Nutrition before and during Tough Mudder

- Mudder Guide: Chapter 5.4 -

What should I eat the last few days before Tough Mudder?

Many people wonder what they should eat before Tough Mudder. Some are trying to squeeze out the last few percent, others are trying to calm their guilty conscience by at least starting with a perfect energy balance.

Whatever your intention might be – take it easy. This isn’t rocket science.

First of all you have to know that, while Tough Mudder is exhausting, the human body can easily handle even much harder workloads. As long as you’re at least somewhat fit, a 12-mile run can’t exhaust all your energy reserves.

Nonetheless, there are a few basic rules you should adhere to. Then, everything will be a lot easier for your body.

Most importantly, you need to fill your carbohydrate depots. You do not have to eat mountains of pasta; that wouldn’t help you. Normal sized portions are easily enough to fill your Glycogen depots quickly.

Tough Mudder: One day before the start, eat a lot of carbs.
Fill up on carbs with pasta.

Two to three days before the day, focus on eating less fats and more carbohydrates, for example pasta, potatoes, whole grain products, etc. This way, you will have enough carbohydrates and therefore enough energy stored.

What should I eat for breakfast?

Don’t attack Tough Mudder on an empty stomach. Ideally, you’d have a small breakfast about three hours prior to the start.

This time, stay away from milk and whole grain products, though, as they take long to digest and plague your stomach for hours.

Before you attack Tough Mudder, eat something small.
Before the start, have breakfast.

Eat buns with honey or marmalade instead. Normally, none of these product should be on your diet, but since they deliver quick energy, they’re a good solution for this day.

A little later, you can eat one or two bananas or power bars. Supplements of any kind, on the other hand, won’t help you.

What should I drink?

One to two days prior to the race, stay away from alcohol. You can’t go wrong with water. Ideally, you’d be drinking a water high in sodium (>400mg per liter). This will help you replace the salt you’ll sweat out during the race.

If you don’t like pure water, go for a fruit spritzer.

Drink half a liter of water 15-20 minutes prior to warm up. It’ll help you get your water balance in order. During the race, you’re likely to sweat out the water you drank before warm up.

Tough Mudder: Before the start, drink water.
Make sure to stay hydrated before the start.

If you try to fill up your tank too early, the water will find other ways out of your body. Don’t worry, though: There are plenty of porta potties at the location and at least at one point on the course.

During the race, there are multiple service stations offering water and power bars. As long you eat and drink in moderation, your energy balance will stay exactly where it needs to be.

After you’ve crossed the finish line, you’ll get a cold beer. After all the hardship, you’ve earned that. Enjoy the reward you deserve!

Tough Mudder: After the run, the finishers get their finisher headband and a cold beer
After the run, mudders get their well-earned beer
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