Why Distance Runners Should Try a Tough Mudder 5K

By Mark Barroso | May 3, 2018


If you’re a regular 10K or marathon runner, you might think a 5K has little to offer you. Been there, gone beyond that, right? Not so fast. While the idea of running your average 5K may not get your engine racing, Tough Mudder 5K is different. It’s a 3-mile obstacle course event packed with 10 world-class obstacles and challenges that’ll test your toughness. What it isn’t is a competitive race—which is exactly why it could be just the event you’re looking for to change up your regular racing routine. Need more convincing? Here are four reasons why traditional road runners should try a Tough Mudder 5K.



One of the first objections that many marathon runners have to obstacle course racing is that the events are too “extreme.” But Tough Mudder 5K doesn’t have ice or electricity obstacles, since there are only 10 of out of our dozens of Tough Mudder obstacles at these events. And because the distance is just three miles, more experienced road racers might find a Tough Mudder 5K a good way to still fit in running while tapering towards a longer race. Or runners may do one during their “offseason” when their schedules aren’t packed with longer races. Either way, a Tough Mudder 5K is a great starter event for people who are more used to logging miles than slogging through mud.



Super-muscular toned legs? Check. Killer upper body strength? Uh... If your upper body strength training is, well, lacking some muscle, that’s reason enough to sign up for—and start training for—a Tough Mudder 5K. Many obstacles, including Berlin Walls, require you to use muscles that you probably aren't exercising on your regular road runs. Just like bodybuilders or CrossFitters should try more running, runners should try to work on their grip strength and upper body muscular endurance. Runners can improve these attributes by doing rows, heavy bag carries, dumbbell curls, burpees, and more in preparation for Tough Mudder 5K. Get a jump on cross-training with this quick 10-Minute Cardio HIIT Workout:



Some of the Tough Mudder 5K obstacles actually require a team to completed. (See: Happy Ending). Distance runners most likely train and race alone or with other distance runners, but this is an event that your non-marathoner friends/coworkers/family can do with you as part of a team for a unique type of bonding. Tough Mudder 5K evens the playing field among runners and non-runners and makes everyone a first-timer.



We know runners like beer. Sometimes they even drink beer during runs for fun (the beer mile). After conquering a Tough Mudder 5K, Mudders get a free beer, a green finisher headband, performance T-Shirt, access to food vendors, sponsor tents, and games and music at Mudder Village. There’s no party like a Tough Mudder party, especially when compared to the happenings at your local half-marathon where you show up, get your bibs, run, eat a bagel, and then leave. Runners naturally tend to stay in their lane and stick to their loop of putting one foot in front of the other. So challenge yourself with a different kind of run: get off the pavement and into the mud at a Tough Mudder 5K.