The benefits of hiking for mud runners

Whether you’re an OCR Runner, a seasoned Tough Mudder veteran or experienced trail runner, there’s some great benefits of choosing hiking as an alternative to help you train.

Many OCR and trail running events have varying degrees of off-road terrain. There’s lots of benefits for OCR racers to get outside and train in nature and hiking is no exception. You may consider getting on a treadmill to clock-up the miles, but nothing compares to being outside and experiencing the wilderness.

Top reasons why mud runners & OCR racers should hike:

Hiking will help to build up endurance.

When hiking it’s not very often you’ll be walking miles on flat terrain. Hiking in the wilderness allows you to walk up hills, up mountains, down through valleys and even through lakes or streams. You could be walking for miles and notice a slight incline. The beauty of hiking is your body will adapt to the terrain and this will help to strengthen your calves and leg muscles.

With an obstacle course, you will experience different terrain including varying types of mud ranging from dry dirt to thick, sloppy mud. This is all weather dependant and hiking can help you prepare for an OCR event.

Hiking is a great introduction to trail running.

Running with varied terrain is exciting yet challenging. For many beginners, hiking is a gentler alternative to trail or cross-country running. Not only is hiking a great way to advance towards trail running, but also there’s less impact on the joints compared to running on the concrete pavement.

If you’re fortunate enough to hike or jog through woodland or a forest, you’ll benefit from walking on grass and varying levels of mud and dirt. Although, this has less impact on your feet, it’s vital that your feet land properly. Otherwise, it can be easy to sprain an ankle. With uneven surfaces, your feet are trying to navigate and move through the terrain as safely as possible. Getting experience on rugged terrain will help when taking part in an OCR event.

Hiking often has its own obstacles.

When you’re out hiking it’s likely that you’ll have to jump over fallen trees, jump over streams and maybe even climb over locked farmer’s gates. All these little obstacles are great exercises for things you may face at an obstacle race. As a kid, it was always fun to jump over ditches and climb up trees. Many people get involved in obstacle course races to feel like a kid again. Next time you go hiking or walking through fields or even on the beach, you’ll enjoy finding and overcoming those little obstacles.

James King has competed in multiple OCR events including Europe's Toughest Mudder from 2019 to 2022, multiple mud events, 10k runs and currently for his first marathon. James includes useful tips and experiences about OCR on his blog mudrunlifestyle.com.

James King has competed in multiple OCR events including Europe's Toughest Mudder from 2019 to 2022, multiple mud events, 10k runs and currently for his first marathon. James includes useful tips and experiences about OCR on his blog mudrunlifestyle.com.