What should I bring to an Obstacle race? You’ve come up with training circuits in the gym, you’ve run – a lot and you’ve even taken part in boot camps. What else can you do?
On Saturday I will be taking part in Badass Mudder. It seems so long since my first Obstacle Race – Spartan Yorkshire. However I forgot one part to that story, the aftermath – kit wise I prepared very poorly.
Preparation prevents piss poor performance
The night before I stayed at a friend’s house, where we would travel to Ripon together. I packed a light bag as I did not want to be carrying around too much on public transport. Big mistake.
I traveled in my gym shoes which I was also wearing during the race. Because I failed to appreciate how wet and muddy I would get, my shoes were unwearable.
My first punishment for this lack of judgement was walking across a freshly cut farmers field back to my friend’s car. As each thick blade of corn stabbed my feet I knew the journey home would not be fun.
To prevent me getting the train barefoot my friend lent me some sandals – the flimsy ones you get for beach holidays that are held on by a strap between the two largest toes. Not fun when your body is beat up.
If you have never done an obstacle race, learn from my mistake.
What should I take?
Firstly invest in some trail running shoes, not gym shoes or road running shoes. They are expensive (good deals can be found on Ebay or Amazon) but you will thank me for it as you go over uneven ground and mud.
Water resistant clothing is important because you will get wet – charity runners take note. Make sure the clothing is appropriate – during the summer I go for the vest and short look. Races early or late in the season may need some running trousers. Cheap options are available at Sports Direct.
After the race you will have wet clothes and if you are awesome like I me, you will finish before all your friends and may need to have a change of clothes so that you don’t freeze. I bought a cheap vest from Primark so that if the event does not have great cleaning facilities, I don’t feel bad if it gets messed up. Also bring a hoodie, spare underwear and socks. And don’t forget the change of comfortable shoes to wear home…
Bring a towel to wipe down water/mud, this is also handy if there aren’t great changing facilities available to cover up your modesty.
Last time I put my dirty kit in my bag from the Major, it stunk and it took me ages to get rid of the smell of damp, sweaty clothing. Therefore take 2 large plastic bags – one for the kit and one for the shoes.
You’ve signed up, paid, but that isn’t it – make sure to bring change as there may be charges for parking or item storage. Check your e-mail for these costs – it makes thing much easier if you are carrying the correct amount of money. Many races sell merchandise so you also may want to bring larger amounts of cash.
Make sure to printout details from the organisers pre-event e-mail. This contains useful information. Make sure you know where your going – program the location in your sat nav the night before and get back up directions from Google maps. Bring other items the organisers may require such as ID. You don’t want to be stressing before a race because you failed to prepare.
Get some good motivational music to get you in the mood. I like punk rock to pump me up, but as I travel with friends I include hip-hop and items that come under YouTube of the category fitness motivation/motivational music. Let’s be honest, doesn’t a good track make you want to tear the course apart?
Energy bars/snacks/gels/drinks are always useful before/during or after the race. Here is a tip: only have the stuff you have tried before, there is nothing worse than having some freebie given out at the event before the start that leaves a horrible taste in the mouth. Also bring water and I mean lots of it, not just a 500ml bottle, you will need this before and after the race
Finally don’t forget your phone you may need it to find your friends and a camera is handy if you have supporters to get pictures of you.
These are my essentials, but I also have other personal preferences like mints and sunglasses I wish you all the best in your obstacle racing journey, one day we may meet at the finish line.