Tough Mudder Prep Part 2 – What to Wear

UPDATE!! We have given this post its own page! You can find it at the top of the page, or by going here. Be sure to check it out for our latest recommendations!


Welcome to part 2 of the preparation.  You can find Part 1, The Arrival, here.  Just fill in the new comers, my team, the Swamp Asses, and I have participated in three Tough Mudder events so far; Tri-State, Austin, and Atlanta.  We have made a few changes in preparation and attire along the way, and I will now document them in the hopes of making the next Tough Mudder as fun and enjoyable for everyone else.  In this post, I will break down the essentials for what to wear on game day.  Also, please post a comment with questions and we'll be more than happy to answer them.  Shall we begin?

I highly recommend that you wear shorts.  It may be chilly, but nothing dries off faster than a pair of light shorts.  Compression pants work well underneath your shorts as well.  Viktor wore a pair compression pants under his shorts for Tri-State, which helped him to stay warm and kept his knees free of cuts.  I however, prefer not to wear them.  I felt much more freedom as a ran and climbed, and I also didn’t have to worry about them filling up with mud.  Your knees will get bruised as you crawl through the tunnels, and as you climb the walls, but you will feel much more comfortable during the 10 miles of running.

I prefer to wear a compression, long sleeve shirt underneath a standard T-Shirt.  The primary purpose of this shirt is to save your arms.  You will be climbing and crawling through almost every obstacle, and these sleeves will make it feel so much better.  Be careful, though.  You won’t want to wear a cotton undershirt, because you will get wet.  And a cotton shirt will only hold the water for longer.  You want a shirt that will dry quicker so that you can keep warm and not have to worry about getting cold.  You might be wondering why I don’t suggest wearing the cold-gear undershirt.  The reason is that you will be running, a lot.  There will be times where you will run for a couple miles without another obstacle, or water.  Now imagine having to run a few miles, in the sun, wearing an extra thick undershirt.  Personally, it is more important to me to dry off and not have to worry about overheating or having to throw away a shirt.

Even if you decide not to wear an undershirt, you will definitely want to wear one that dried quickly.  It can get extremely cold in the water, and you want to get rid of that immediately.  And please, don’t wear a shirt that you expect to get clean again.  This is a mud run, and anything you wear will get muddy.  Extremely muddy.  Be prepared for it to always be muddy.

There are groups of people who choose not to wear a shirt.  I respect this, and have considered it myself.  However, there is one obstacle that has deterred me from this philosophy.  We Mudders know this as “Shock Therapy

Need I say more?

The Shoes
The shoes are easily the most important piece of your uniform.  It is difficult to choose a good shoe because they too will get extremely muddy.  This is made apparent by the mountain of shoes collected at the end of the event.  So what shoes should you wear?  For our first event, two of us chose to try out the Vibram FiveFinger Shoes.  In particular, the KSOs.  We chose the KSOs because they were recommended for running off road, and for water use.  We purchased them, and one of us, Viktor, actually trained for and participated in them.  His biggest complaint was traction.  As I ran straight up the mud hills in my brand new New Balance shoes, he slipped as if running on ice.  He has since chosen to not run in them and hasn’t looked back.  Vibram makes fivefinger shoes with much better traction than the KSOs, which may work a lot better.  But the second issue he had with them is that mud still gets in to them.  Now you are stuck running for miles with mud and sand finding its way between your toes.  Which becomes extremely difficult to clean out because these shoes are form fitting.  My recommendation?  A nice pair of clearance running shoes from Modell’s or Dick’s.  Like I said before, I ran up the side of a mud hill like it was grass, which you can see in the Tri-State video.  You also can not beat the comfort of a new pair of shoes.  I have washed and reused that same pair of sneakers for every event.  Other people have run in throw-away sneakers only to have them actually fall apart during the race.  It is obviously your call, but I liked the comfort and grip that my new pair of shoes provided.

Before every event I tell myself that I will buy a pair of gloves.  Also before every event, I forget to buy a pair of gloves and run without them.  In fact, no one on our team has worn gloves since Tri-State.  The big reason to wear gloves is for the rope obstacles and berlin walls.  It’s tough to say if they are absolutely necessary for these.  I have wanted them on a few, and not needed them on others.  What I can suggest is that if you decide to wear gloves, find a way to carry them when you do not need them; preferably pockets.  I wore gloves for Tri-State and threw them immediately after exiting the water.  They were way to cold to continue wearing and I had no way to carry them.  I have also noticed that gloves will not help you on the monkey bars.  You will notice when you get to them that there is a pile of discarded gloves right at the beginning.  You will also notice that anyone that attempts the monkey bars with gloves on inevitably falls in.  This is likely due to the fact that your gloves will be soaked and therefor will not be able to maintain any grip.  So if you wish to use them, wear pockets.

Most of you will be joining as a team.  I’m also sure you will want to finish as a team.  I suggest you find a way to identify yourselves from the rest of the herd.  We wore matching shirts for two events, and it made it much easier to spot each other.  I saw a few teams wearing matching arm bands which we may try in the next event.  It just saves you time after each obstacle.

That is all I can think of for now.  Please, please, please comment below with questions and suggestions.  I will answer as many as I can before Saturday.  Also, subscribe and look out for the tips and tricks for the actual event containing actual first person footage of each obstacle.  See you Saturday!!

Tough Mudder Preperation – The Arrival

We have come down to the final week before the Tough Mudder Pennsylvania. As we grow nearer, I’m sure many of you are concerned about what to wear, when to show up, or even how to handle the course in general. My team and I have now been to the past three events; Tri-State, Austin, and Atlanta. If you are participating in an upcoming Mudder and would like some day-of tips, read on.

When to Arrive
Parking can get pretty tricky. A lot of these events are off the beaten path a few miles down a single lane road. Of course this means traffic. These events bring in 5000-7000 participants each day. Also consider these participants also bring spectators. They have attendants directing traffic, so this speeds things up a little. In Atlanta, we they charged $10 for parking. There was no advanced notice of this and parking at Tri-State and Austin were free, so come prepared. I suggest allowing about an hour to an hour and a half before your start time. It will take about 10 minutes to walk to the check-in area.

Checking In
You should have gotten an email with a “Death Waiver” that you are suggested to fill out and bring with you in order to save time. They have a table, off to the side, with tablets full of these waivers. I am not suggesting you ignore the waiver. However, I opt to save paper by simply signing this at the event. Estimated time: 2 minutes

You will then need to take this waiver, and your ID, and go to your respective check-in line. They are split up alphabetically by last name. Here, you will receive your runner ID, 4 safety pins, and your bracelet for your free beer(!). At this point, they will direct you to a new line to join. This is the marker line. It is usually backed up a ways, and can take up to 15 minutes just to get through. The sole purpose of this line is to have someone take a marker and use it to write your runner ID number on your leg, arm, and forhead. That is it. Save time, bring a marker. Or better yet, do what we do and walk up to the front table and grab an unused marker. And don’t be selfish. When you are done, hand it off to your fellow comrade, preferably someone towards the back of the line. Note that the reason you need these numbers is so that the photographers can identify you in their pictures.

This is the point in which you want to check bags. Checking bags is free. They will give you a wrist band so that you can come bag and claim your stuff. We had them hold three bags and two sweatshirts for us. This is by no means a one time check in either. We were able to go back and grab something we had forgotten before the race with no issue. That’s it, you are now ready to race. All you have to do at this point is show up to the start line about 10-15 minutes before your start time.

Other Pre-Start Tips
There is no breakfast food before the race. Other events provide oranges, bananas, bagels, etc before the race. This is not one of those events. They will have beer, soda, and food for sale after the event, but nothing you want to eat beforehand.

The check-in and start lines are a bit of a hike from the parking lot. Don’t plan on returning until after the race. We made this mistake at Tri-State.

If you are running late, Don’t Panic. Tough Mudder does not have a way of separating times, nor do they bother. In Atlanta, we realized that the camera memory card was full right at the start line. We turned around and went right back to bag check to fix the problem and simply started in the next event. I am not suggesting that you abuse this. I am simply suggesting that keep this in mind as you are sitting in traffic, 15 minutes before your start time.

Leave your change of clothes at the car. They had a hose at Tri-State right at this finish. Austin had nothing. And Atlanta had a hose tucked away behind first aid. Regardless, the lot is usually pretty empty of people and we were able to change right at are cars with no issue. You can always walk back to get food and drinks and souvenirs.

That is all for this post. Keep an eye out for follow up posts for what to wear and tips and tricks for the course (which will include first-person video). And if you have any requests or questions, please leave them below in the comment section. We look forward to seeing you guys on the course!

Update! Read Part 2, What to Wear

Tough Mudder Georgia

Tough Mudder Georgia Muddercam video is coming soon! There was a lot.. a whole lot of running down there in Georgia and the video is coming along. Look for it by the end of your week. I am looking for a GPS map of the run, so it anyone wore a GPS and has one it would be much appreciated!

Tough Mudder Austin – FINAL CUT – 1/29/2011

The entire track at the Tough Mudder in Austin. As filmed by my helmet cam. The slow parts have been sped up.

Or view the entire, unedited tape, here:

Edited by Viktor B

Filmed by Tyler D (Helmet) and Tiffany T (3rd Person)

UPDATE:  you can find more course information here:


Anti-Flag – Angry Young and Poor
Linkin Park – Faint
Nickelback – Burn It to the Ground
CKY – 96 Quite Bitter Beings
Anti-Flag – I’d tell you but…
Buckcherry – Next to you
Egypt Central – Over and under
The Almost – Say this sooner
Sum 41 – Fat Lip
All-American Rejects – Move Along
The Offspring – Want you Bad
Powerman 5000 – Bombshell
AFI – Girl’s Not Grey

Austin Video is Coming

I know we met a lot of you this weekend and it was a BLAST! The camera worked for the entire run and it is on its way. I will post it as soon as it is done rendering. In the meantime, please send us your pictures and we’ll post them as they come in. See you guys in Atlanta!

Tough Mudder PA details (UPDATE 12/6)

Listen up everyone, the Tough Mudder PA event is apparently filling up fast.  Make sure you sign up soon, we should have an awesome turnout.  Follow this link to sign up for the event.;_id=1392570&team_id=900497

You have to register with first.  Be sure to select 11-20 members, and choose the “Swamp Asses” as your team.  Entry cost is $110 (Before 12/9) if you join our team.  You can also save another $25 if you pledge to raise $150 for the wounded warrior project.  If you do opt-in for this, let me know, and I will share your donations page with anyone I can.

The three Swamp Ass Captains will be running both days of the event, so feel free to join either.

When you’re all signed up, leave a message below and I’ll add you to the page.  Let me know if I missed anything, and don’t forget to follow our feed —>

Tri-State Tough Mudder

Tough Mudder Tri-State Event
See Video, Map, and Obstacle list after the jump.

The Video:

The Map: