How to tie your shoes/pick the right shoe:
Obviously this is not a drill or movement, but tying your shoes correctly AND having the right type of shoe can be critical to be sure you don’t sacrifice a $100 pair of new shoes you just posted on facebook with #readytorock #gametime underneath.
This is not a time for quick tie laces. Rather good ol standard tie them yourself laces with very little flex/give are your best option. Loop them through every hole in your shoe. Often we leave the holes closest to our ankles open. Double tie them and be sure they are snug at the top.
Due to the ground being super soft, each step when running/walking can cause your heal to sink lower than normal. I experienced this in a Spartan Beast once and almost tore my calf. Each time your heel sinks deeper than normal it is putting tremendous strain and overstretching your calf muscles. This can cause cramping later in the race, a calf/Achilles tear, or even a sprained ankle due to overstretching of the ankle. If you are used to training in a minimalist or “zero drop” shoe, I HIGHLY recommend choosing a race shoe with a 6-8mm heel stack. That may not sound like much but trust me… It’s saved my calves and I am certain it will do the same for you.
How to run/walk:
- Shorten your stride
- Taking long strides on a muddy course is pretty much impossible and can cause you to lose balance and get injured. I suggest taking short choppy steps. If you have ever done the tire drill or ladder drill, that is how you want to run.
- Stand tall
- Just as I mentioned in the high knee drill, keep your chest up and eyes forward. This will also help to keep your balance centered over your hips and lessen your likelihood of falling
- Run in others foot steps
- I have found in a muddy race if I step in others’ footsteps the ground is less “squishy” and I can plant my foot better. Think of this as the runners in front of you clearing the path, or breaking trail. I have found this techniques to be exceptionally useful in every muddy race I’ve done.
Grip strength of Zeus:
After a few hundred, or thousand, of your friends have been on the course the ropes, walls, rocks, etc. will be incredibly muddy and slick. This will require an even stronger grip than you may have anticipated. Just like any obstacle, train for this. Farmer Carries, Dead Hangs, Pull ups, Bucket Carries and more, all done to build strength, but can also be done with wet hands. Simply get your hands wet and a bit slick and go through the sets as normal. I have even put lotion on my hands for these movements. Of course I thoroughly clean them after with a 409 or other disinfectant wipe to degrease the handles. In my mind, whatever it takes to prepare, I will do. This way there is NO surprise on race day.
An Unbreakable Mind:
This last tip may just be the most important of all. You can be as physically strong and prepared as you have ever been in your life but if you are mentally weak you’re going to have a looonng day. Go into a muddy race knowing that you will be slower, it will be harder, your body may hurt worse, and that you will probably face plant in the mud at least once. Instead of thinking about how much it sucks, switch your focus to being grateful that you are healthy, strong, and have the ability to be in the race. Trust me, being mentally strong is a game changer.