Tough Mudder 101: What you need to know to not get injured!
When many hear about obstacle course racing and mud runs, one of the first concerns is usually the likelihood of injury. They hear about the fire jumps, tall walls, mud pits and electrified wires and get concerned with the unknown. As with any sport, injuries happen. However, the occurrence of injury is low at events and there are several ways to help decrease your risk on race day and in training. The secret to an injury-free racing season is truly all the work you do before the race and the rest you take afterwards.
BEFORE THE RACE
The first way to decrease your chances of injury on race day is to prepare for your race ahead of time. Tough Mudder involves lifting, carrying, jumping, climbing, crawling and running. If you are a beginner in your fitness journey, the best thing to attend all Boot Camp trainings. If you can’t make the Boot Camp training, do bodyweight exercises to strengthen your muscles: push-ups, burpees, lunges, pull-ups, squats, box jumps and step-ups.
Race day morning you can greatly decrease your chances of injury with a good warm-up before the race begins. Whether it is a jog or walk and dynamic stretch, a good warm-up (similar to what we do to begin our Boot Camp training) will get your muscles ready to jump into action as the race begins. As well if you have a weak ankle or knee, tape it before you get to the race. Sprained ankles are the most common injury among participants. For those who know they have weak ankles, a preventative wrap can be the difference between a great race and a visit to the medical tent.
Know your limitations. The Tough Mudder is all about pushing your boundaries, but at the same time, you need to know your limits. It is perfectly acceptable in most events to get help from other participants – it’s a team sport! If you need assistance getting over a wall, it’s okay to get help. If you have heart issues or other medical limitations, skip the obstacle.
Finally, if you see an obstacle and are concerned about whether it is safe, bypass it. The majority of event organizers work extremely hard to ensure obstacle safety, including employing structural engineers to design and build the structures. So when in doubt, use your best judgment and do what’s best for you and not what everyone around you is pushing you to do.
AFTER THE RACE
After the race, don’t rush back into training or doing another race too quickly. Our bodies need rest to recover from races. For a few days after the race, just do light workouts, such as a spin on a bike, an easy jog or rowing. Many people are too eager to jump back into training and do not give their bodies the proper rest to recover and regenerate. The secret to an injury-free racing season is truly all the work you do before the race and the rest you take afterwards. With a little bit of preparation and planning, your race experience can be a successful injury-free experience. It’s all about the preparation and the recovery.