While more and more people are becoming mud run regulars, a lot of people who arrive on race day, to tackle the course, are first timers. Not only are they green, with regards to the type of race they are about to encounter, but they are also ignorant on the type of equipment they need, specifically a good pair of shoes.
Mud runs, as you may already know, are races designed (you guessed it!) to get you dirty. You will be required to run through mud, dirt, water, and other types of natural obstacles, as well as manmade ones. You have probably also seen the pictures of the piles of muddy shoes that are stacked up after the race. Many people think that these races destroy your shoes and they can never be used again, so they wear an old pair. This wrong on a lot of levels and could cause an injury during the race.
First things first, if you have not already done so, you need to research and buy a good pair of trail running shoes, at least two weeks, before your race. Trail running shoes are designed to be taken through dirt, gravel, and mud. They are built to protect your toes from protruding roots and rocks, while providing comfort and stability on a dirt path. The good news is that all of the major shoe brands make a trail running shoe line. These shoes also fit into everyone’s budget as they range anywhere from $60 to $150.
If you will be buying a pair of these shoes, for an upcoming mud run, make sure you get them at least two weeks so you will have adequate time to break them in. Like any race, blisters or other irritations, can really impact and limit you on race day.
Cleaning trail running shoes is also very easy. After the race, make sure you remove the shoe’s tongue and clean it separately; hose off the entire shoe, making sure you get most or all of the mud off. The mud that is stuck in the hard to reach places (tread) can be cleaned with a little hand soap and toothbrush. Once rinsed off, place your shoes outside to air dry (do not place in the dryer!). Your shoes should be fine within 24 to 48 hours.
Trail running shoes will also last you through at least 3 to 4 mud runs, per year. If you run a lot, plan on having to buy a new pair, every 6 to 8 months. Checking the tread is a good indicator of when you will need to get new shoes.