Massy Arias is a CELSIUS brand partner and certified personal trainer who says running the Lake Tahoe Tough Mudder was one of the most mentally and physically challenging things she’s ever done. The weather ranged from hot to freezing as she climbed the mountain, and she’s happy she pushed herself to the finish line.
If you’re about to head off on your first Tough Mudder, you’re probably asking yourself a million questions about what last-minute prepping you can do before this epic endurance event. Never fear: I’ve got you, and you got this!
Here’s my crunch-time advice for the fuel, gear, and stamina-building tools that will help you crush one of the toughest—and biggest challenges—I have ever faced.
When to Start Carb Loading
Before big OCR events, you need to properly hydrate and supply your body with good energy sources. You’ve been fueling up with lots of protein and nutrient-rich foods during your training, right? Good! Now, two days prior to the race, start carb loading.
If you haven’t heard the term, it simply means eating enough carb-heavy foods so you’ll store glycogen to use as energy later—in this case, while crushing that Mudder course. During digestion, carbohydrates are broken down into sugars and stored in your muscles and liver for energy use. A good rule to follow for an OCR event is to increase your carbohydrate intake by 8 to 10 grams per kilogram of your body weight.
As you increase your carb intake, your training should decrease, by the way. Rest up for those two days, so you are ready to perform at your best come event day!
What to Wear on Course
Sure, the weather and terrain at your event will affect some of your gear decisions, but I’ve learned a few things that apply no matter what.
You will be getting wet. Unless the weather is super cold, wear dry-fit biker shorts. They are long enough to protect your thighs from ropes, walls, and whatever else the course throws at you, but thin enough to help you dry off faster. (Some people also choose to wear knee-high socks and light elbow and knee pads for extra protection.)
Your underwear will matter. Dry-fit clothes don’t help much if you’re wearing cotton underwear. You’ll be chafing and uncomfortable! It may sound funny, but bathing trunks or a bikini bottom are your best options.
On top, a short-sleeve dry-fit shirt is optimal. If you’re worried about cuts and scrapes, then go with a long-sleeve dry-fit shirt. And anyone with breasts, don’t forget a supportive sports bra!
For your feet, I recommend trail shoes. Traditionally, they have great grip, breathe well and provide ankle support.
How to Fuel Up on Event Day
About three to four hours prior to your start time, eat a solid meal including complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. For a pre-course beverage, I recommend CELSIUS Fitness Drinks, which happen to be the Official Energy Drink Sponsor of Tough Mudder. This healthy functional fitness drink will provide you the boost you need to complete the race, with no energy crash. On top of all that, I love the variety of flavors!
Traditional energy drinks can contain large amounts of sugar and/or caffeine. While they may boost your adrenaline, dopamine, and insulin levels (temporarily), when the sugar leaves your body, your hormone levels normalize, and this causes the fatigue known as “The Crash.” CELSIUS has no sugar and contains a variety of vitamins and minerals to improve muscle contractions and blood flow to our muscles as well as accelerate metabolism, burn body fat, and provide healthy energy.
Avoid Bonking on Course
Staying super hydrated while on course is a huge must-do. When I ran the course, I used a light Camel water-bottle backpack of iced water infused with a few servings of electrolytes to prevent cramping, fight fatigue, and keep my body from dehydrating. This is important as dehydration can hinder performance and causing injury and overheating.
There will be snacks and water stations throughout the race, including Powerup stations by CELSIUS. Stay away from snacks high in fat, as this single macronutrient takes the longest to digest, delaying fluid and carbohydrates from reaching those hard-working muscles. Instead, go for protein drinks that are low in fat and fruits if they are available.
Good luck! You are going to do amazing!