8 Tips for Running in Mud: How to Deal With Muddy Conditions
Running in mud. Some runners love it, others hate it. Either way, if you encounter some of the squelchy stuff out on the trails, up in the mountains, or on your local park run in the pouring rain, it helps if you know what you're doing.
The good news is that there are a few muddy running techniques that can help you make quick work of even the messiest conditions. There are also running shoes that you can wear to make your life a lot easier. Stay tuned to this quick ASICS guide to learn how to run in mud.
1. Shorten your stride
If you take just one thing from this guide, let it be this. If you're faced with the prospect of running in mud, then always shorten your stride. That will help to keep you more stable and engage more of the tread on your running shoes. But a shorter stride doesn't necessarily mean less speed. You can increase your cadence (stride frequency) to keep up the pace, before reverting to your usual stride pattern once you're clear of the mud.
2. Strengthen your calves
With all that gloopy, sticky mud desperately trying to hang on to you, you want strong, powerful calves that can propel you forward. Building up your calf muscles before a muddy race is easy enough. Doing three sets of 15 standing calf raises each morning and evening will help you break free.
3. Get the right shoes for running in mud
If you live anywhere that gets a good amount of rain and you have access to trails, you should think very seriously about buying running shoes that can handle all of that mud. If you wear your usual running shoes out in muddy conditions, you'll quickly realise that they're not up to the job.
The answer is to buy trail running shoes, but not all trail running shoes are suited to muddy conditions. Specifically, you should look for trail running shoes that have:
- Durable outers - There can be stones, sticks and other debris in the mud, so look for shoes with a durable outer that will not mark, damage or rip easily.
- Large bottom treads - You'll need all the grip you can get, so look for shoes with excellent bottom treads.
- Waterproof - Where there's mud, there's also usually plenty of water. When you're looking for the best shoes for running in mud and water, making sure they're waterproof is essential.
- Tough laces and eyelids - All that mud will inevitably cake on and dry, so look for trail running shoes with tough laces and eyelids that can withstand vigorous brushing without being damaged.
4. Power through the muddy sections
If you're running in the mud, then you need to embrace it. Trying to run around the worse sections of mud will increase the risk of slips and falls. It also breaks one of the cardinal rules of trail running by increasing erosion and widening the trail. You're not going to stay dry or clean whatever you do, so stay on the trail and power on through.
5. Wear appropriate clothes
Your feet and lower legs are going to get wet and muddy, but you can still keep the rest of your body warm and dry. Waterproof running jackets that you can put on and take off according to the conditions will protect your top half. Running tops that dry quickly and wick moisture away from the body are another must buy.
6. Take a change of clothes
The last thing you want after running in mud is to climb into your beautifully clean car. Taking a change of clothes that you can slip on quickly will greatly improve your comfort and protect your car's interior on the way home.
7. Always run safely
Running in muddy conditions can be great fun but it's also important to take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe. You should always take the time to assess a trail before you head off. If the conditions in the vicinity are extremely muddy then the trail may not be passable. In that case, consider hitting bridal paths that are likely to be more accessible and less dangerous than singletrack trails.
8. Don't wear white socks
Before heading off on a muddy trail run, spare a thought for your poor old running socks. If you wear white running socks, there's a good chance that they'll never be white again, so always opt for black.