Enter the Battleground: Tips for Prospective Participants of the Warrior Dash

13 Jun

 My friend Lindsey and I, post dash

You might be thinking: What in the world is the Warrior Dash? Well: It is a badass experience where you get to crawl through trenches, slide down hills and get absolutely covered in mud.  In the words of another friend: “…the most amazing event I’ve ever partaken in in my life.” (The person who said this is pretty amazing herself, so those are no small words.) Plus, you get a Viking hat! There are dashes nationwide and even around the world, so check the website to see if there’s one near you.

I had never done a dash (or anything like it, like the Spartan Sprint) before and I will admit, I was nervous as I paid my registration fees all the way until the race got underway. My mind filled with nagging self-doubts. Will it be too difficult? Will I embarrass myself? Will I be able to finish?

Keep in mind, I’m not exactly a runner. In fact, I don’t really enjoy running. I get winded and bored and I’d prefer pumping iron or punching bags if I’m going to exercise. However, I had a FANTASTIC time at the Warrior Dash and will definitely be doing it again. While I’m not the premier source for dash information, I have friends who are either signed up for an upcoming dash or are strongly considering it. So, for them (and for anyone else) here are some tips based on my experience! (For reference, my battleground was in Mechanicsville, MD.)

Don’t Sweat It:

I’m putting this first, because it is highly important: try not to be nervous! Easier said than done, I know. But this is an event that you can do at your own pace, so you only have to compete with yourself and not the people around you. I think the race is more fun to run with friends than alone (unless you’re running competitively), so cheer each other on and keep each other going.

Prepare if you Can:

If you’re in this primarily to get muddy and have fun, I wouldn’t say that you need a ton of physical training. The website, however, does suggest that if you want to prepare yourself, your best bet is to run a lot. As I was preparing, I modified this treadmill workout (I did intermediate intervals) and ran it every other day for a couple of weeks to get used to running for an extended period. (For me, 40 minutes is extended!)

There isn’t much of a way to prepare for the obstacles, but if you are decently fit, they should certainly be doable. According to the official website, “Finishing Warrior Dash is more about mental toughness than being in great shape.”

Pack essentials

Aside from the obvious (identification, change of clothes) here are things you should consider bringing with you:

  • Cash – My event only took cash and tickets, which required cash (This may vary depending on location). There was an outdoor ATM, but the line was terrible and I didn’t want to pay the fee. If you can, bring money for souvenirs and food.  (Being a Capricorn, of course I price-checked my items of choice ahead of time so I’d have enough money.)
  • Baby wipes – These were a gift from the gods when dealing with wretched port-a-potties. Trust me on this.
  • Mini first aid kit – Nothing fancy, just a small box you’d get at any pharmacy store with band-aids and sterile wipes.
  • A camera – Taking pictures during the event is probably impractical, but you’ll want photos of yourself post mudslide and the event photos are expensive. Best option: bring a friend with clean hands.
  • Extra plastic bags (think grocery bags) – Your clothes will be filthy afterwards. Enough said.
  • A friend – This race is more fun if you’re running with friends. Plus, there may be a parking fee, so carpooling is ideal.

Dress properly

Unless you plan to dash in costume (which is far more common than you may think), you want to dress for comfort and practicality. Based on my experience:

  • Clothes – I came to the dash in long-sleeves and yoga pants, but ended up running in a t-shirt and mesh basketball shorts. The shirt was fine, but by the end of the race the shorts nearly fell off my ass because the watery mud soaked them through. Dress with that in mind.
  • Shoes – Wear old ones. You can donate them post-race and besides, who wants to sink expensive new running shoes into thick mud?
  • Other – I scraped up my knees, so consider knee pads but as they absorb mud and get heavy, (as in my friend’s experience) a better option may be ace bandages.

And finally?

Have a good ass time. If you don’t mind getting filthy, you probably won’t regret it.

Any other questions? Has anyone ran in a dash (or something similar) and wants to add input? Feel free to share in the comment section.

xoxo, Tara

3 Responses to “Enter the Battleground: Tips for Prospective Participants of the Warrior Dash”

  1. janet July 4, 2011 at 3:25 am #

    wow this sounds awesome! i’ve never heard of this / knew this existed. but i’d like to think i am a warrior :)

    • Tara Melissa July 4, 2011 at 1:25 pm #

      It was amazing! If it comes to a town near you, you should definitely look into it.

      And I must say, you have the best taste in colors :)

      • Steve February 4, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

        There are a ton of these events now in many different areas all over the country and they are exploding like wildfire. If you live in the Kentucky area, there will be one called The Stampede May 19-20th in Louisville. There is also a Zombie race in Maryland and one with a school bus in New Hampshire called the Renegade Playground. You get to run through a bus and jump into a big mud pit on that one!

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