It’s race morning, your stomach is full of butterflies, and all you can think about is how you’re going to get through Kiss of Mud without losing patches of hair to barbed wire. The last thing you’re probably thinking about is what you actually need to bring with you. We got your back Mudder Nation. Here’s your checklist of everything you’ll need to bring to a Tough Mudder event in order to start—and finish—like a boss.
1. A Reusable Water Bottle
Starting a race dehydrated is akin to wearing a weight vest on a run—it makes everything harder. A lack of proper fluids makes your heart pump harder as it moves thicker blood around your body. Staying hydrated before, during, and after your run is key. You’ll want to show up hydrated and have a reusable water bottle with you. You can also rely on water stations through the course.
Keep a stainless steel or padded glass water bottle beside your bed the night before, and aim to drink 12-16 oz. in the morning before your race begins. For a boost of freshness, try adding a squeeze of lemon or a few chunks of raw ginger to ease any queasiness you might be experiencing.
2. Anti-Chafe Cream
There’s nothing worse than taking off your shoes and finding blisters between your toes—until you take off your shorts and find a bright red rash between your legs. Chafing is, unfortunately, an all-too-common race injury. Applying an anti-chafe cream is a must-do before beginning a race. You can find a variety of them available at your local sporting goods store. Apply in your groin region, under bra straps, and even on your nipples to avoid finishing with blood stains (really, this can happen). Trust us: add this to your must-have gear on event day and apply it right before your race.
3. Trail Shoes
Your favorite sneakers probably won’t cut it for your Tough Mudder event. Why? Because they likely lack traction, protection, and drainage. Traction is necessary for events that require off-trail running and muddy conditions. Drainage is a must if you’re hoping to get through water obstacles with your shoes intact.
4. Change of Clothing + Sandals
After you finish your event, you’re going to want to change into clean, dry clothes and ditch your wet, dirty sneaks. You’ll have a chance to rinse off and change after your run, so it’s a good idea to bring a plastic bag for your muddy clothes. We suggest sandals and clean clothes to change into and help you enjoy that hard-earned finish beer.
5. Pre, During, and Post-Race Fuel
Breakfast is important, but so is the food you eat before, during, and after your event. If you think you’ll be out on the course for longer than 90 minutes, plan to eat. Consuming 200-300 calories per hour, depending on your body weight, is pretty standard, but it can be helpful to eat 100 calories of easily digestible carbs 30 minutes to one hour before your Tough Mudder event begins. Post-race, aim to consume a balanced meal or snack of proteins and carbs to refuel. While most events have a bevy of food options, always pack a few snacks to be on the safe side. Who knows when post-race hunger will strike?
Gloves are a great addition to your gear bag. Along with keeping your fingers functioning in cold water, gloves can often help you clamber up and over Pyramid Scheme or hold tight to a fellow Mudder’s hand on Everest 2.0. Look for gloves with palm and even finger padding for extra durability.
A sunburn doesn’t look good on anybody, and along with being harmful to your skin, it can create incredibly sore muscles, meaning less time recovering and training and more time wishing you had slathered some on before your event. Look for sport-specific formulations that won’t run or sting your eyes, and be sure to reapply while you’re on the course—especially if you’re going in and out of water obstacles.
8. ID + Waivers
There’s nothing worse than parking, hiking down the registration tent, and realizing you forgot your ID in the car (or worse, at home) just as the volunteer asks you for it. Make sure you pack your photo ID in your gear bag the night before, along with any documents you need to have signed.
9. Your Team
Be sure to gather your friends, it is way more fun than going alone! The Tough Mudder experience is the perfect team building activity as you help each other up and through the obstacles while sometimes getting a good laugh out of it. Get your group chat going and do not forget the perfect team name.
10. A Positive Attitude
Of all the things to pack into your gear bag, this might be the cheesiest. But, there’s a real advantage to having a positive attitude out on course. Cheer on your fellow Mudders, help each other through Block Ness Monster, and thank the volunteers. Focusing nervous energy or apprehension about certain obstacles won’t help you crush the course, so smile, relax, and remember why you signed up in the first place.
Bonus: Pack your gear bag the night before! Rather than scramble in the early hours of your race morning. Arrange your gear in a durable waterproof bag and sleep well, knowing you’re ready for your Tough Mudder event.