What to Wear at Tough Mudder
It turns out that our What to Wear post is our most popular page, so we have decided to create devote an entire page to it. We will be sure to update the list the more runs we have been through (I have run at least 20 now).
I highly recommend that you wear shorts. It may be chilly, but nothing dries off faster than a pair of light shorts. Compression pants work well underneath your shorts as well. Viktor wore a pair of compression pants under his shorts for Tri-State, which helped him to stay warm and kept his knees free of cuts. I however, prefer not to wear them. I felt much more freedom as a ran and climbed, and I also didn’t have to worry about them filling up with mud. Your knees will get bruised as you crawl through the tunnels, and as you climb the walls, but you will feel much more comfortable during the 10 miles of running.
UPDATE 6/6/2011 – After running Austin, Atlanta, PA twice, and SoCal, I still recommend wearing shorts. They give you the most range of motion and dry very quickly. I still have not tried compression pants underneath, but I would recommend against standard running pants.
I prefer to wear a compression, long sleeve shirt underneath a standard T-Shirt. The primary purpose of this shirt is to save your arms. You will be climbing and crawling through almost every obstacle, and these sleeves will make it feel so much better. Be careful, though. You won’t want to wear a cotton undershirt, because you will get wet. And a cotton shirt will only hold the water for longer. You want a shirt that will dry quicker so that you can keep warm and not have to worry about getting cold. You might be wondering why I don’t suggest wearing the cold-gear undershirt. The reason is that you will be running, a lot. There will be times where you will run for a couple miles without another obstacle, or water. Now imagine having to run a few miles, in the sun, wearing an extra thick undershirt. Personally, it is more important to me to dry off and not have to worry about overheating or having to throw away a shirt.
UPDATE 6/6/2011 – As many of you have read, Sunday was a LOT colder than Saturday. I wish I ran Sunday so that I could give a new recommendation on what to wear. However, I did wear the same compression shirt on Saturday, and I am sure glad I did. It kept me warm after the Jocks on the Rocks, and other water events, and kept my arms from looking like the rest of our bodies.
Even if you decide not to wear an undershirt, you will definitely want to wear one that dried quickly. It can get extremely cold in the water, and you want to get rid of that immediately. And please, don’t wear a shirt that you expect to get clean again. This is a mud run, and anything you wear will get muddy. Extremely muddy. Be prepared for it to always be muddy.
There are groups of people who choose not to wear a shirt. I respect this, and have considered it myself. However, there is one obstacle that has deterred me from this philosophy. We Mudders know this as “Shock Therapy“
Need I say more?
The shoes are easily the most important piece of your uniform. It is difficult to choose a good shoe because they too will get extremely muddy. This is made apparent by the mountain of shoes collected at the end of the event. So what shoes should you wear? For our first event, two of us chose to try out the Vibram FiveFinger Shoes. In particular, the KSOs. We chose the KSOs because they were recommended for running off road, and for water use. We purchased them, and one of us, Viktor, actually trained for and participated in them. His biggest complaint was traction. As I ran straight up the mud hills in my brand new New Balance shoes, he slipped as if running on ice. I have worn the exact pair of shoes to every event. So you will be able to wash them and re-use them.
UPDATE 6/6/2011 – For SoCal, Viktor ran in Vibram FiveFinger Bikilas and said they were a lot better than the KSOs. See his full write up here.
They protected my hands from all of the rocks when crawling. They made holding the rope easier. And, most importantly, they were easy to take on and off so that they could dry, and so that I could take them off for the monkey bars; which is an absolute must. I still have yet to see someone finish the monkey bars with gloves on. And if you have, please leave a comment so I know it is possible. They are also machine washable, and have gone through 3 Tough Mudders. 4th will be Colorado.
Update 3/13/2013 – 20 TM, 7 GRCs later, I still highly recommend these gloves to everyone. They dry quick, they grip quick, they’re excellent.
Most of you will be joining as a team. I’m also sure you will want to finish as a team. I suggest you find a way to identify yourselves from the rest of the herd. We wore matching shirts for two events, and it made it much easier to spot each other. I saw a few teams wearing matching arm bands which we may try in the next event. It just saves you time after each obstacle.
Hydration Pack/Camelbak (added 6/8/11)
I have run 3 events now with a Camelbak as well as my helmet cam. However, I can tell you from experience, that it is not necessary. That’s right, I don’t need it, yet I still run with it. Why?
That is all I can think of for now. Please, please, please comment below with questions and suggestions. I will answer as many as I can. Also, subscribe and look out for the tips and tricks for the actual event containing actual first person footage of each obstacle.