I am two months away from running my third Tough Mudder, and started writing a gear guide to send to my team, but decided it may as well live on my new (old and reborn?) blog. These are my opinions on what has worked for me so far, and what I plan on wearing this year. I followed a top down approach.
I don’t really recommend wearing any sort of hat. If you have long hair you will probably want some sort of headband or elastic to keep it out of your face, other than that it’s just going to get in the way and weigh you down once it’s soaked in water. I wore a headband last year, purely as a fashion statement, it didn’t help me in any way and was eventually tossed.
- Upper Body
What you wear up top will depend a lot on the weather. You are going to get soaked, so whatever you wear, it should be wicking. Do not wear cotton! If it’s going to be very cold I’d recommend a compression base layer, possibly with a wicking shirt over it. Otherwise, just a light wicking shirt, or no shirt at all if you don’t mind getting cut up a bit more. In warm weather the shirt is only going to protect you from the sun and from getting beat up by the obstacles. It will weigh you down.
You may want to wear gloves, but it’s not really necessary. I wore gloves the last 2 times, and might wear them again. They added some grip for some of the obstacles, and allowed me to move barbed wire out of the way to help teammates get past it. They do get kind of heavy and disgusting, so it’s really up to you. If you do wear gloves I recommend getting the Mad Grip Pro Palms, which I actually bought right at the event the first time. I have since cut off the finger which definitely counters some of the negatives of wearing gloves.
- Lower Body
More or less the same rule as for the upper body. Wicking underwear, tight compression pants if it’s cold temperatures, and then shorts that won’t absorb water. Instead of normal wicking/workout gear I usually go for hiking shorts, which will hold up a little better against all the obstacles, but still won’t retain water. Again, you really want to be minimal here. You will get hot and go through water a lot. The less weight, the better.
Do not wear crappy old sneakers that you want to throw out at the end, and do not wear anything that you will have to duct tape to keep on in all the mud. Seriously, the entire race will be a slippery muddy mess, don’t make it harder on yourself by wearing the wrong shoes, or even worse having duct tape. You will have no traction, and you will wipe out. A lot. I’m a minimalist runner, so I wear Vibram FiveFingers, and love every minute of it. I wore KSO Treksports the last 2 years, but upgraded to some Vibram FineFinger Spyridon LSs, it looks like they might be discontinuing those, in which case the Spyridon MRs are basically the same thing. If minimalist shoes aren’t for you I recommend looking at Salomon Speedcross 3s. If you don’t have to wear socks, don’t. Otherwise get thin light socks that won’t retain water. And if you’re getting new shoes make sure you break them in, and run in them beforehand for at least a month or two.
So many possibilities here. The last 2 years I ran with a small CamelBak. They have a lot of stations with water and energy snacks, so this probably isn’t necessary unless you really need to drink every mile or two. I don’t plan on carrying one this year. Other than that, anything else you might bring is probably more for fun than function. Sunglasses, tutus, hats, capes? They’re not going to help, but the might make you look more badass once they’re completely coated in mud. Have fun!