Obstacle mud runs and overexertion injuries
“Man dies during Mud Run competition” read the headline of a news website on March 10, 2012. I was in shock when I read the news article. Obstacle mud runs have become a new genre of athletic event. These races range from 5k to 10k trails with obstacles and mud in between. Tough Mudder, Spartan Race, Warrior Dash, Rugged Maniac and Muddy Buddy are a few examples.
As a past participant in both Mud Run and Warrior Dash, I have found that people enjoy the camaraderie and adrenaline rush of these events. Some people make groups and start training six months in advance. These are the ones who take the race very seriously. Others do it just for fun, walking instead of running and completing only the obstacles that they can master. However, after knowing that a man recently died in one of these races makes you wonder about both the security of the event and overexertion injuries that can occur during competition.
What steps could you take in order to avoid injury at these increasingly popular races?
- Train for the race. Even if you are in good shape, follow a training plan that includes exercises imitating the movements that you’ll do at the actual race. In exercise science this principle is known as specificity.
- Warm up and stretch before the race.
- Stay hydrated
- Pace yourself and take breaks when necessary. Stop if you think your body can’t handle it.
- Take advantage of teamwork. Ask your team members to assist you during any obstacle that you find challenging.
- Know your limits
- Communicate often with your teammates. Keep an eye on each other before, during and after each obstacle.
- Know the location of ambulances and medical tents.
So if you find regular running or triathlons boring, maybe obstacle mud races could be perfect for you. Just make sure to train properly, take some safety precautions and have fun!