How do I train for a mud run?


“Mud runs and obstacle races challenge you in a different way to a normal run,” writes running coach Matt Buck. “They give you full-body workouts as you tackle the various obstacles. You need to be efficient with your running between obstacles so you have the strength to swim, climb, lift and swing. Added to this you’ll need to work on your trail running technique so you are fast yet efficient on the running sections.

“Some time in the gym and working on core strength will help with the obstacles. Lots of squats, sit-ups and press-ups are a simple place to start and will build up your strength. Try designing your own sprint session that introduces a short sprint section followed by one of the mentioned exercises, then repeat 10 times. Do this at least once a week alongside your other training.”

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What is the likely cause of quad cramps when running technical downhill?

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Your quads take on the most load as each foot hits the ground when running downhill, which will result in cramps if you are not using the correct technique, or if you have not trained specifically to run downhill. 

Running coach Matt Buck ( advises: “You should be running on your toes and taking small steps when descending. Many people over-stride when running downhill, which is dangerous and will cause muscle soreness. Make sure you incorporate downhill sessions into your training, allowing you to build up your quad strength and perfect your technique.”

How do I cure outer foot sole pain?

Podiatrist Colin Papworth says: “It sounds as if it’s your cuboid bone causing the problem. If it isn’t sitting right it causes problems with other foot muscles and lower leg. It happens commonly after an ankle sprain and can appear months or years later. Treatment will probably consist of a podiatrist mobilising the cuboid and talus bones in your foot, and soft tissue massage and stretching. You must definitely try not to go over on your ankle again while cuboid syndrome is healing – Kinesio taping seems to help.”


How can I avoid slowing in ultras?

It can be demoralising as towards the end of a race those tired legs just refuse to keep up with the gang. Here are the pros' top tips:

  • Javed Bhatti discovered mid-ultra fartlek sessions: “Challenge a fellow competitor to 2min at a 5k pace – your muscles and mind will soon be reinvigorated,” he suggests.

  • “Make sure you’ve got your pre and during nutrition nailed,” says Jayson Cavill, “and eat little and often.”

  • “Stick to your race plan,” is Debbie Martin-Constani’s advice, “and don’t get pulled along too fast at the start.”

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Do I eat too many pies and chips to be a distance runner?

We all have a guilty pleasure… pies, pints, cake (mmm, cake)… but are the good things in life not so good for your running? Our panel of experts give us some food for thought.

  • Get natural You don’t have to be a saint but try and maintain a normal, balanced diet – think real unprocessed food, not fads. Debbie Martin-Constani

  • Moderation Everything in moderation is a pretty good principle. I often stop for a proper pub meal halfway through on long training runs. Javed Bhatti

  • Balance I’ve found you get out what you put in and taking care of your body with a balanced diet may give you much better results. Jayson Cavill

  • Fuel Up Fuel in the tank is the key to ultra-running so you need to make sure you have sufficient fuel for your runs. There’s nothing wrong with pie and chips, provided it’s not every night. Jayson Cavill

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