tips for your warrior dash, mudathlon or mud run

Tips & Tricks for Your First Mud Run

A race like the Warrior Dash I ran last weekend is different from pretty much any other running race you’ll ever do. It requires some special preparation, some special gear and a special attitude to make it a fun and comfortable day. Since the Warrior Dash and similar events are becoming all the rage, I thought I’d come up with a list of tips that I learned and made my Warrior Dash much more fun. Other Warriors, let me know if there is anything you think I should add.

General Tips

  • Gear check a bag. I’m normally not a gear check kind of person at races, but this is one instance where you will definitely need a bag. Factor in the extra time to check your stuff, you’ll be happy you did. Also, bring a bag you don’t mind getting dirty. Everything will get muddy.
  • Don’t rush. Yes, it is a race, but on my course, they left some of the hardest obstacles until the end. Trust me, you don’t want to be burnt out and have to crawl through 50 feet of mud under barbed wire.
  • Want to take pictures? I took our old point-and-shoot, put it in a zip-top bag and had it in my bra for the whole race. It even made it through the mud pit pretty well. Wiped off a bit of mud and it was good as new. Of course, I can’t guarantee this will work for you, but it did for me!
  • As with all races, hydrate and fuel properly. Because the atmosphere for this race is more fun than competition, you might be tempted to skip your normal pre-race routine of hydrating and eating. Don’t! You’ll be working hard and will need the energy.


  • Wear tight-fitting clothing. Mud is heavy. Heavy pants mean that I saw a whole lot of boy bum crack at the exit of the mud pit. The less you wear, the less mud to cake onto. See how tight my pants are up in that photo? By the end, I could barely keep those up. I saw lots of men wearing just tightly-tied swimtrunks and women in boardshorts and sports bras.
  • Think swimwear. If you aren’t comfortable wearing just swimwear, at least make it your bottom later. Swimsuits dry faster and can work as an under layer that you don’t need to change.
  • Bring gloves. There were quite a few rope obstacles in our course and I wish I would have had gloves! After pulling up your own body weight on a rope a few times, your hands start to get seriously chapped.
  • Bring a second set of clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty. You won’t ever be clean until you get home and take a shower (even after you rinse off) but putting on some cleaner clothes will at least make it to where you aren’t miserable. Bring a pair of old shorts and a ratty t-shirt to throw over your bathing suit after you’ve chucked your race clothes.


  • Don’t expect to keep your shoes. Just go ahead and accept the fact that you are going to need to donate them at the end. Bring your grubbiest, oldest tennis shoes and be happy that they’ll live on another life as something else after they’ve been donated.
  • Tie your shoes tightly. For running, it is generally good to keep your shoes tied loosely because your feet swell. Not this time. If you do that, you’ll lose your shoes. Some people even had duct taped the top of their shoes to their ankles, but I found that tying them very tightly (as in, they almost hurt) was enough to keep them on nice and snug.
  • Bring flip-flops or other easy-to-clean sandals in your gear check bag. One of the first things you’ll want to do after the finish is toss your shoes and socks, and you definitely don’t want to walk around barefoot. Your sandals will get muddy probably, but at least your feet will be covered.

Other Stuff to Bring

  • First aid kit. While you probably won’t sprain your ankle like I did, you probably will get a few small cuts and scrapes on the obstacles. A small first aid kit with wipes and Bandaids will do wonders to make you more comfortable. You can always go to the first aid tent, but I prefer to leave that for serious injuries.
  • Plastic grocery bags or trash bags. If you want to take your clothes home and try to wash them, you can tie them up in plastic bags and put them in your gear check bag without getting everything else muddy.
  • Dark (preferably brown) towel. Most races have a place to rinse off after the fun, but you won’t get “clean”. Bring the towel to help wipe off/dry off after your rinse down. I’d avoid bringing your really nice guest towels.
  • A wet washcloth in a zip-top bag. Again, you probably won’t get to rinse off very long. So a wet washcloth will at least let you get your face and hands clean.
  • Sunscreen. If you are planning on sticking around for a while after the race, slather on the sunscreen. Trust me, a mud-speckled tan is not a good look.
  • Your ID. Want to drink beer afterward? Don’t forget your ID. They’ll be checking.
  • Cash. See above.
  • Sheets and/or towels. Leave these in the car to sit on for your drive home.
  • A good attitude. Everyone was in good spirits and there to lend a helping hand when necessary at my race. There were very few serious competitors and most people were out there just to have fun! Join in. Giggle when you slip and fall in the mud (you will) and give someone a hand if they need help over an obstacle (they will). You’re all trying to get through this together!

With a little preparation, a mud run can be super, duper fun! And heck, if you forget something, just go buy yourself a beer and don’t worry about it. Happy mud running!


  1. says

    Looks like you had a really fun time! I have always wanted to do a Warrior Dash – there’s one somewhat close to me…I just might have to sign up for the next one, even if I can’t get anyone else to participate with me!

  2. says

    There is no harm in having my sneakers donated.At least I help someone. Thanks for some tips, would love to apply them for my mud runs. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. Danielle says

    AWESOME tips!! My first Warrior Dash is this weekend with three friends. I’m getting them pumped and have sent them all links to your list… if their not prepared it’s their fault, right!?! Thanks again for the info!

  4. Laura says

    Thanks for the advice–I used all of it when I completed a mudathelon…without your advice about shorts with drawstrings my husband would have been flashing his rear end for sure!

  5. Nikki says

    Thanks so much for you advice! My family is doing the warrior dash today at 3pm in Charlotte NC! I just wrote down a bunch of your tips and plan on using them all! Thanks for posting them,love your photos :)

  6. Lora Smiley says

    Thanks so much for the tips- they will come in handy tonight as I prepare for the 8:30am wave tommorow! It’s my first DW and I’m pumped…slightly nevous, but pumped!

  7. m says

    I am running tomorrow in Tulsa; thanks for the helpful info! I was surprised the Warrior Dash site did not have more of this info, as it seems that it will help tremendously!

  8. says

    Doing the Warrior Dash tomorrow outside of St. Louis…..sooo excited! I have been sending the link to these thoughtful tips and your wonderful advice to all those participating with us.


  9. Rob says

    Just started training for the WD in Florida on 1/21/12. Running on dirt (not roads) one day and doing the training from the WD website on odd days. Your tips on what to bring and how to dress are awesome, but I’m still looking for a specific tip…I wear glasses (legally blind without them), what should I do?


    • Cassie says

      I wore my contacts. I think glasses would be rough. Maybe bring a second pair in your gear check bag and some wet wipes in your pockets to clean the ones you wear during the race. Good luck!

      • Nancy Ferguson says

        I have a pair of tinted prescription swim goggles. I use them for swimming, kayaking,even gardening and biking – they keep the dirt and sweat out of my eyes!

  10. Lacey says

    Hey! Great tips! These are going to come in very handy in the Mississippi WD this Saturday. Just wondering…..what kind of beer do they have??

  11. Paige says

    I’m doing my first WD tomorrow (4/21/12) in Roanoke, TX. I am PSYCHED!! Thank you so much for the mucho helpful info. Question, do the beers at the end of the race come in one of those KICK ASS mugs like in your photo?

    • Cassie says

      No, those mugs were two beers, plus a few dollars. So you could take your chip and put it towards it and then just pay for the second beer and mug. We really wanted the mugs. ๐Ÿ˜›

  12. says

    THIS IS SO HELPFUL! I’m doing the Warrior Dash tomorrow in Mississippi and I was NOT thinking about the things you mentioned. Great post! Thanks so much!

  13. denise says

    i did the warrior dash last december and all your tips applied to my experience…a friend sent us a link to your blog cause we are doing the 10K down and dirty mud run in miami this sunday…little nervous about the 10k part but i’m really looking forward to it…great list..thanks again…

  14. Holly says

    Thank-you for the advice, I’m doing my 1st Warrior Dash this Saturday and am pretty nervous about it!!!! Thanks so much for posting!!

  15. Gloria says

    I’m doing my first Warrior Dash this coming Sunday. I wear contacts, and I’m a bit nervous about losing them (esp on that Hard Rain obstacle). Would wearing goggles help or would they be a bother? Thanks!

    • Cassie says

      If you wore them the whole time, goggles would get super crusted in mud and dirt, so I figure they’d be annoying. But maybe taking a small pair to wear during just that obstacle would work. For what it’s worth, I wore contacts (with sunglasses over them) with no issues.

  16. leslie says

    I am running my first Warrior Dash(Kentucky)with a friend on Saturday. I am really excited…….because it’s just for fun—not worried about time. Thanks for posting this, it’s a great reference.

  17. Anna f says

    Thank you for this! My first warrior dash on Saturday and I’m excited and nervous! Knowing what to expect and what gear to have helps a ton!

  18. says

    Love all the tips and are right on point. One thing I will say, if your planning on “running” it, you might want to take your foot wear a bit more serious otherwise you will be sorry after. Vibrams are easy to clean but train with them awhile before doing them. Or get a good pair of light weight runners/cross trainers you wont mind donating at the end.

  19. Nancy Ferguson says

    Putting on my MD hat for a moment here regarding shoes with the individual toes – I have seen several cases of ruptured achilles tendon in women runners who are not accustomed to running in this type of footwear or have overtrained with their new shoes too close to an event without proper conditioning. My own preference is to train in a newer pair of runners the same or similar to a retired pair that I will use to mud. We all have our own methods and habits – if it works for you, by sll means DO IT!

  20. Toni says

    Do you reccomend putting your change of clothes in the gear check? I hear that the busses from race to parking lot are filled with mud by noon? I’m not overly worried about getting a second set of clothes muddy but wondering about the car ride home.

    • Cassie says

      I never actually rode the bus (just walked back to my car), so I’m not sure how the bus trip is. If you are just worried about protecting your car, just keep a sheet in the car to cover up your seats. :)

      • Nancy Ferguson says

        I solved the muddy car seat issue by buying one of those seat covers they sell for dogs. Quick on and off with velcro around th headrest – waterproof too.

  21. says

    Cassie, Great tips! My friends and I completed our first mudrun (Dirty Dash) on Saturday, and your tips really helped us get prepared! I added a link to this post on my own blog posting about the Dash. Check it out if you get a chance!

  22. Colleen G says

    Luckily I thought of most of yur tips at my Warrior Dash, but I really like the camera and wet washcloth ideas. And next year I plan to get some cleats at a re-sale shop for getting through the muddy paths. Also something I learned- we raced at a later time and the whole course was all mud, you could barely walk without falling so next time we’ll choose an early start time.

  23. says

    These are really awesome tips for mud runs, thanks for sharing! Bringing garbage bags and old towels is particularly useful for after the mud run if you don’t want to get your car all muddy!

  24. Tenesha says

    Hi, im doing the mud run in Columbia this weekend and i was wondering if the mud would wash out of swimming trunks?

    • Cassie says

      All my clothes made it through just fine (after a long trip in the washing machine). But I think it depends on each individual clothing item. I definitely wouldn’t wear your best pair!

  25. Shanni says

    Loved your blog! Doing my first Survivor Mud Run tomorrow. Gonna rock this post-baby body in some tight clothes and have a good time!

  26. Bob says

    So….you did the “mudathalon” correct? I know the booze cost money after the race, is there also a charge for the food? Thanks for posting.

  27. Steve says

    I’m doing my first worior dash on 7/20/13 in Bonnie like Washington I’m a guy and my costume is going to be a sports bra with fake boobs and bikini bottoms and some make up

  28. Loren spears says

    Thanks for the great tips I’m doing my first warrior dash this week end
    I also thought about drilling some holes in the bottom of my shoes so they don’t hold water…

  29. Angela says

    I bought two tickets for my 14 and 18 year olds who are now unable to go. I never transferred the tickets but I would like someone to get to use them. The email I got said to bring ID for packet pick up. Can I pick up all the packets and use the ones for my kids for friends? The 14 year old doesn’t have an ID either way….

  30. Kay says

    I am doing my first Warrior Dash on Aug 1, 2015. I am a larger and still somewhat overweight woman, 56 yrs old. I work out – both cardio and lifting – at least 6 days a week, so I know I am strong. I am nervous that everyone else will be so fit and thin, that I won’t be able to keep up. But I am doing this to challenge myself. Hope I make it. Thanks so much for these tips!

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