How to train for a mud race

Young man, mud races are some of the funniest event you can attend. More than meeting tons of sporty individuals, it’s where you can show how much training paid off.

Hint: by hitting the gym you are already ahead of most of the competition.

Now, these races are generally complex. Featuring 20+ obstacles you’ll need to cross to pass the finish line. More, these events require you to run and that’s something most young men training at the gym aren’t great at.

Yannick Naborraid 2019 – 13km, 20+ obstacles

Today we are tackling this issue. I’ll tell you exactly how to train for your next mud race – think of it as a Spartan Race. All these races share different name. But they all put water and mud obstacle along the way. Making sure you are wet and muddy by the middle of the race.

For us, gym trainers the hardest part is building up endurance. Lifting heavy weights do not give us enough stamina to run a 20km without preparation. However, hitting the gym regularly gets your body to adapt much quicker to new situations.

An average Joe would need to train a lot to cross a 13km race! You’ll only need to give it a few sessions before it becomes easier than breathing – perk of being physically fit.

The obstacles? Most of them will be super easy for you to pass them – again assuming you lift steadily. They require literally no stamina but high strength in your whole body. We will touch them at the end of this article.

Running as a weightlifter

Weight lifting helps you do thousands activity better than everything else. But when it comes to stamina related stuff, your weight becomes a disadvantage. Biking, running… ALL champions of these disciplines don’t weight much. They all have visible abs, very low body fat. Except they don’t have our 20kg + of muscles. So, they are lighter and designed for endurance more than us.

However, when it comes to physical obstacle and using high level of strength, they are screwed. Monkey bars? Hopefully they are light. Otherwise they would have trouble crossing these obstacles.

To be fair with you, on my wave we were 350 people. I finished #2 and the first man? He weighed no more than 50kg. Super light, easier to run.

We are weightlifters and are heavier than your average runner… Which means we can take advantage on obstacles demanding high level of strength but should never fall behind when running.

Then weight is added to you depending on your outfit and the mud thrown at you. My biggest mistake was to take a jogging made of cotton. It was full of water and I weighed 4kg+ during the entire run because it was heavy. Take a short my friend!

To cross the distance of your race, you need high level of stamina in the running realm – believe me, stamina in other discipline isn’t transferable. I did a mountain biking race and I’m biking a lot. It doesn’t translate into me being great at endurance at all. While it sure as hell help with my breathing, the muscles used aren’t the same.

If you want to run, you’ve got to train for running. Not biking. Not swimming. Not weight lifting.

Which is the major mistake young men going into these races make. They believe that because they trained hard at the gym – true – they developed their muscle enough to run like a running legend. It’s completely wrong.

Training in the gym boost your muscle growth and adds another layer of adaptability to your body. Yes, if you’re lifting weights it will be easier for you to get good at running. You’ll get performance gains easier than someone who practice no sport/unrelated activity.

Train for the distance

So, you must run to get better and running – even with your improved adaptability skills due to weight lifting.

And this means being able to crush the distance you must run.

That’s you crossing the finish line, being #1 with no one behind you. Be proud!

I know many people who went into the course not knowing how many kilometers they can run. They trained to run 6km while the goal was to reach 13km. Eventually they managed to finish the race. However, they walked at the end…

If you’re in for performance – grabbing a great time, finishing #1… You must train for the distance and even more. Being able to run 20km while racing 13km builds an edge most runners don’t have. They’ll train just enough to cross the finish line. No more. Be that young man going further.

You should at least have 10 running sessions before the D day. Otherwise your body won’t be ready to handle so much stress at once – hitting the gym isn’t running!

Get the distance right as early as possible. Once you are hitting it, you can start to track the time it takes you to run the distance. The faster, the better.

And while some gym exercises translate very well into running – deadlifts and squats do! They are still different and only enhance your sprinting abilities. Which isn’t that useful in a long-distance race.

Replace half of your weightlifting sessions with running sessions as soon as 2 months prior the race.

Most of your competitors won’t do this. Their body will have no clue about what it feels to run long distance while you’ll be at ease. This makes sure you are ready to run the distance.

Quick tip: Don’t train the day before the race. Training should already be done BEFORE. Otherwise? It’s too late. If you can run the distance – and have already improved your time… You are ready for the race.

Jumping over obstacles

Weightlifters shine at passing obstacles.

That’s where you’ll jump over the competition. Most people train for these events like regular races. They can run the distance. But have no clue about the obstacle part of the game.

Practicing calisthenics and weightlifting will help you wreck the obstacles.

Before moving further, you should define which obstacle you’ll face. Most of mine where related to legs strength, I had to climb piles of tires, some wooden structure… It was all about legs strength which is already used during the race – running.

So, if you’ve got the same obstacle, you should aim to strengthen your legs as much as possible. This include having gym legs workout. I know, we all hate this one. But if you really want to be #1 in the race, you’ve got to build as much advantages as you can!

Having the basics of calisthenics in mind – and having practiced it – is a huge bonus as you’ll be more mobile and know how to climb stuff. And understand how your body works – at least more than your competitors.

Spartan Race advice: You must be able to do 30 burpees right after running. It’s the penalty you get if you can’t pass an obstacle. And it’s a wonderful way to train your cardio. Master your burpees if you’re in for a spartan race


High protein, high fat. Low carbs – Yes, I’m biased !

Only a handful of runners follow these guidelines. They are all relying on high carb to replenish their muscle glycogen post run. If you’ve been following a diet near keto, you won’t need a lot of carbs. Keep the numbers low while maxing out on protein – muscle growth – and fat – energy.

If you’ve never followed our get good-looking diet, you can keep your carbs.

Eating right after a training is how you improve your performance – yes, just like when you lift weights. I suggest you eat an omelet or some peanut butter pancakes to get stronger.

Your body will be in a stressful situation during the run – and you’ll lose plenty’o water by running. Especially if there’s no place you can drink during the race. Most mud races – even Spartan races – have some stands where you can get water and food during the run.

I suggest you to only drink water.

Eating while running is totally useless. Better eat when it’s done rather than mid race.

Stop reading. Go Training!