How to Train

The first thing to keep in mind is that it is a fun run. It is a special type of fun run, but a fun run all the same. Down N Dirty Mud Run in Semora, NC will be about 3.2 miles (5K) through the woods, up and down hills, and of course, through mud. So if you can’t run that far you need to start getting in some runs.


While you may be able to lift more weight in a two-legged exercise, in my experience you’ll be better off using single leg exercises. My current leg plan for endurance people is a mix of single leg deadlifts, step-ups, single leg curls with a physio ball, and calf work. I keep the reps to 5 per set allowing me to use a decent load, although the focus here is getting everything balanced so that your single leg stance is stable while running on uneven ground.

Finally you need to add some extra conditioning work. A simple circuit of heavy two-hand kettlebell swings, crawling, and push ups done non-stop for around 10 minutes will be all the extra work you need.


The key, as always, for event preparation is to start early. If you haven’t run in a long time then allow adequate build up time for the run break-in plan. Don’t take the event lightly – it’s still a 5K trail run with the added difficulty of the obstacles to overcome. So make sure to commit to fitness and make sure to hit those three sessions each week as they are all vital for your mud run success.




Mud Run Prep


1. A buddy.
Fun runs are always more fun with a friend! They will also help keep you motivated to tackle obstacles and finish the race.

2. The right outfit.
While some races require certain gear or encourage wacky costumes , the general rule is to wear tight armor. Loose-fitting items can get caught on obstacles or weighed down by mud. Receiver gloves, like the kind football players wear, will give you added grip for climbing obstacles. On your feet, wear moisture-wicking socks and lightweight trail-running shoes.

3. Smart extras.
Bring a backpack stuffed with towels, a change of clothes, your phone, and cash.

10 Tips to Tackle Your First Mud Run

1.  Have Fun!

This is not an Olympic trial run. Keep in mind that fun is the 1st priority.

2.  Fun runs draw a different crowd.

There are still some serious competitors at these races but overall a fun run brings in runners of all ages, shapes, sizes and athletic abilities.  This type of race draws people who want to share a unique and memorable experience together.

3.  Try to avoid wearing cotton.

It stretches and weighs you down after a while.  Typical running gear attire works best.  I was also grateful that we wore shorts instead of pants for our run.

4.  Bring a garbage bag, towel, a change of clothes, underwear and flip flops.

Trust me your feet will feel better once your slimy socks are off.  You will feel so much better when you get out of your dirty clothes and your car upholstery will thank you for it.

5. Make sure you eat something and drink water before your run.

You will need energy and fluids in your system.

6.  Bribe a non-runner to take pictures and hold your stuff.

You might need to throw in a meal with a beverage or two.  The pictures and video from this type of event really help you relive your day.  It’s also nice to see familiar faces in the crowd.  It’s great to have someone nearby with your towel and gear without the wait of retrieving it from check in.  You want those muddy “after” pictures.

7.  It’s ok to walk when you need to.

The running community is very supportive and not judgmental.  The bravery is just showing up.  You will not be the only one who walks.  Be in it to finish!  You don’t have to win it!  No one is thinking that this will be your fastest race ever.

8.  Run on the edges of the super swampy mud pits.

Some people even duct tape their laces so that their shoes are even more secure.  We almost lost a team member’s shoe in the swamp pit.  You do not want that to happen.

9.  During the belly crawl mud challenge keep your mouth shut and keep a good amount of space between yourself and the foot in front of you.

You will eat less dirt and encounter less kicks to the face.

10.  Celebrate

Take it all in and enjoy the journey.  Years from now you will have stories to share with your grandkids.  Fun runs are all about sharing an experience together.