Mud Sucks, Right?

April 30, 2010 by Nick "Escher Hawk" Lang

Originally published on April 10, 2010

So as Freestate showed us, the mud at Clinton can get pretty nasty. I don't want the mud to be a reason to for people to avoid running the Hawk 50 and marathon. So inorder to help divert this "mud sucks" mentality, I'd like to share some of my tips I've learned for running in the mud at Clinton. Below is an entry from my "blog": reposted here to the Trailhawk blog.

Many people I run with on a regular basis complain about how mud sucks. It’s sloppy, it pulls your shoes off, makes you dirty and all around just makes for a bad run. I think it’s fairly safe to say that some of the mud we get around here in Lawrence (and Kansas in general) is pretty nasty at best. The mud out at Wyco is some of the best around. The trails at Clinton lake just never seem to dry out…ever! In the winter time you’ll be running on frozen mud, which is a trick in and of itself.

Well I’m here to show you how running in the mud can actually be fun and maybe even enjoyable! I have a tendency to use mud as my great equalizer in trail races. While I’m not really the fastest guy around, I don’t let mud slow me down (too much) and even in some instances I find myself speeding up. What’s my secret? It’s understanding how mud makes it’s suction on your shoe. I’m gonna try and break this down in to as small of steps as possible and then put em together in hopefully a way that easy to remember, and eventually will become second nature.

First thing, you need to drop your center of gravity. That means you need to squat. You don’t have to get low, but you need to drop a bit. When you drop your center of gravity your reactions speed up. You’re no longer straight up like a tree. You’re legs are charge and have a little energy so that if you slip you’re more prepared to respond.

Next you want to squeeze your butt together. What this does is activates your core. You could also squeeze your stomach, but I find that it’s a little easier to grasp if you squeeze your cheeks! Having your core charged helps with your balance. This will also aid in keeping up right if you slip, or hit a hiding rock or root.

You will want to run with short steps. I know a lot of road runners like to extend their stride and really reach, covering a lot of ground with each step. But that’s not now you should run on the trail. And in mud you want to run with even shorter steps.

HIGH KNEES! Keep those knees up. This is crucial to aiding in proper form through the mud. If you keep your knees up it’ll help with the next step.

Stay on your toes. No heel strikes. The way mud works, is as soon as it’s able to form a seal around the sole of your shoe it’ll want to keep it! If you keep your toes down. Imagine you’re stabbing the mud with your foot. This will go along way with keeping the mud from forming a seal around the sole of your shoe. It will also help keep your shoes on!

Now pulling it all together, Squat, squeeze your butt, stab the mud with your forefoot! Or even shorter, Squat Squeeze Stab!

One other trick that really helps when the mud reaches knee high is to use what’s known as the Loop Lock Low (or as I like to call it the Power loop!)in your lacing strategy. Inov-8 has some other lacing strategies feel free to try em out yourself. I find that Loop Lock Low works best for me. And lucky for me it’s also the default lacing system that comes on all Inov-8 shoes.

Trail Hawks Ridgeline aid station at Heartland100, 2018

Trail Hawks Ridgeline aid station at Heartland100, 2018

Shoreline Shuffle 5K Trail 2009