Tough Mudder 5k Tips + Recap

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Here’s my Tough Mudder 5k 2019 Recap from Virginia and how you can start training for a Tough Mudder near you!

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tough mudder 5k tips

I just completed my very first Tough Mudder 5k and I am HOOKED.

I participated in the Tough Mudder 5k in Haymarket, VA which is about 45 minutes west from where I live. It was hard, exhilarating and an amazing experience.

My Tough Mudder 5k Experience

Before the Tough Mudder

My sister asked me months ago if I’d do a Tough Mudder 5k with her and I said yes. At that point, it was months away and I had so much time ahead of me to prepare.

I did my SWEAT workouts. I added in lots of cardio at the gym. Additionally I pushed 80+lbs of kids around in a double stroller almost daily. Leading up to the race, I started to feel less and less prepared though I know I put in work daily.

The Tough Mudder 5k is 3 miles and 13 obstacles. A Tough Mudder Classic is 8-10 miles with 25 obstacles! Click my affiliate image below to check out the Tough Mudder website!

Challenge Day

Challenge day was finally here and I had a 1pm start time. My sister and I signed up as a team early on so we’d be able to do the 5k together. We didn’t buy parking until 2 days before the event which was a dumb move on my part. Buy parking as soon as you’re able to get as close as possible!

Tough Mudder 5k in VA

We hop on the shuttle that takes us to the venue and the bus is full of excitement. Once we pass by runners, I quickly get over my fear and I’m ready to get started. We pass through the Tough Mudder Village which has tents of shops, port-a-potties, a wash and change station for men and women as well as actual Mudder events all around. It was awesome!

We made our way to the start line, got sunscreened up and started stretching. Promptly at 1pm, we’re moved from the corral into another area to get hype. We sing the National Anthem, we kneel with our fellow 1pm Mudders and we promise to help each other out. We’re all ready to get going!

Here is my GoPro video that I filmed mostly of the obstacles:

Featured Obstacles in my YouTube video:

  • Kiss of Mud
  • Hero Carry
  • Skidmarked
  • Devil’s Beard
  • Berlin Walls
  • Texas Hold ‘Em
  • Mud Mile – SO FUN
  • Pyramid Scheme
  • Black Widow (Ours was a special PINK Widow with Pink water!)
  • Everest
  • Block Ness Monster
  • Mudderhorn

There were a few things I missed on the GoPro and the Block Ness Monster is completely black in the video. Mud is hard!

It is impossible to complete many of these events alone. You will need a buddy, ideally 4-5 people. I’m glad I had my sister with me but there were no shortage of people around either. Go in knowing you’re going to need help and so are others around you.

Like Mr. Rogers says, look for the helpers.

Tough Mudder 5k Tips
Mud Mile
Tough Mudder 5k Tips
PINK Black Widow
Tough Mudder 5k Tips

Am I Ready for a Tough Mudder 5k?

I can’t answer that for you but what I can tell you is adrenaline will carry you through and if that doesn’t your fellow Mudders will help you.

You definitely should hit the gym and the trails beforehand.

You are also able to walk around any event you aren’t comfortable doing. I gave one event 3 shots and ended up walking around it after my last attempt. I at least have a goal to work towards next year!

The Tough Mudder 5k is completely untimed too. We did both walking and running when we could! Some of the trails were too muddy to run through for us but there were plenty of people doing it.

Tough Mudder 5k Training for First Timers

If this is your first Tough Mudder, AWESOME! Do as I say: Follow the training plans from the Tough Mudder website. For real!

You’ll need to work everything. You might think you need to work most on your arm strength for some of the events, but ab work is essential to getting the rest of your body up and over any wall standing in front of you. For the Texas Hold ‘Em challenge I was really glad I had done so many squats! My form was on point even though I missed a step.

I did my SWEAT workout in addition to the training plans from the Tough Mudder website. I have a lot of work to do before my next Tough Mudder 5k (and yes I already signed up for one!) but I’m really proud of my work so far.

What to Wear for the Tough Mudder 5k

Well, now I understand why so many men do this obstacle race shirtless.

Thankfully my sister looked all of this up for us but here’s what we wore for our first Tough Mudder race.

Tough Mudder Clothes

Here are the items I wore for my Tough Mudder race:

  • Compression ShortsTHESE are the ones I bought and they are perfect. Size down for compression fit! You’ll want second skin for the obstacles. I also went with a knee length short because it’s thigh rub season and I’m not about that life. So glad I wore knee length!
  • High Impact Sports Bra – You’ll want a high impact sports bra like these if you don’t already own one!
  • Lightweight Tank Top – I wore my tank from my shop!

Be VERY aware that items may stain from the mud. My white sports bra is a lovely shade of light brown now!

Tough Mudder Shoes

Tough Mudder shoes, for me, were something that would be great for running but also something I didn’t spend too much on. I realllllllly did not want to ruin my Brooks but I had an old pair that I usually just wear for walking and I was set on that.

And then my husband who runs an eBay store saw some brand new Nikes in Goodwill while sourcing for $8. These $8 Nikes became my Tough Mudder shoes! At the end of the race there is a place for you to donate your muddy shoes which I did.

My sister used an old pair of sneakers and the mud came out in the laundry!

What Happens After a Tough Mudder

As soon as you’re finished the race, a volunteer puts that sweatband you earned on your head like a crown. No Tough Mudder medals here which going in I was a little bummed over but the sweatband was so worth it in the end. You’ll get a Finisher’s shirt and a chip for 1 free beer. There are also some samples, like bandaids, which I desperately needed!

There is a designated area to rinse off the mud and change into clothes.

Bring with you:

  • A towel
  • Dry shoes – I wore flip flops but would wear dry sneakers next time
  • A bag for your dirty wet muddy clothes
  • Change of Clothes

We wore our new Tough Mudder Finisher’s shirt on the way out like a badge of honor.

Here are a few scrapes and bruises I went home with:

Tough Mudder 5k Tips
Arm scrape from Everest
Tough Mudder 5k Tips
That’s definitely finger prints from someone grabbing and helping me over a wall….
Tough Mudder 5k Tips

Additional Tough Mudder Tips

  • SUNSCREEN! No seriously, WEAR SUNSCREEN. It’s hot, you’ll sweat, and you’ll be thankful you don’t have a sunburn when you’re nursing your muscles the next day.
  • Buy a water hydration backpack! We picked this up on Amazon and it was a LIFESAVER. I drink so much water and it was super hot. It did get caught on the barbed wire during the Kiss of Mud obstacle but otherwise was awesome to have. During any water events you could pop it on the side if you don’t want to take it in with you like we did.
  • Don’t forget your ID! You’ll need this at check-in.
  • Have a spectator! My husband went along for the ride and it was great having him as a photographer when we reached the obstacles around the Tough Mudder Village! But next year he said he’s going for it instead of watching. I love having these photos though!

Ready to sign up for a Tough Mudder? Use my affiliate link to check out which obstacle race is right for you!

Have you done a Tough Mudder before or are you thinking about doing one?

2 thoughts on “Tough Mudder 5k Tips + Recap”

  1. I just registered to do my first Tough Mudder, a 5K here in Florida. I am so excited to do this. I run a lot of 5K and 10K but nothing like this.
    Thanks for your insights.

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