By: Emily Metzloff
Obstacle course races, AKA Mud Runs, have quickly become a permanent fixture in the fitness world. This year, more than two million Americans will pay to wade through mud pits, climb over cargo nets and crawl through drainage pipes. If you’ve never tried one, the whole thing might seem downright bizarre. But here are the top eight reasons why you might just become a junkie like millions of others have.
1) Get Out of a Rut
It’s easy to plateau and lose motivation if your workouts look the same week after week. If you need help taking your workouts to the next level, one of the best things you can do is shake things up a little. Adding small bursts of intensity to your run with monkey bars, stairs, or climbing can have tremendous benefits for your anaerobic strength and endurance.
2) Give Some Attention to Your Upper Body
If you’re like a lot of runners out there, you have legs of steel, but nobody would think of you first if they needed help opening a jar or moving a couch. Because so many obstacles in mud runs require upper body strength, mud runs are a great reason to round out your workouts with some resistance activities that hit your whole body.
3) Choose Your Difficulty Level
There are well over 500 mud runs to choose from in the US, so whether you want a marathon-level event or a short 5k event, you can find an event to give you an appropriate challenge. There are also competitive timed events with cash prizes as well as un-timed, non-competitive events.
4) Get Your Non-Running Friends on Board
Mud runs attract a wider cross section of people with their fun and novel element. So if you’ve been trying without much success to recruit training buddies or racing buddies, you might have better luck if you lure them with the bouncy houses, mud pits and mazes. And don’t forget to tell them about the free beer at the finish line of most races!
Everything is more fun in a super hero outfit or neon face paint. One of the most entertaining parts of a mud run is watching people attempt to run through mud pits or scale walls with silly costumes. Express your individuality with a wacky costume or generate some team spirit with some goofy uniforms.
Nothing will get you a PR like the added adrenaline of having to outrun zombies. Themed mud runs are becoming increasingly popular these days, and many of them pit the runners against a common enemy, such as zombies or prison guards, who chase you and steal your health flags before you can reach the finish line safely.
Whether you run with a team or on your own, mud runs foster a sense of camaraderie with your fellow runners. First of all it’s impossible not to share a grin as you plow through an ice bath or bounce down a muddy inflatable slide. Second of all, a lot of obstacles require teamwork to get across, and helping out brings participants together, whether they started the race together or not.
8) Cool Facebook Status Updates
As much as we all like reading our friends’ latest running times/mileage on Facebook, running pictures and posts get a bit monotonous. But pictures of you sliding down a mud-covered slip-in-slide in a tutu? That’ll never get old.
For more information check out http://www.mudrunninghq.com/