It’s not every day you do an obstacle course race and if this is your first time undertaking a Tough Mudder, it’s hard to know exactly what you need to bring. I’ve put together a couple of ideas for not only what to bring, but also what to wear and how to prepare the night before.
Tough Mudders are generally, as the name suggests, pretty muddy. Expect to get soaked from head to toe (literally, you’ll be underwater at some points) and that goes for mud too. The only exception is if you do the 5k Urban Tough Mudder – because these are generally in city parks, where there’s no water and no mud obstacles (although you can still expect to get damp and dirty).
What to wear for the event
I’ve done about 7 or 8 obstacle courses now (2 Tough Mudders) and this is what I tend to wear each time:
Full Length Leggings: Even on a warm day, I’ll run in leggings as it minimises the scratches. I’ve got a pair of compression 2XU leggings which I’ve worn for every race! Although one of my friends ended up with a massive rip in the bum when she slid down a mud hill and over a rock!
Sports bra: Especially now with my mum boobs, I want them to be well secured. My go-to bra is from Shock Absorber – it’s pretty ugly but it does the trick. And makes it impossible to breast-feed in!
Long-sleeved top: With all the climbing over, under and through, I rely on a long-sleeved baselayer to bear some of the brunt for all the scratchy things I encounter. It’s quick-dry and also keeps me warm after getting muddy or going for an icy dip.
T-shirt: Sometimes I’ll wear a technical T-shirt but I often chuck on a standard T-shirt. Probably not the best as it’s not as quick drying as a technical top but it’s usually one I don’t mind getting really mucky or ripped.
Running socks: Mine are from Runderwear but any good running socks will do.
OCR or trail shoes: I’ve got a pair of inov8 X-Talons which are my go-to shoes for obstacle course races. I can run in them, climb in them and they’re also well secured so won’t fall off easily in the muddy bits. For an Urban Tough Mudder though, I reckon you could easily get away with old trainers.
Headband: I HATE having hair in my eyes and the last thing you want is to be smearing bits of flyaway hair across your face, along with mud and goodness knows what else. I generally wear my hair in plaits to keep it off my face and then keep it in place with the headband – nothing fancy, just a cheap cotton one which I won’t be too upset about if I lose it.
What to pack:
Full change of clothes for after – and I mean a FULL change of clothes, including underwear and bra. Don’t forget socks and a clean pair of shoes. I generally pack an old pair of joggers (I picked a cheap pair up from H&M about 4 years ago and these are well-worn now but perfect for this), a clean bra, pants, socks, T-shirt and warm hoodie to scramble into.
Baby wipes – at many places there will be showers, but I’m not a fan of ice cold outdoor ones so I generally just wash my hands and then go over them again with a baby wipe or two. They’re also handy for getting mud off the essential bits of your face. Like your eyes.
Hand sanitiser – I hate hand sanitiser but this is an exceptional occasion.
Water – it’s an essential for whatever you’re doing, right?
Snacks – depending on how long I think the event will take, I’ll have something quick to nibble on, either before or after. Some nuts and dried fruit, chocolate, homemade energy balls. I once took a homemade spaghetti bolognaise which was absolutely genius and one of the best meals I remember ever having!
Bin liners – these are essential for chucking dirty clothes in. Take one if you’re within walking distance, and more if you’re going home on the train or in the car – you’ll need them to line the seat with as even if you get changed, it’s likely you’ll still have mud on your hair.
The night before:
What to eat: Enough! Get a carb-heavy meal in, but don’t overdo it. I really like brown rice with salmon and broccoli, or a veggie spaghetti.
Prep: If you’re leaving early for a race, do all your preparation the night before. Make sure you know where you’re going and you’ve got anything you need printed out. Have the address at hand and also ensure you’ve got enough petrol for the journey if you’re driving.
What to eat on the morning of a Tough Mudder:
Regardless of nerves, make sure you do eat. And try to eat at least 3 hours before you race. So if you’re racing at 11, eat by 8am. Avocado on wholewheat toast with eggs, banana and peanut butter breakfast smoothie, and greek yoghurt with granola and fruit, are some of my favourite pre-race breakfasts. Most importantly, don’t eat anything you’ve not eaten before – there’s nothing quite as terrible as having a dodgy stomach halfway up a mud mountain… (although to be quite honest, I’m not sure if anyone would even really notice…)