What Types of Mud Runs Are Good For Beginners And Higher Levels?

Mud runs come in different types of difficulty levels. You never want to be a beginner that ends up on one that’s too tough to beat and at the same time, you never want to be at a higher level and on a course that’s too easy.

The following mud runs are divided based on the different fitness levels you may have:

Great mud runs for beginners:

These specific events are excellent for individuals or groups of friend who have never tried mud runs as well as those who don’t really want to compete and just want to take their time and enjoy this race without actually racing. 

They’re all muddy, they’re all 5 kilometers long, the obstacles are pretty easy to cross and you will have a good time.I have tried all of them except the Warrior Dash which is the most popular one out of them.

How do you know if you’re a beginner? Usually, this is how you can tell:

  • It’s your first time trying a mud run. 
  • You typically workout 1-2 times a week at the gym and maybe do some jogging.
  • You don’t really workout at all, but consider yourself in good shape.

Ones for more intermediate athletes:

  • Zombie Run: There’s 2 types of events you can do here, ones that are hosted in cities where typically it doesn’t get dirty on the course and the other which is in an open field and has some woods. You will get dirty in that one. There’s a lot of sprinting involved there because you’re avoiding zombies so it’s not good for people who want to take their time in these kinds of events. You need to be able to maneuver and dodge zombies! Learn more about zombie mud runs!
  • Spartan 5K: This event is somewhat a mix between intermediate and advanced but because it’s short, it tends to fit the middle level better. You’re going to run through some tough obstacles and uphill walks very often in this short course, and it will get you tired. 
  • BattleFrog Open (8K): BattleFrog is more focused on giving you tough obstacles to cross on a flat field. The least difficult race they have is the open one. 

How can you tell if you’re an intermediate? 

  • You’ve completed a beginner level course before and feel that you can take on tougher courses!
  • You workout 3 or more times a week. 
  • You can jog several kilometers without getting exhausted. 
  • You enjoy walking and hiking on trails in the woods! 

Ones for advanced levels that want a real challenge:

  • Spartan Super (8 Miles): Think of the Spartan 5k, but 5 times harder, that’s the Super. 
  • Spartan Beast (12-14 Miles): This one is the beast, but several miles longer and about 5 or more times harder than the 5k!
  • BattleFrog Elite (16K) or Xtreme (tests how many laps you can complete in 24 hours).

You still cross the same obstacles in these events as you do in the intermediate versions of them, but they are just much longer and that length is the main difficulty. 

How can you tell if you’re advanced and ready for these events?

  • You’ve completed at least 1 beginner level race and feel like you can easily do 2 laps of them or more.
  • You’ve completed at least one of the intermediate ones but felt it didn’t take you far enough.
  • You have very strong resilience.

These races combine different elements that test you: There’s the length of the race, there’s the difficult obstacles, there’s also the weather, the woods, and getting wet and dirty, all of which really tests you.

It may take you at least 5 hours to complete one of them and in the case of BattleFrog Xtreme, 24 hours! Do not do these courses unless you’ve been through one of the lesser difficult ones at least once and are in GREAT shape.

Also there are events held in similar types of levels for children (3 of them).

list of mud runs

What is the hardest mud run I’d recommend?

At this point, it’s probably going to be the Spartan Ultra Beast (or the 24 hour Tough Mudder). Just because the challenges are themselves are so tough, as is the terrain and distance. 

Before you go that far, know your physical level first and have at least a few easier races done so you know the intensity and what to expect. People do get injured and hurt when they aren’t prepared for these events correctly. 

Be sure to pick a team you’re happy to go with:

You never want to do these races alone and having 1 or a few friends with you can be great, but what if there’s 2 of you, and you’re in good shape, while your friend isn’t or you have a team where 1 person is either too advanced and being slowed down by everyone or you have someone that isn’t in shape and is also slowing down the rest of the team?

In these situations you all have to get together before you pick out a race and decide each of your fitness levels and then correspond to which events fit you best. If you’re all at different levels but most of you are around a beginner area, do one of the beginner races.

If you’re the person whose advanced in that group, you can make the course more fun by doing every challenge in the most difficult way possible to make it more exciting for you. 

In the Warrior Dash for example, there’s a monkey bar area where you have a net that you can balance on while going through it and it gives most beginners help (usually on those obstacles, you have to hang on it), but if you’re advanced, don’t use the net, just go through the bars only using your hands.

There’s plenty of obstacles that can be “modified” on the types of races that may not be challenging for you to make it more challenging. 

If it’s the other way around and you have a beginner or a few with you on something like the Spartan Race, even the 5K, be prepared to either:

  1. Be constantly stopping and helping them. 
  2. Keep waiting on them while they’re running through.
  3. Just decide that you’re all headed at your own pace and divide up if necessary.

You always want to compete in the tougher courses with people that will be able to work and run together well. And you always want to be in the easier courses with people that just want to explore this world of mud running. If everyone’s general level is around the same, you’re all going to enjoy it much more as a group!

11 thoughts on “What Types of Mud Runs Are Good For Beginners And Higher Levels?”

  1. This is a very informative read on mud runs! Though I’m not inclined to mud runs, my daughter (who is very adventurous) would definitely be in on one of these. In Australia we have Tough Mudder, which looks pretty scary to me! Apart from being physically fit, I could imagine you’d need to be content with being dirty for a while! You’ve given good info for someone wishing to participate in mud runs. Are you aware of any other mud runs in Australia other than Tough Mudder?

  2. I wish I saw this list before I did my first mud run! I did the Warrior Dash and did not realize it would be so easy. I was wondering if there are any short 5k mud runs that have super challenging obstacles? That would be the perfect mud run for me!

  3. I’ve been looking around for a comparison of what the various mudruns are like, and found this. Where do you think the Tough Mudder would fall? Is that a beginner’s one?

    In terms of preparing for a mudrun, are there any specifics to work on? I do a combination of high intensity cardio and strength training, 5-6 days a week. I can hike 6-8 hours with a 10kg pack. Would that be “fit enough” to try a beginner’s mudrun?

  4. Hi Vitaliy,

    I think that you did an excellent write up for anyone looking to know the major difficulty differences between several of the most popular obstacle races in the world.

    I have personally run a Spartan Sprint and a Spartan Beast and I must say that i think your assessment of their difficulty is pretty accurate.

    Great job! Hope to hear more from you soon!

  5. My very first mud run was Tough Mudder in 2014. I was peer pressured into doing it by this girl that I liked at the time and I didn’t want her to think I was weak lol. I didn’t know if I could make it through, but I did and I never felt more proud. I signed up and did it again in 2015. I couldn’t do it this year because of a conflict in schedule, but if I can, I will definitely do it again next year. Recently I did a run that is great for beginners. It’s called the Insane Inflatable 5K. It’s not too long and there are lots of fun obstacles to pass through.

    • Congratulations on beating Tough Mudder twice Jason! I’m going to be trying it in October and it’ll definitely be interesting to experience it. The inflatable race you mentioned is one I haven’t heard of before, but I will check it out!

  6. Here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, we have the The Dirty Dash coming up next week. It is being held in a flat national refuge area outside of the city. It promises to have mud pits, a slip and slide, and a foam bath at the end. They offer several different levels also. Your article will definitely help someone choose the right course!

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