10 Musts to Survive Tough Mudder

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Here’s a list of few things that might make the Tough Mudder experience more tolerable. ;)

1) As much of a hassle as it is, I highly recommend wearing a hydration pack. One of the water stations was out of water when we got there. I saw people drinking creek water in desperation (parasites anyone?) and several poor souls getting IV’s from medics. A kind spectator gave me and my teammate a Muscle Milk and an energy gel pack – that saved us! Guess getting stuck in a mud pit with our calf muscles seizing up made him feel sorry for us. Do not let yourself get dehydrated, and consider bringing some energy gel. Leg cramps due to dehydration toward the end can take you out. After all of that effort, quitting was not an option!

2) Shoes can make a big difference in safety and comfort. Vibram 5 fingers shoes might have you slip-sliding all over the place (Our team-mate Michael certainly did). My trail running shoes,  La Sportiva Crosslite- were perfect! The traction was unbelievable! I had no trouble getting up slippery slopes. I passed several chains of people working together to scale muddy hills…I felt like Spiderman ;) If you have trail running shoes, great! If you’re considering continuing in muddy woodsy romps, it would be worth checking into. BTW, they cleaned up just fine. Bottom line, the more aggressive the tread, the better.

3) Goggles won’t help. I saw so many pairs on the trail that people had ditched.

4) Gloves were also questionable. We saw lots of those abandoned on the course. With everything being covered in mud, gloves were more of a hindrance on monkey bars and slick ropes. I needed to feel what I was grabbing minus one extra layer of mud-caked fabric.

Continued on page 2 . . .

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26 Comments

  1. Amanda

    March 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Actually, I wore my Vibram 5 fingers and didn’t slide at all. It completely depends on what model you have. Some have no traction while some, like my TrekSports and my boyfriend’s KSO Treks, worked better than our teammmates’ regular trail shoes. The right Vibrams are the PERFECT shoe for this race.

    • Amanda Neal Wilson

      March 18, 2011 at 8:58 pm

      Glad they worked for you! I had no idea they had so many models…I bet the designs made for the outdoors would be great. You may have inspired me to check some out. ;) Congrats to you, fellow Tough Mudder! :)

  2. dawn klepinger

    March 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    looks like fun!! I may have to try it some time! :)

  3. Doug

    March 23, 2011 at 8:48 am

    For Electric Shock Therapy, my teammate, my hero, ran first and I ran inches behind with my hand on his back and only got shocked once. I plan to experience the obstacle on my own next time :-) Love all the f bombs dropped during that one, lol.

    • Amanda Neal Wilson

      March 26, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Good idea, Doug. That’s some teamwork! I screamed the whole way through that part, and laughed at myself when I got to the finish. :)

  4. Pete

    March 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Nice article and very well informed. Thank you so much for this post. Always great to see people get into challenging things and then speaking about it. Thank you again to the tips!!

  5. Tina

    March 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

    I ran the TM on Saturday, and wore a pair if Nike Dry fit pants with a light weight Mtn Hardware top. These helped keep me very dry, and I stayed cool. I don’t think I would recommend the top in temperatures much over 65 degrees. It could get too hot, and cause problems. As far as my socks and shoes. I wore a pair of Smart Socks and a pair of Nike Running shoes that had an aggressive bottom. I still slid and had to crawl but I managed. The socks are awesome. I didn’t have any blisters, or cuts on my feet. However, I did see a couple people with cotton socks and they received horrible injuries to their feet. I didn’t have a hydration pack, but I wish I had, and possibly chap stick. I recommend dressing smart for these types of events, and I would do another Tough Mudder Race again.

    • Amanda Neal Wilson

      April 20, 2011 at 8:07 pm

      A hydration pack and chapstick would have been heaven at one point! ;)

  6. Alicia

    April 13, 2011 at 12:22 am

    Thank you so much for the article! I will running my first Tough Mudder in July and I am nervous about what to expect.I especially appreciate the tips about clothing, blister packs, etc. I hadn’t thought of that!

  7. Tracy

    April 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    Thanks for the tips, Amanda. How much running did you do to prepare (distance & terrain)? I’m doing VT next mo.

    • Amanda Neal Wilson

      April 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      I really didn’t do enough trail running to prepare. If you can get in a good trail run of 6 miles at least, twice per week, with lots of hills/rocks/roots, you’ll probably be ok. That’s my amateur opinion. ;) Good luck! Let us know how it goes! :)

  8. JP

    April 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for the tips, I am planning on going with my VFF’s in WI so wish me luck! Also, I am an electrical engineer by day so naturally I have a strategy for running the electrical wires that you all might like to hear… here you all go:

    When running through the wires, keep in mind that electricity needs a path to GROUND in order to make you feel any sort of shock. If your feet are not touching the ground, you will feel little to no electric shock. My strategy is to prance or skip through the wires as fast as possible, making very limited contact with the ground. It might not look very cool, but I’ll be the one laughing when I don’t get hit with 10,000 Volts!!

    • Kim

      June 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      JP- Please let us know if that strategy works for you. Am planning on the Feb. TM in Texas and am absolutely TERRIFIED of that obstacle

    • Mike Clapson

      January 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm

      I understand where you’re coming from but the challenge is that the ground is very uneven and muddy – making it had to bound. Your best bet is to just run like crazy :)

  9. Dee

    June 9, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    Hey Guys! If any of you are looking for more Tough Mudder tips, don’t forget to visit the fan website, ToughestMudder.com

    • rob alex

      rob alex

      June 10, 2011 at 12:48 am

      Thanks Dee . . . will do! Please share as well. Cheers!

  10. Steve Kimme-Hea

    January 13, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Thanks so much for the tips! The hydration bag was the big question for me. I guess I’ll endure the hassle cause I sure don’t want to get dehydrated!

    Take care!

  11. Jeff

    January 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Any suggestions for light weight non-minimalist shoes for the mudder? I tried a pair of NB Minimus, but dont feel like I have enough time to train as hard as I’ll need to, and acclimate to the new type of shoe/running style. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Best, Jeff

  12. Jamie

    January 30, 2012 at 6:44 am

    Doing the Aussie TM in March and totally pumped! Good work Amanda, thanks for some great tips from you and others who contributed so far :)

    • Amanda Neal Wilson

      February 4, 2012 at 10:35 am

      Thanks! Hope you have a great time at the Aussie TM. Let us know how it goes. Best of luck! :)

  13. Pingback: Tough Mudder: If I can do it, so can you! | Irene Philips

  14. Chris B

    February 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I just completed the GA TM this last Saturday. I wore my VFF KSO’s and shorts. The Temp was about 38 degrees when I started with a wind chill of 28. I stayed warmer during most of the race than my completely clothed brethren, even if they were wearing quick dri clothing. The water and mud were spaced so most clothing would not dry in time. my skin dried much quicker.

    I took a Winter survival course once, and they taught me that if you get completely soaked strip down and start a fire. I had to put that to a test during the class. I swam fully dresses about 50yards in 50 degree water. got out and gather wood for fuel and start a fire with flint and steel. I used that principles behind that lesson in dressing for TM. obviously I did not start a fire during the race.

  15. Emma

    February 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Awesome info for TM. I’m glad to hear the different thoughts on Vibrams because I bought mine especially for TM. Great idea about taking a hydration pack, I was planning on taking mine but wasn’t sure if it would be a hassle. I’ll put up with the hassle now rather than passing out from dehydration. I can’t wait for the TM in March, Melbourne Australia woohoo!!

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