Mud Running 101: Muddy Mayhem

Q&A With Ryan Tworek

Ryan Tworek is the consummate obstacle racer. The 37-year-old credit services relationships manager from Mission Viejo, Calif., is an active CrossFit participant who admits he gets bored running long distances just for the sake of running. As of early April, he was leading the age-group open division in the Reebok Spartan Race national points series and was prepping for the 24-hour Spartan Death Race on June 21-23 in Pittsfield, Vt.

Why do you do these races?

Running for two hours at a time isn’t that fun for me, but running on a mountain with obstacles for two hours is a little more fun. During the Toughest Mudder race last year, I got to the 26-mile mark, and I was like, “Hey, this is my first marathon.”

How do you train?

You’ve got to have a well-balanced base of fitness. I do a lot of CrossFit. It’s definitely a big boost because it works on strength and speed and a little bit of endurance. It definitely helps with pulling yourself up the ropes and pulling yourself up over the walls. I run a few times a week, too, with my longest run being nine miles.

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What shoes do you wear?

Races suggest wearing old running shoes because they’ll get all muddy, but you need traction and durability more than anything. I’ve seen so many people roll their ankles out there. I tell everybody to wear a pair of Salomon Speedcross 3.

What’s the best part of any obstacle race?

The camaraderie and encouragement you get on the course. It’s the most positive atmosphere you’ll ever be in. Everyone is working hard, and everyone wants to help each other through the obstacles. There’s no negativity out there at all, and that makes it fun.

What’s the worst part?

It’s probably the cold. In a lot of events, you’re at a mountain or it’s a windy day and you’re going through water pits fed by melting snow.

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