So my recent races have involved a stay-over, this weekend is the same, so this post will focus on what to wear, take with you on race day, and take with you for the weekend. I’ve separated this out to help. This is just as much a reminder for me… my last Tough Mudder last month, I forgot a towel – rookie error!! I ended up buying an over-priced, under-sized and WHITE towel from the merch stand for £15… which really didn’t do much good.
- Full length leggings – for warmth, flexibility and (a bit of) protection from small scratches
- Long sleeve ‘cold-wear’ compression top – Normally I go for a vest but its October now so going with the ‘cold-gear’ from Under Armour. I have a spare, tried and tested, vest in my spare gear, just in case I change my mind.
- Socks – I normally stick with tried and tested Asics ‘Marathon socks’, but at Spartan Beast I invested in some Inov8 Debrisocs – which attach over your shoes for extra shoe ‘keepy-on-ness’, and they keep out the mud and grit pretty well.
- Shoes – A tricky one for TM. They say regular running shoes, but really trail shoes are much better. They deal with the terrain better and if you buy ones designed for OCR, they let the water drain out much quicker. I use Inov8 Mudclaws, BUT.. I really struggled with Everest at TM Yorkshire with them – taking me about 6 or 7 attempts. Basically, any flat, man-made surface and the cleats will mean you’ll slip around all over. I think I lost about a stride on the distance, making it harder. Fortunately I had my team there to help me out. I think that the disadvantage at Everest isn’t worth the advantage throughout the rest of the course. At TM North West, last month, my brother had my regular road-running shoes waiting for me to change into. Which worked a dream – I got up Extreme Everest (much steeper) on my second attempt. This time I’m running on my own – no team to rely on and I’ve been unsure what to do. I’ve decided to go with my inov8 Mudclaws (they rocked it at Spartan Beast 2 weeks ago), AND take a change of shoes myself in a belt. I’ve gone with my reliable Nike gym shoes – decent enough grip, well worn in, and light/small enough to fit into a cheap running belt with no bother. I’ll see how that goes and let you know!
- Gels – Not a necessity but I like to start with one at the warm up.
- Garmin – A new one for me. On road runs, I’ve always managed fine with Runkeeper on my phone but I recently invested in a Forerunner 15 for mud runs. Good to know your time and actual distance on TMs (if you care!).
- Oh yes… and most importantly… HEADBAND The Tough Mudder camaraderie is like nothing else – show your stripes by wearing your highest earned headband (blue (4), for me).
No gloves for me – still unsure on this one but they get so caked in mud, I really don’t think they offer an advantage.
I also have a new toy this weekend… a GoPro. Got it on a chest mount, so will see how I do with that!
Bag drop bag
- Your photo ID.
- Snacks you may need afterwards.
- Change of clothes. I take comfy gym kit. You will be muddy but you’ll be a lot less muddy and more comfortable changing into fresh (old) clothes. Including UNDERPANTS and girls, a fresh BRA. It’s simply heavenly changing out of wet clothes…. and god-awful having to sit in wet pants for the drive home.
- Money – you’ll at least need to pay the £10 (grumble grumble) to park), and £3 for bag drop.
- Towel – a small-ish one is fine – just to wipe the worst of the mud off.
In the car
- A big towel. Keep warm, protect your car seats, try and get the rest of the mud off you… whatever.
- Another towel? Basically you can’t have enough towels, especially if you’re with a team… somebody will have forgotten a towel.
- Spare kit. Never needed it, but I always take a spare pair of trainers (not sure why… paranoia?).. everything else you can buy if needed, but trainers are your best friend.
Overnight bag – if you’re staying over
I’m not going to list everything you need for a night away from home, obviously. Just make sure if you’re staying over, don’t rely on the friend/family/kind person you’re staying with (or hotel) to have your pre-race breakfast, or night before meal. This isn’t the time to be experimenting with new foods, particularly for breakfast. At the risk of offending my hosts, I normally pack a bag of wholewheat pasta (i’ve never actually had to use it) for dinner the night before, and eggs and a wholewheat bagel for breakfast. Stick to what you know works.
So that’s me! I’m by no means an expert but on my 4th TM now, so i’ve gotten a rhythm together for what works for me.
Some photos of Everest Yorkshire for good measure…. Go team…