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13 Tips for a Safe Mud Run

‘Tis the season for mud runs! These events build off the traditional races and are quickly becoming the new craze. With added obstacles and excess amounts of mud, runners of all fitness levels can get out there to enjoy the fun.


Before you hit the ground running, read safety tips for before, during and after the run from Ward McCracken, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore.

Before the race:

  • Wear capris or long shorts that will cover your knees to prevent scraping when crawling in various obstacles.
  • Tie shoelaces tight, but not too tight. The mud acts as suction so tie your laces tight enough to keep them on your feet but not so tight that they cut circulation off.
  • Dress for the weather. Costumes are also fun but the more clothes, the heavier your clothing is and the more slippery everything becomes are when maneuvering through obstacles.
  • Wear a headband, protective eyewear or visor to keep the mud out of the eyes.

During the race:

  • Pace yourself, listen to your body and know when to stop, walk or take a break. This is supposed to be fun! If it’s not fun, you’re missing the point.
  • Observe then execute. It’s okay to watch a few people do an obstacle before choosing the best way to approach it.
  • Don’t be afraid to skip an obstacle. The racing community is very supportive and completely understands if you skip a few obstacles. It is better to ensure safety and finish without injuries.
  • Consider running on the sides of the course. The middle part is where it is the muddiest and most slick. When running through that, there is a chance of rolling an ankle or slipping and pulling a muscle. The edges are the safest bet.
  • Don’t be afraid to walk. Usually mud runs have very uneven terrain, feel free to walk to ensure safety.

After the race:

  • Rinse off as best as you can in showers provided after the race to remove mud and check for scratches.
  • Replenish with an electrolyte beverage! You just exerted yourself with a run and a workout, your body needs to replace the water and salt you just lost.
  • Stretch after the race to help prevent injury to those tight muscles.
  • Take a few days off to allow your body to recover.

If you are unsure if you’re ready to attempt a mud run, talk to your Primary Care Sports Medicine Physician.

What is your best advice for first-time mud runners?