have a specialist pair of running shoes designed for the muddy conditions. There are more articles online telling you what shoes you should wear for a mud run than we’ve all had hot dinners but the reality is that when it’s muddy you’ll need grip and even a standard trail running shoe is going to send you sliding in deep thick mud. The solution to this quandary comes in the form of fell running shoes which are designed to tackle muddy, boggy conditions. A great budget option for this is the More Mile Cheviot 2 shoe which features a highly aggressive sole designed to dig into the mud and provide traction whilst everyone around you slides down the hills you’re easily scaling.
More Mile Cheviot 2 Shoes for Mud Runs
The Ultimate Shoes to Pack for Tough Mudder
If you’re a bit of a trainer geek and willing to invest in a pair of shoes designed specifically for mud runs and obstacle races the Inov8 X-Talon 200 should be on your shopping list. They have been designed in collaboration with 2015 OCR World Champion and Spartan Race World Champion Jon Albon to offer performance in the mud and on obstacles like rope climbs whilst allowing water to drain rapidly.
What Clothes Should You Pack for the Event?
During Tough Mudder or any other mud run you're going to get wet, muddy and subsequently there's a good chance you're get cold even if it's a pretty warm day. The temptation might be to add extra layers to combat this but the reality is that the more you wear the longer it will take for the items to dry and you'll subsequently spend more time feeling cold.
The most practical and arguably best option for race day clothing is anything the is lightweight and quick-drying. Lycra is relatively good in that sense and so are compression tops.
If you're running with a group who choose to turn up in cotton t-shirts you should seriously consider whether wearing one of these is the best option for you. As soon as you get a cotton T-shirt wet it will likely remain so for the duration of the event which in the case of Tough Mudder could be in excess of 3-4 hours.
Should I Pick Gloves For Tough Mudder?
Wearing gloves for Tough Mudder, Spartan Race or any other mud run is something of fierce debate. One one hand gloves will help to protect your hands but on the other hand they may not be able to cope with the conditions faced when the going gets muddy and wet.
If you're looking at gloves for grip it's best to consider that you'll rarely see one of the elite racers using gloves. Over time calluses are developed which help to grip the bars.
If you are considering gloves you're going to need something that will provide grip on cold, wet metal for obstacles like Funky Monkey. One of the best gloves to offer grip in these circumstances is the Mad Grip Pro Palm which whilst originally made for workmen offers fantastic cross-over. Mad Grip even produce an official Tough Mudder glove.
Mad Grip Pro Palm Gloves for Tough Mudder
Big Bottle of Water
You may be lucky at your event and find they have showers but at many events showers were an afterthought of there will be a hose that breaks down part way through the event. A nice 5 liter bottle of water in the car boot comes in handy to allow you to shower yourself down as bay wipes can only take off so much of the caked on mud.
Garden Refuse Sacks
A roll of garden refuse sacks are a must pack for Tough Mudder or any other mud run. Chances are that you're going to finish your event caked in mud, wet and if you're unfortunate with a few scars.
Heavy duty plastic bags will provide you a convenient place to store muddy kit and shoes while travelling home. Supermarket plastic bags can rip easily and allow the mud to seep into car seats or bags and leave a real mess.
Plastic bags are also great to sit on whilst driving or in car or bus to protect interiors.
A Couple of Lightweight Towels
If you want to clean off after your event you're going to need to dry off too. A couple of towels gives you versatility and one can always be used to sit on for the way home too to protect car seats.
A Pair of Flip-Flops
If you're going to shower off after your event there's a good possibility you'll be standing in dirty water from everyone else who's had a shower. A simple pair Havianas style beach flip flops will raise your feet off the dirty floor whilst showering.
Money- And Plenty of it!
Did anyone tell you just how expensive it is to park up for a Tough Mudder or other Mud Run event. Entry is expensive but it doesn't include such a luxury as parking. In the UK you'll be expected to part with a clean, crisp £10 note before you can get your car into the local farmers field and at Spartan Race events you'll be expected to part with at least £5 for something in reality should be part of what you pay for entry.
Hydration Pack, Food and Gels For During the Event
If it's a blistering hot day you're potentially going to get hydrated. You'd be surprised at how hard your body works during a mud run and therefore you need to make sure you're hydrated. A hydration pack is a great way to carry water in a comfortable manner. There will be water stations during the event but these can be as much as 3-4 miles apart which means you can easily suffer.
Energy gels are one of the easiest ways to get vital carbohydrates and electrolytes into your working muscles during the event. It's always best to try them during runs before your event as some sit differently to others on your stomach.
Sometimes you'll need a more solid form of food so trial options during your training. A personal favorite is supermarket basics cereal bars (Particularly Tesco White Chocolate and Strawberry white are light enough to eat on the go yet with just enough sweetness not to taste icky).
Bring Your Supporters With You
Just because you're doing the event doesn't mean your friends and family shouldn't share in your muddy glory. Many events encourage spectators and with an event village set up to cater for their needs and yours it's easy to see why to bring them along with you.
At Tough Mudder there is a catch. Due to the unique money making machine that Tough Mudder is, you'll need to buy spectator passes for your friends and loved ones. UK prices £10 per adult plus a booking fee taking the cost up to £11.99 so it's best to choose your supporters wisely.