Rugged Maniac

Rugged Maniac Survival Tips

Rugged Maniac is this weekend in Southwick, and this is my second time running. I’ve been seeing a lot of people wonder what they should bring, what they should wear, etc., so I’m going to share my own experience on this:

Wear to Rugged Maniac

Do not wear anything cotton anywhere on your person (socks, MAYBE, but make sure they’re wicking cotton). Cotton soaks up moisture like crazy. Last year, I made the mistake of wearing a cotton tank under a long-sleeved tech tee. I was not a happy camper at the finish line. I was a shivering camper. This year, lesson learned: no cotton. I’ll be wearing the same moisture-wicking capris as last year and a tech tee.
Rugged Maniac
Also, do not wear anything you love. This includes jewelry or clothing or shoes. I’ll be wearing an old pair of running shoes that I plan to donate after the race, along with items that can be easily washed. I’ll also be leaving my jewelry, including my wedding ring, at home. Look closely and you can see a tan line there anyway.

Finally, if you have long hair, put it in a French braid. I’m serious. Ponytails might get caught on barbed wire or be distracting. Last year, I braided my hair. It was the best decision ever. I’ve started wearing my hair in a French braid for all my races, which keeps it from swinging around and whacking me. (I have really long, puffy hair.)

Bring to Rugged Maniac

Grab a sturdy backpack and stuff in it: a towel, a complete change of clothes (including socks, underwear, and shoes, and preferably something casual and comfortable, like jeans and a hoodie), baby wipes for cleaning up, deodorant, lip balm, and anything else you think you’ll need after the race. I also include:

  • Safety pins
  • Hair ties
  • Gluten-free post-race protein bar (There are rarely food options that fit my dietary restrictions, so I bring my own just in case)
  • Hand lotion
  • Tissues
  • Advil
  • Ben-Gay (because you WILL be sore)
There will be a rinse-off station with cold water and tent-like communal changing areas. And no one will care about your stretch marks while you’re changing; we’re all cold and shivering and just want clean, dry clothes. You can bring your own water for rinsing off, too – but it will be heavy.
You’ll also want to bring money for food or extra beer, as well as at least $10 for parking.

Leave in Your Car

Leave your phone and major valuables in your car. Basically, anything expensive to replace should be locked up in your vehicle at Rugged Maniac. Bag check isn’t responsible if you leave your brand-new iPhone in your backpack and it falls out or gets cracked. Or leave valuables at home if you can.

Final Rugged Maniac Survival Tips

  • Traffic is going to be tough; pretend that you’re driving somewhere in Los Angeles and leave extra-early so that when you’re inevitably stuck, you won’t be worried about missing your wave.
  • Know that you’re going to get bruised and muddy.
  • Don’t let anyone give you a shove over the walls. Trust me on this one: a nice fellow runner gave me a boost, but he pushed so hard that I pulled a muscle in my hip.
  • If there’s an obstacle that you know you can’t do, skip it. Last year, for me, it was jumping from one tiny, mud-covered post to another. I knew I would slip and hurt myself, so I went around it.