Who doesn’t love to splash through mud?
Alright, I’m sure there are those of you out there who think it will ruin your shoes or at least stain them a nice brown color. So don’t buy white or pretty shoes.
Maybe it’s my rebellion against my mother and teachers who told me to stop jumping in puddles or playing in the mud.
It’s hard to run in mud and like most hard things it can make you stronger. Slick mud means your feet slide back with each step and you have to take more steps and fight your way through, especially, uphill. Thick sticky mud makes your shoes heavy requiring you to lift more with each step.
Running in mud can also be a little treacherous. Mud can hide things such as rocks and roots. You need to be prepared to shift your weight or move to your other foot. The sliding that can benefit you can also cause you to fall or pull a muscle. Running down hill in slick mud should cause you to think twice and move your feet real fast. Put your weight forward so you are not landing on your heels. When you land on you heels your center of gravity is off balance toward your back. This will cause you to slip out and crash on your ass. If your center of gravity is below you or even a little to the front, it will be much easier to stop a fall or at least minimize damage.
If you’re going to run through the mud, pay attention and stay on your toes, shorten your stride, and watch for things peeking out. Your shoes should have good traction, which will prevent some of the slipping and sliding. Sliding side to side is what you really want to prevent. The more aggressive the tread the more stable your foot is going to be. Solomon and Brooks shoes have the most aggressive tread I have seen on a trail shoe.
Gaiters are also a good idea to prevent mud and rocks from getting down in your shoes. Mud down in your shoe, especially, between your heel and the shoe will rub your skin right off.
Dancing through mud that is really more water than mud requires shoes with good drainage. You want that water to come out of your shoes. Wearing shoes that prevent water from getting in don’t help if the water goes over the top of the shoe and then once it is in those shoes, it doesn’t come out. Running with your feet in this condition causes blisters for most runners. I recommend my runners stay away from shoes that will “keep your feet dry by preventing water from coming in because even if there is not water you’re going through, it keeps the sweat in, which also can cause blisters.
Well-draining shoes do have some drawbacks. Sand and other fine dirt get inside. If you experience this, stop, take your shoe off, and shake out your sock. Sweat plus sand equals, you guessed it, blisters and or sand paper against your skin.
I wont stop running because of mud. I will avoid a section by running on firmer ground if the mud looks sketchy.