How to Prepare for a Mud Run

Mud runs are obstacle courses with a messy twist and it’s time for you to join the fun! They’ve become increasing popular over the past decade, from the brutal 12-mile Tough Mudder to smaller “fun runs” that are more about getting messy with friends than showing off your impressive rock-climbing skills. The classic mud run was inspired by military training fields. Think rope climbs, balance beams and hurdles – all on a waterlogged dirt field that ensures every participant comes back needing a good shower.  

The MuckFest® Mud Run at Dallas’ famed Southfork Ranch is a dirty deed done for a cause. Teams traverse more than a dozen obstacles spread over a 5K course, including a ball dodge and rope climb like the ones seen on American Ninja. Proceeds from the October 28 event benefit the National MS Society.

There are bound to be laughs as you and your teammates jump, crawl, and drag your way through the sludge. But the MuckFest course is no joke. To help you rise to the mucky challenge, we’ve compiled a simple but thorough workout geared for mud runners.  


Many MuckFest obstacles require good balance, including the triple pits, ball dodge, walk on water, and tight rope. Practice these clock-inspired moves in a timely manner and you’ll fly over the ropes like a circus performer:

One-Legged Circle
Imagine yourself inside a clock, with one arm and leg acting as the hands.
·         Stand up straight and balance on one leg.
·         Point your right arm up to 12, then over to 3, then down to 6 and around to 9 on your imaginary clock face.
·         Switch arms and legs and repeat.

Clock Lunges
Picture the ground around you as a clock face. You are the center point, with 12 directly in front of you, and 3 to your right.
·         Stand upright and place your hands on your hips.
·         Lunge directly forward to 12.
·         Hold for 90 seconds.
·         Repeat to 3, 6 and 9 on the “clock,” lunging backwards at 6.


Upper body strength is key to facing down the spill hill, crash landing and (we kid you not), Mt. Muck-imanjaro. To increase your upper arm strength and endurance, try burpees – an exercise move that combines the classic pushup with a jump-and-reach move. Check it out HERE.
·         Start slow with 2-3 burpees alternated with traditional push-ups.
·         Add running to your routine, dropping for a set of three burpees at every half-mile.
·         Gradually work up to 5-10 burpees, depending on your fitness level, alternated with running in place or traditional push-ups.
·         Pull-ups will also help with climbing obstacles, so add a chin bar to your workout if possible. 


A variety of race obstacles including crawling on the ground, so get ready to slide like a slug. Practice crawling arms-first on slick grass or a backyard water slip-and-slide. Aim for 3 sets of 30 yards each.


One of the most deceptively difficult obstacles on the MuckFest course is the appropriately named “Crash Landing.” Knee and ankle injuries can happen because of improper landing after jumps… and several jumps are required on this course. To get your knees accustomed to the shock:
·         Start by practicing soft landings after jumping in place.
·         Stand on the first step of a staircase and jump off, landing with knees slightly bent and arms outstretched.
·         Do 3 sets of 10 jumps. Rest one minute between sets.
·         Try jumps from the second step, then the third.
·         For distance hurdles, try jumping over a soft object such as a pillow or couch cushion.

You glance at the slimy, uneven terrain in front of you. You’re unsure if your footing will hold or you’ll end up face-planted into a bog as your friends cheer and snap Instagram pics on the sidelines. You grit your teeth, crouch in a runner’s stance and bolt for the first obstacle. Thanks to your pre-run exercise routine, you make it through to the end.

Whether MuckFest is your first mud run or your 10th time facing down the beast, it’s wise to gear up with a steady exercise routine. You’ll be safer and your run will be cleaner – even if you’re not. CLICK HERE for more information on the MuckFest and other upcoming events at Southfork Ranch near Dallas, Texas.  

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