By Chris Wilson, CPT, RKC
Head Strength Coach, Critical Bench

Okay, who liked the playground when they were kids? If you said no, you can stop reading now.

Thanks anyway, see ya! (kinda harsh, I know)

Good, now that I have you dialed in, let’s think about this for a moment.

The playground brought out so much positive energy and fun when we were kids. Why do we deny ourselves the same enjoyment as adults?

It’s pretty sad, right?

Think about it, when’s the last time you played with a group of people in a way that was competitive, physical and rewarding?

It probably wasn’t recently.

Some things in life shouldn’t disappear as we get older. Having a blast outside, under the sun (or rain) and getting hot, dirty and sweaty is still fun even though we’re grown up.

What makes it even more enjoyable is when we’re having fun with a group of friends who build each other up and encourage each other.

Seriously, try to remember the last time you had a ton of fun or found yourself laughing until your sides hurt?

I bet you were with other people and everyone was joining in. Having fun is always easier when you’re with others.

We’ve all heard about the power of teamwork and working within a group of people towards a common goal.

Humans are social animals who find strength in numbers. It’s why teamwork is encouraged at work, in sports, in the military and through community service.

Accomplishing a goal as a team creates an unstoppable force that can overcome fear, doubt and fatigue. There are many examples of this in our everyday lives and I’m sure you can think of some of your own experiences.

But why am I trying to make a connection between teamwork and playground activity?

Because it’s during our time as children when we grow and develop these amazing character traits that define who we are and how we respond to the world around us. Those memories last a lifetime and never fade away.

And nothing allows us to rekindle that magic of having fun
with our friends like Mud Run events.

What is a Mud Run?

Mud Runs are grown-up obstacle courses of various distances designed to beat you up physically and have you work as a team to complete.

The whole idea is to a) HAVE FUN and b) FINISH STRONG.

Of course, there are a few guys and gals who go into these solo, either to try for a PR or just meet people along the way.

But, in all honesty, after doing many of these races over the years, the hundreds of thousands of competitors who show up for these events are there to make memories with friends, have a blast and complete the course.

If you’re thinking of doing a mud run, here’s my advice: go for it.

But when you do make the jump, it’s important you do it the right way.

Too many people jump into these events thinking they can train like it’s a normal running race. Or think they can just show up and give it a go with little or no preparation.


Don’t make that mistake.

Do it properly. To make sure you do it the smart way, here are my 3 Key Components that you need to prepare for to complete one of these awesome events.

Three Key Components you need to crush a Mud Run

#1 – Commit early, register today

If you’re anything like me, you’re a major procrastinator. I mean, who isn’t?

We wait until the very last second to truly commit to doing something. Sure, we got it done in the end but we did a lousy job of truly holding ourselves accountable.

Aaaaahhhh…the ‘A’ word.

Accountability is very important when it comes to participating in a mud run. The sooner you pick your event, register and start building a team, the better your chances of actually showing up and participating.

Early commitment MASSIVELY increases your chance of success.

I’ve seen the people who talk a big game about doing these races and still haven’t registered a week before the event.

Guess what happens?

Something always comes up and they don’t show. What a bummer for them and for their team, who they’ve let down.

Don’t let that happen to you.

Book the darn thing WAY in advance and save yourself some serious mullah in the process (these races are ALWAYS cheaper when purchased months ahead of time). Once you’ve registered and paid up, you have a target date and you can move on to the most important part of the race: preparation.

Early prep allows you time to gather up some guys and gals who you can train with. So before we talk about what you need to get ready for the race, you first need to make the crucial step of getting your team on board. Which brings us to key component #2…

#2 – Build your team

This one should be a no-brainer after I stood on my soapbox earlier and preached about teamwork.

Having the right group of friends, family or co-workers to run with is really what makes the experience complete (hey, at least it does for me!).

You may forget where you did the run, what the obstacles were or what you wore that day. But you will NEVER forget who you ran with, who you finished with and who was on your team.

You’ll always look at the photo at the finish and remember the thrill of crossing that line together.

Experiences are what make life worth living.

I’m not trying to get all hokey here, but it’s true. When we go on an adventure with a group of people and our will is tested, it’s memorable, rewarding and makes us better, stronger people. Period.

I’ve done 5Ks, 10Ks and Half Marathons and I’ve done a ton of Mud Runs and Adventure Races.

There's no comparison.

The mud runs and adventure races blew away the standard running events because of the camaraderie, fun factor and overall physical challenge.

Build your team as soon as you can and build it as BIG as you can.

There will always be some attrition and people who say one thing and never commit. Gather up your buddies and begin your training right away. Like tomorrow.

Don’t hang around until it’s too late, which brings me to the next component…

#3 Train right, train specific

This may surprise you: the big Herculean guys aren’t necessarily the guys who dominate the course. Nor are the skinny runners who fly off at the starting gun.

It’s the bodyweight-strong dudes that literally FLY THROUGH the course.

Let me explain why.

Mud runs all have some aspect that can be super-challenging for guys with different strengths.

Guys who spend all their time running can’t hold their weight on the monkey bars and end up dropping into the water. Muscle-bound freaks who never do cardio lose their wind around mile 7 or 8 and can barely finish due to poor conditioning and cramping.

It takes a complete ATHLETE to show up and hold his own on the course.

Don’t let me put you off. If you’re good at push-ups, pull-ups, can squat your body weight all day long and run like the wind, you were made for these mud runs.

(Think of mud run events as military bootcamps. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines all want guys who are lean, mean endurance machines.)

By the way, I’m NOT very lean (15% BF), I’m certainly not very light (215 lbs last time I checked) but I can be very competitive and my endurance is solid, believe it or not.

Long distance running has always been a strength of mine even at heavier weights. It’s very important to know where you’re at so you can focus your training on improving your shortcomings.

The worst thing you can do is to fail to train.

Think of it this way. You’ve thrown a stack of cash on the event. You’re part of a team relying on you. And chances are you’re going to have an amazing experience together. Why jeopardize all of this by falling down when it comes to your training?

Getting your training nailed down well before your Mud Run event gives you the best chance of a great experience (and - importantly - not showing yourself up in front of your buddies!).

It’s also important to do the right kind of training specific to these events.

If you train for this event like a normal running race, you’ll struggle with the physical challenges throughout the event. Likewise, if you’re big, brute strength alone won’t help you on the course - you need to develop athleticism from your training.

That’s why, when I ran Tough Mudder, I asked one of our Strength Coaches, Brian Klepacki, to design a 6-week training guide tailored to mud run events.

Not only has Brian done a ton of these events over the years, he’s a competitive triathlete and understands the challenges of multi-disciplinary sports. He knows exactly what can go wrong when you don’t focus on the all-round athlete.

Enter Your Email Below To Get Your FREE 6-Week Mud Stud Program

So you’re probably asking, why are we giving it away free?

Well, although we know we could charge for this - and even at $97 it would be a crazy-good price - all we want in exchange is your email address.

That’s it! Just your email so we can send you even more free mud run advice, programs, preparation tips, workout videos and promotion’s we’re running that you may be interested in.

(And, of course, we’ll never share your email or spam you with a ton of products you don’t want)

Believe me, we’ve got some really exciting mud run training videos and shortcuts we’re working on right now that you’re going to want to see if you’re serious about killing it at your next race.

Enter Your Email Below To Get Your FREE 6-Week Mud Stud Program

Download the program right now and begin your preparation. You don’t have to waste your time working out specific exercises or worrying about the kind of obstacles you’ll be up against - this program gives you EVERYTHING.

Let a guy who’s been there and done it hand you the program you need so you can get in the gym and get mud run-ready.

Just find an event, register and start building your team. Let the Mud Stud program do the rest.

Have fun, make memories and in the words of the Tough Mudder… HOORAH!

About the Coach

Brian Klepacki has over 14 years of experience and education in the fitness and athletic world. He holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science and holds numerous highly recognized certifications that set his expertise and training above most others. As a competitive triathlete and a Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Brian knows how crucial it is to sort through fact and fiction when it comes to athletic training and human performance. He is the Head Strength Coach and Owner of Optimax Performance Training.