Get There Ahead of Time
Most popular mud races attract thousands of racers. And when you try to squeeze thousands of people into a relatively small space, there are inevitably long lines to park, sign-in and check gear. There are plenty of horror stories about how long people had to wait to park, and if you look at mud run reviews, long lines tend to be the number one thing people complain about. So expect that and plan to arrive a few hours before your race and enjoy warming up, previewing the course, and taking some pictures. Plenty of events will let you race early if there is room.
Get Warmed Up
You already know that warming up helps you avoid injury, but it also improves your performance. If it’s important to you to reach your peak performance, you need to spend at least twelve minutes prior to the race jogging and maybe doing a few short sprints. Before you hit the twelve-minute mark, you will not have maximal blood flow to your muscles and many of the capillaries in your muscles won’t have opened yet. Until these things happen, you won’t be able to put forth your best performance in the race.
Position Yourself Well
The starting lines in some races can have upwards of 600 people, and most of them will start out at a faster pace than they can maintain for the whole race. If you are running a race competitively, then work your way to the front and be ready for the quick pace that many will start at but few will continue. If you are hoping for a competitive time, it is helpful to beat the masses to the first obstacle or two, or you might lose some time waiting in line for the initial obstacles.
If finishing with a competitive time is not important to you, then let the sprinters race ahead and wave to them when you pass them later. This is especially the right strategy for you if you feel at all apprehensive about the course or the first few obstacles. It is easy to feel pressured (although you shouldn’t) when there are long lines and you know that people behind you are raring at the bit to be on their way. By starting at a relaxed pace at the start, you’ll be among people who aren’t as competitive when you do the initial obstacles.
Obstacle course race designers intentionally use obstacles that will trigger anxiety in many of the contestants, so a big part of being successful is managing your fear. You usually won’t know the specific obstacles that you will be doing until you see them, so our anxiety is easily triggered. Your body wants you to avoid danger, and it will of course send the message that the fire jump will hurt you. But rather than thinking about the danger, you should observe other participants and imagine yourself getting over that jump safely.