How to Prepare for Mud Runs and Obstacle Course Races

A fun challenge that appeals to people of all ages and abilities, mud runs and obstacle course races are an accessible and exciting way to get involved in exercise. Designed to target a range of skill levels to provide a suitable challenge for complete new-comers and long-standing athletes alike, there are countless organised events in the UK every year, with organisers like Tough Mudder and Spartan Race creating increasingly unique courses filled with mud and obstacles of every shape and size.


Whether you’re new to mud runs or have already taken part in some of the best obstacle course races across the country, signing up for your next challenge is a great way to bring a unique twist to your regular exercise routine, or even to motivate yourself to start a new one. No matter your fitness level, however, preparation is key to success. To help coach you through the process of preparing for a mud run, we’ve designed this simple guide which covers everything from obstacle course training suggestions, to advice on the best mud run clothing to wear, so you’ll be ready to face anything when event day comes around. 

What is a mud run?

A mud run or an obstacle course race is, at the heart, a running race. With the wide variety of races on offer in the UK, people are free to choose to face a distance of anywhere between five kilometres and a marathon, with shorter courses often available for children to take part in too. Of course, just like any other organised run, participants can cover the distance of their choice by running, walking or a mix of both in whatever time they can manage - but this is where the similarities stop.


The primary difference between regular runs and mud runs or OCRs is the presence of (often mud-filled) obstacles which should be overcome in order to continue along the course. Spread across the whole length of the course with stretches of clear path to cover in between each, mud runs are known and loved for their water-trenches, muddy pits and mud-covered scalable walls. Some more difficult obstacle course races also add cargo net crawls, monkey bars and rope climbs for added difficulty, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from signing up for their first run as many organisers welcome runners to bypass any obstacle they feel unable to complete.

How do you prepare for a mud run?

Designed to be fun before anything else, mud runs are accessible by everyone and, with enough difficulty to satisfy those looking for a bit of a challenge, they make for a day anyone can enjoy. Whether you’re taking the leap into mud runs for the first time on your own, or have signed up as part of a group activity with work, family or friends, our mud run training guide is here to help ensure you’re ready to face the full course with a smile and a can-do attitude.


  • Practice Running. While first-time mud runners are welcomed regardless of skill or fitness level, it’s always a good idea to be confident with the distance you've signed up for. Whether you’re running all the way or walking sections, build your stamina by running shorter distances, gradually going further with each practice before finally trialling the full distance prior to the day.
  • Train on Rough Terrain. For those who aren’t familiar with the muddy, slippy terrain that is synonymous with mud runs, putting some training in before the day is a good idea. For this, we recommend running on similar surfaces such as long grass, sand and water to get some practice.
  • Have Fun! Training before event day, whether you’re following our advice on how to train for mud run, or prefer to take on your own style of exercise to improve fitness, is a great way to build confidence before the run. Even so, on the day itself, having fun and not taking the race too seriously is the best way to enjoy your first mud run.

How do you prepare for an obstacle race?

A little more physically demanding than a traditional mud run, obstacle course races vary dramatically in their difficulty levels, though there are still plenty of choices for those looking for a fun and accessible challenge. Due to the wide range of skills tested, OCR training requires varied activities and focuses, making it a fun all-rounder that helps boost general health and fitness. To help you design your own obstacle course training plan, we’ve detailed the best exercises to train in according to the most common obstacles included in these types of races.


  • Running. Just as you would for a mud run, practice plenty of running on varying surfaces to ensure you can cover the full distance of your chosen obstacle course race. Stamina is a huge part of successful obstacle course running, after all to tackle any obstacles you’ll need to reach them first.
  • Jumping Obstacles. Challenges that require a considerable amount of muscle power, particularly in your legs, the best way to tackle jumping obstacles is to add sets of high-knee skipping, burpees and box jumps into your OCR training program.
  • Hanging Obstacles. Obstacles like hanging swings and monkey bars take a lot of upper-body and grip strength to complete, so if you think you’ll be facing these classic challenges, it’s best to practice pull-ups, shoulder presses and dead hangs.
  • Crawling Obstacles. One of the most common obstacles faced in both OCR and mud runs, preparing for crawling courses such as large pipes and cargo nets can be done by focusing on core body strength exercises including sit-ups and planks.


While the exercises detailed in our OCR training guide should help you prepare for anything by building your general stamina and encourage a full-body strength focus, you should always remember to check the plan for the event. By doing this there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a list of the obstacles you’ll face, allowing you to tailor your obstacle course training to specific obstacles and terrain. Whatever way you design your OCR training, however, remember to allow plenty of rest days to reduce the risk of overexertion and injury.

What should I wear for a mud run?

With training well underway, one of the most important remaining preparation tasks you’ll have to do before race day is to pick out suitable mud run clothing. While many people will choose to wear old, unwanted clothing on their run so that they can easily throw it away afterwards, this approach is likely to slow you down. Common choices such as cotton t-shirts and joggers may seem like a good option at first, but when they start to absorb water from trenches and get slick and heavy from sticking mud, running, climbing and crawling will start to feel more and more difficult. 


Instead of dressing in old, ruinable tops and bottoms, we recommend investing in some comfortable and durable pieces from Avec Sport’s range of sportswear. Designed to get the best out of you, our men’s, women’s and junior’s training tops, shorts and leggings make perfect mud run clothing and can be used through every training session and, once they’ve been cleaned of mud, any other challenges you might sign up for.

Best mud run clothing

Designed to see you through any activity with confidence, the Focus collection at Avec Sport offers a range of breathable, flexible and durable pieces of sport and training wear; exactly what you need to help you move easily through a mud run or obstacle course race. Available in a range of shades including red, white, navy and black, there’s plenty of choice to satisfy your preferences, though we would recommend opting for darker colourways such as the black men’s Focus Classic jersey and shorts, or the women’s Focus Classic navy blue jersey and shorts, as dark mud and grass stains will be easier to lift.


Created to provide the wearer effortless, sweat-wicking comfort no matter their choice of sport or activity, the Focus Classic jerseys and shorts for both men and women are made from a quick-drying fabric. Particularly well-suited to use as mud run clothing, the non-absorbent material quickly moves sweat, water and mud away from your body, leaving you lightweight and dry throughout the race.

Best mud run gear

While wearing performance-enhancing and machine-washable clothing is a prime concern for mud runners, it’s also important to think practically about the equipment you’ll need on the day. For mud runs and obstacle courses, the top three things you’ll need (beyond your event information and number) are a water bottle, an easily-cleaned bag and a change of clothes. 


At Avec Sport, our multi-purpose sports water bottle holds up to 600ml, giving you access to instant hydration through any workout and, with the grooved screw cap and indented design, carrying and quickly refilling when needed is an easy task. While this takes care of your first necessity, the last two are combined in the cleverly-designed sports holdall bag. Created with two main divided spaces, one accessible from the top and the other from a zip at the base, keeping your clean and muddied clothes separate is easy - saving your car, bus or bike seat from a muddy trip home. The base compartment of the bag is also made from an easy wipe-clean material, making it a good choice for cleaning up any muddy remnants left behind.


Prepare for your mud run or OCR at Avec Sport

Whether you’re taking part in a messy mud run or have signed up for an obstacle course race, face your challenge with confidence by browsing the range of mud run clothing and accessories available at Avec Sport. Designed to be used right from the start of your OCR training through to the event itself and beyond, our sportswear and accessories are durable, comfortable and, beyond anything, a practical choice for any obstacle-jumping runner.