Monday, May 20, 2013

How to Taper for the Ruckus

You may be able to get away with procrastinating for high school exams, college finals or that big project you have to present to the company.  But when it comes to training for a  mud run or obstacle course, it’s important to not put off your training!  You simply can’t wait until the week before the competition or race to kick your training into high gear; in fact, you should be doing just the opposite.

What is taper?  
Following weeks of proper preparation, we suggest taking the seven days before your Ruckus run to practice what is known as tapering.  This means that instead of pushing your body to the limit right before race day, you should reduce the distance and volume you run to allow for optimum performance come race day. 

What are the benefits of tapering?
Tapering has not only physical, but mental advantages as well.  The final week spent tapering leads to improved muscle glycogen stores, expanded blood plasma and repaired connective tissue.  All of these things need “taper time” to build back up after intense training.  In addition, the week of relaxed training builds mental confidence for the impending race.

Big, fancy scientific terms aside, tapering is so effective because training usually involves working your body and mind to exhaustion daily, and not allowing time for full recovery.  We want to make sure that before taking on our challenging obstacles (especially all you with eyes set on the competitive Champions Heat), you are at the peak of your abilities.  You’ll need all the strength you can get!

How should I taper for the Ruckus? 
We suggest the following tapering plan for all of our serious Ruckus runners out there: 

  • Six and five days before competition, reduce your training distance and volume to 75%.
  • Four and three days prior, work at 50% of your training level.
  • On your last day of training, two days before Ruckus, take it easy at 25%. 

You will then want to completely take off the day prior to competition in order to give your body ample recovery time.  Then, come the next morning, you will be ready to have all of that training pay off.

For our future Boston Ruckus runners, your week of tapering will begin June 9, so make sure to continue your training, and the results will speak for themselves!  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ruckus: Coming to a Fit (and Fat) City Near You!

Do you live in a fit city? In recent years, a lot of focus has been placed on Americans’ waistlines. The main reason being that obesity dramatically affects a person’s overall health while increasing their chances of developing life threatening diseases like diabetes. Many attribute American’s weight gain to a sedentary lifestyle and love of fast-food.

Men’s Fitness magazine recently compiled a list of 25 of the fittest and fattest cities in the nation. Each list was based on a multitude of factors. The research yielded some interesting factors into what makes a “fat city”. Take, for example, #1 on the list—Houston. Thirty-four percent of its residence is overweight. That number becomes less shocking when you see the factors as to why:
  • The city lacks a comprehensive mass transit system that inherently adds more movement to a person’s day. It should also be noted that mass transit correlates to cleaner, more breathable air.
  • The city has over 1,034 fast-food restaurants (the most in the country).
  • Lastly, Houston’s environment plays a big role.  On average, the city experiences over 100 days of 90 degree plus temperatures along with relative humidity. That makes a workout in outdoors feel like a workout in a sauna.  Because of this, few make the effort to go out and be active.

When you look at the rest of the city on the “fat list”, it’s easy to see patterns like high number of fast-food restaurants, lack of mass transit and high use of cigarettes and alcohol. When combined with sedentary lifestyles, a recipe of self-destruction is born.

But what makes a fit city?

The obvious indicators are active citizens and an active culture. Upcoming Ruckus city, Boston, rounds out the top 5 fittest cities in America. Bostonians spend 92% less than the national average on fast-food. Boston also has an engaged mass transit system and active culture that keeps its residence on the move.

So does that mean that all of our Ruckus cities are “fit cities”? Not necessarily.

We are looking to help change the way America works out—in both the “fit” and “fat” cities.  We made sure to schedule Ruckus mud runs in a variety of cities—from the East to West coasts and all areas in between no matter “fit” or “fat” they may be.  As a matter of fact, three Ruckus cities are on the “fat” list (#20 Atlanta, #22 Kansas City, #23 St. Louis). Our goal here at Ruckus is to motivate communities by stimulating an active culture and showing how fun exercise can be! Just because these cities are on the fat list now doesn’t mean they’ll stay on the fat list forever! Bringing Ruckus to a city is the first step in the right direction! 

What cities should Ruckus come to next? Leave a comment!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

We’re Goin’ Bananas for these 5 Monkey Bar Workouts

When it comes to our Ruckus obstacle course, don’t play around about playing around! We take having fun while staying fit seriously, which is why we’ve designed one of the most engaging, entertaining and challenging mud run courses in the nation.

One thing that makes our course so unique is our Gorilla Bars, which are monkey bars all grown up! Although the Gorilla Bars are one of the most popular features of our obstacle course, people often comment about how it’s also one of the most difficult parts of Ruckus run.

Crossing the Gorilla Bars requires a lot of upper body and abdominal strength, and it’s best to train for the day you encounter them. But what’s the best way to train to tackle the Gorilla Bars?  Just head to your local playground! Next time you’re near a playground, head for the monkey bars and go bananas with these 5 monkey bar workouts:  

1. The Hold
Odds are that at some point in your life, you and some friends have had a competition to see who can hold themselves up the longest on the monkey bars. This is excellent training for Ruckus Gorilla Bars! All you need to do is hold your head above the bars for as long as you can. Try making a new record to brag about.

2. The Dip
Dips are a great, albeit challenging training exercise. Cross your legs at the ankle, hoist yourself up until your arms are straight, then slowly lower yourself down and repeat. You’ll find that the slower you go, the more you feel the burn. If you do multiple reps, you’ll definitely be preparing yourself for Ruckus domination.

3. Legs to Chest
Remember—monkey bar exercises aren’t just for your arms!  They’re for your core too.  While holding onto the monkey bars in a parallel position, slowly draw your knees toward your chest and back, repeating as necessary. This is perhaps one of the most challenging monkey bar exercises around, but with repeated reps, you’ll be ready for Gorilla Bars in no time!

4. The Spread Eagle
Starting with your legs dangling down toward the ground, slowly raise them up into a spread eagle position, lifting them as high as you can go or until parallel with the ground. A real leg and abdomen burner!

5. The Good Ol’ Pull-up
The pull-up is one of the most tried-and-true, time-tested exercises for training for the Gorilla Bars. See how many reps you can do, and within no time you will start to feel your arms getting stronger.  Don’t be frustrated if you can do only 1 or 2 at first.  Pull-ups take time to master.  Try to increase by 1 pull-up every week or so. 

With these awesome monkey bar exercises, you’ll have an edge over the competition in no time! And with all this training under your belt, odds are you have a higher chance of making it into the Champion’s Heat of Ruckus. We can’t wait to see you there!

We’re Boston-bound next!  Sign up for Ruckus Boston to test your mud run abilities.  Sign up here!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Big Running Question: Should I Train Through Injury?

Injuries.  They happen.  But they come with the territory of exercising and maintaining a physically fit lifestyle.  Participating in Ruckus could very cause a small injury or two, but what happens if you get injured before Ruckus...or any other running event for that matter? 

An injury can just be a setback and not a reason to give up on your training.  Sure, Ruckus is a race, so you are running (at your own pace!), but that doesn’t mean the only worthwhile training is jogging.  If you suffer an injury leading up to your 2013 Ruckus event, here are some ways you can continue preparation for your fun in the mud.

Trying Biking
Many are convinced that biking is the best training option for injured runners.  The best part about biking is that you have the option of using a stationary bike or riding on a trail in the fresh air.  Your legs are still the primary recipients of the strength training, and like running workouts, you have the option of doing intervals or a pedaling at long, steady pace.

Water Works
Constant pounding from running on grass or concrete can take a toll on a runner’s calves and shins.  If you are sore from this, try doing some pool exercises.  Running in the water offers resistance for strength building without the wear and tear on your legs.  Swimming laps is also a great cardio work out and strengthens the upper- and lower-body.  Plus, you might be swimming in some mud, so you want to master that breaststroke!

Efficient Elliptical
One of the most common machines at your local gym, the elliptical is a great alternative to running.  The motion closely mimics your running form, but does not require any impact.  Another advantage of the elliptical is that you can choose to work harder on your legs or arms, as both are used to power the machine. 

Pain, Pain Row Away
Few people have access to an actual in-water rowing machine, but the machine at your gym will do just fine.  This is a fantastic exercise for building muscle in the quadriceps and hips, which will be very helpful when attacking Ruckus’ climbing walls, cargo nets and numerous other obstacles.  However, this machine is often used incorrectly, so either study the proper form or ask a trainer for some pointers.

Stair Strength
Much like Sisyphus having to roll a boulder up a never-ending hill, the Stairmaster can be depressing.  But if you can look past its monotony and challenges, you’ll realize how good of a workout stair climbing can be, especially when nursing an injury.  Runners tend to have strong hamstrings, but the muscles targeted on the stairs are the quadriceps and hip flexor, which will lead to better muscle balance. 

So if you think your injury is holding you back from being a RuckStar, think again.  Try these running substitutes and find the one that works best for you, and you’ll be ready come race day!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is Ruckus for Kids Too? (Here’s a Hint...Yes!)

We make no secret of the fact that Ruckus is the premier family-friendly event for runners of all ages. We’re good, muddy fun for the whole family to enjoy. Whether you’re 2 or 92 years old, we welcome all ages!

We get a lot of parents who participate in the mud run, and we see a lot of children standing on the sidelines, cheering on parents, family members and older siblings. While each family’s decision about what age is appropriate to participate in is their own to make, there is an increasing number of children participating in running activities and races.

According to, there are 364 running events just for kids and 255 running events for families throughout the U.S. just this month! From Los Angeles to Boston and all cities in between, there are so many opportunities for kids and families to get active together. 

The great thing about family friendly events is that portions, if not its entirety, are tailored to kids. A 6 year-old in St. Louis recently ran a marathon over the course of 9 months in half-mile intervals. The marathon was tied to a reading program in which the participants read 26 books and performed 26 good deeds. Events like this encourage learning and responsibility while respecting a child’s natural limitations.

Just as with adults, there is an abundance of children’s running gear that has come to market in the past decade. It is important to provide any young runner with the proper shoes and running gear as soon as they start their running career.  That’s right—no more light up Elmo sneakers for these Mini RuckStars!

When we say Ruckus is for everyone, we really mean it! When kids are given the chance to exceed expectations, they always surprise us. We look forward to seeing you and the whole family (grandma too!) at the next Ruckus event.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Swap Your Cover Photo for a Chance to Win a Free Ticket to Ruckus Boston!

Want to win a free ticket to Ruckus Boston?  Now's your chance!  Simply swap out your Facebook cover photo for our Ruckus image (above) and you could win!  Here's what you need to do:
  • Upload the image (above) as your Facebook cover photo
  • Tag Ruckus Sports in the photo
  • Leave a comment here
  • If you win, we will notify you via Facebook!
Many will enter, only 5 will win.  So what are you waiting for?  Swap out your cover photo and show your Ruckus pride!  It may earn you a free ticket (or a reimbursement if you've already purchased your ticket) to Ruckus Boston on June 15 & 16.  Good luck!

Follow us on Twitter too! @RuckusSports

Boston, Ruckus is Headed Your Way!

With the first of the 2013 Ruckus runs now in the books, we look forward to the next location: Boston!  Yes, we are headed eastward to bring the mud, obstacles and fun to one of the busiest and coolest cities in the nation. 

With just over two months before the big dates (yes, there are heats on both June 15 and June 16), there is still time to get to training, and more importantly, sign up.  Spots are filling up quickly, so get your team together (or sign up individually) and select your heat time.

Ruckus Boston has a little bit of something for everyone – Ruckus Mini for the kids, the 2-mile Heater race for competitors of all skill levels, and the taxing 4-mile Challenge, in which the top 10% of finishes from each division compete in a Champions heat.

We can’t wait to see you out at the Marshfielfd Fieldgrounds in mid-June where you will officially become a RuckStar!  Sign up today for Ruckus Boston.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

5 Surprising Activities That Will Help You Train for a Mud Run

Our Ruckus mud run includes just a little bit of everything, and you will use just about every muscle in your body to finish the race.  In order to properly prepare, we suggest your training includes several activities that mimic the challenging obstacles throughout the course.  Some of these activities may, in fact, surprise you! 

  1. Rock Climbing
When taking on the course’s Barricade Boulevard and Gr8 Walls of Ruckus, you’ll want to have that extra upper-body strength developed from one of our favorite outdoor (or indoor!) activities—rock climbing!  Of course, you don’t have to go to the closest mountain or peak and free climb like in the movies.  Many recreation centers and outdoor facilities offer climbing walls that are great practice. 

2.      Rope courses    

Both high and low rope courses are often used for both personal development and team building activities.  We love to see the same goals met on the Ruckus course (as some competitors choose to participate alone and some as a team).  Training at a rope course will come in handy for the Air Loops and Nose Bleed nets, which require you to swing from rope to rope á la Tarzan and race to the top of a daunting cargo net.

  1. Hiking
This kind of training is great because it doesn’t require any special equipment (plus anyone can do it!). Just head off to your nearest trail or park and start trekking.  The constant uphill and downhill terrain is a great calf workout, perfect for the ever-changing ground on the Ruckus course.  Hiking is a fun, rewarding and cheap way to train, and you might even stumble upon your new favorite place to go and have some alone time.

  1. Military Obstacle Course
For the serious competitor with eyes on the most demanding 4-mile Challenge division, a military obstacle course may be a great option for training.  Designed to train some of the most physically fit individuals, military obstacle courses offer many of the same obstacles as Ruckus.  You will be forced to climb, crawl, swing and everything in between through barriers.  The biggest difference is that at Ruckus, there won’t be a drill sergeant screaming at you to go faster (although there may be some cheering spectators!).  At Ruckus, you go at your own pace.

  1. Local Playground
Playgrounds aren’t just for kids anymore.  Although sitting on a swing and pumping your legs won’t train you for a mud run, other playground activities will.  Swing across monkey bars, walk across balance beams and climb up ladders to train for obstacles like the Gorilla Bars and Normandy Spikes.  For more upper body strength, attempt some sets of dips on parallel bars or pull ups on whatever you can find. 

Instead of just running at your local park everyday (although that’s still very productive!), we suggest you consider training by doing some of these other activities.  Trust us when we say that you will be ready to shine when your mud run day comes!  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Top 4 Biggest Mud Run Mistakes of All Time

Let’s be honest.  Your Ruckus mud run isn’t going to go 100% incident-free.  You’ll go home with a bruise or cut, need to take three showers to get fully clean, or still be sore at work or school on Monday.  But despite the bruises, cuts and sore muscles you’ll get along the way, we both know that you’ll have a blast competing in a mud run. 

And although we can’t help you avoid every slip on the mud, we can warn you about some of the biggest mistakes a mud runner can make when competing.  We hope that these 4 mistakes will help you prepare for your next mud run...and avoid any additional cuts or bruises! 

1.      Wearing the wrong shoes

Competitors participating in a mud run are guaranteed to run on all sorts of terrain ranging from grass to mud to wood.  The need for a decent pair of athletic shoes cannot be overstated.  Do not use the same pair you wear to cut the lawn just because they will get dirty.  We recommend a pair that has good traction and durability.  When shopping for your pair of running shoes, know that price is not the determining factor – just because they are expensive does not mean they’re the best for you!

2.      Jumping too aggressively

Every once and awhile, it feels just plain awesome to jump into a pile of mud at full force.  But be careful because Ruckus obstacles like the Mud Garden and Down-n-Outs have extremely shallow depths. If you jump in forcibly feet-first, your shoes may hit the bottom of the pit very quickly and you might get stuck.  From there, you will probably pull your foot clear out of your shoe trying to move (good luck getting that one back!).  Be cautious when entering the mud pits and then work up your momentum once you are established in the muddy mess (another tip is to slide face first through the pits...sometimes it’s the fastest and most effective way!). 

3.      Starting too fast

This is especially important for those brave enough to test the Champions heat, our 4-mile course.  This is the most competitive division, but it is not won in the first quarter-mile.  You will start in waves, and trust us when we say there is no reason to have a collision with another RuckStar in the first thirty seconds.  If you are looking to break records, do so after the first obstacle when runners are more spread out.  Pacing yourself is crucial!  We don’t want to have to peel you off the ground 100 yards from the finish line!

4.      Not planning ahead

Ruckus Boston may be two months away, but spots are already filling quickly!  We know that competitors like to sign up with family, friends and co-workers to compete as a team, but that only works if you all sign up in the same heat.  In order to do so, you need to get on the ball now!  Plus, it’s important to start training at least a month or two before your big race day. 

It may be important to show up to your mud run with an open mind and maybe a Band Aid or two, but we promise you won’t be disappointed!

Monday, April 15, 2013

How CrossFit Can Help You Train for a Mud Run

There are many different fitness crazes and fads that are constantly coming and going. Everybody has their own sort of routine whether it be running, pumping iron in the gym, or even utilizing the newest infomercial fitness gadget.  But which fitness routine will get you in the best possible shape for a mud run or obstacle course?  CrossFit!   

What is CrossFit? 
If you’re not familiar with CrossFit, it is most easily described as the sport of fitness. The workouts are constantly changing and challenging. CrossFit consists of many different pulling movements from a plethora of different sports and exercises to test your strength, cardiovascular system and flexibility (known as “mobility” in CrossFit lingo).  Overall, CrossFit focuses on improving an athlete’s overall level of fitness. A general CrossFit WOD (Workout of the Day) is no longer than 20 minutes. Twenty minutes may seem like a cakewalk, but the workouts are highly intense and physically exhausting. Daily WODs are available on the CrossFit website for free; all you need is the equipment.

Is CrossFit Popular? 
The intense and efficient workout program known as CrossFit has been widely adopted by people from all walks of life who have the desire to push themselves to the peak of their physical ability. In addition to over 5000 boxes (affiliate gyms), CrossFit WODs have been implemented by many fire department and first responders, law enforcement agencies, military and professional/university athletic programs.

How Serious Does Crossfit Get? 
For some CrossFitters, the WODs are just a way to stay in shape and get healthy. Then there is another level of CrossFitters known as elite level or “games” athletes.  The athletes train according to a rigorous schedule, often 2-3 times a day, in preparation of the CrossFit Games. The CrossFit Games were created in 2007 to find the “fittest athletes on earth”.  The games incorporate the mainstay movements of CrossFit along with plenty of curveballs so the athletes must be prepared for anything.

How Will Crossfit Help Me Train for a Mud Run?
Quite well, in fact.  Many of the movements in CrossFit are akin to obstacles in our course. With that in mind, it only makes sense that CrossFit is the premier way to get in Ruckus shape.
To help you prepare to dominate your next Ruckus race (or any other mud run!), we’ve broken down our obstacles to find the CrossFit movement that will be help you train: 
  • Barricade Boulevard:  For this obstacle, your upper body strength will be tested.  Train by using CrossFit movements like muscle ups to help get you up and over the barricades.
  • Air Loops: Swinging from rope to rope can take its toll on your forearms. Heavy kettlebell swings will give you lumberjack forearms to get you through this tough obstacle.
  • Gorilla Bars: Another upper body gasser! As long as you train with a few kipping pull ups, you’ll be eating bananas at the finish line in no time.
  • The Gr8 Walls of Ruckus: Yet again another obstacle to test your upper body. The Gr8 Wall of Ruckus is even higher than any of our Barricade Boulevards, but you have pegs and ropes to assist you. Train with weighted pull ups and you won’t even need the extra assistance.
  • Mt. Hay: By the time you hit this monstrous climb, your upper body might be tired. Combat this by using your legs. Nothing strengthens your core and legs like CrossFit’s front squats.
  • Awkward A-Frame: We don’t call it awkward for nothing!  The Awkward A-Frame will challenge your dexterity and your body as a whole. Clean and jerks will challenge you the same way while strengthening you in the process.
  • Mud Garden: If you don’t explode out of the mud, you’ll get stuck. Box jumps are great for training your quick twitch explosive muscles.
  • Ab Drags: You’re going to be dirty and your core will be challenged. You can’t do anything about the mud, but plank crawls will help prepare your core!
  • Nose Bleed Nets:  The rope net is your ally and enemy at the same time. Becoming friends with rope climbs beforehand will keep you on their good side.
  • Ranger Bars: Just as challenging as Ab Drags, only this time, you’re upside down...and on a pole.  CrossFit’s wall walks work your whole body and help with the inversion thing many people struggle with.
  • Normandy Spikes: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack should train with CrossFit pistols to avoid sharp sticks!
  • Lobster Traps: Don’t think crustacean...think like a bear!
  • Down-n-Outs:  Getting out is the tricky part, but overhead lunges will teach you to take long and strong strides up and out.
  • Twisted Fences: The key is to jump and pull yourself over as quickly as possible.  Jumping pull ups will have you sliding down the other side with ease.
  • Tirefield: This obstacle has been designed to trip you up when you’re tired. Bar-facing burpees will have you ready to get back up in case you meet the rubber.
  • Mt. Ruckmore: The pièce de résistance of the Ruckus course—Mt. Ruckmore!  When you combine all the previous movements together, Mt. Ruckmore will be child's play.  Feel free to slide your chiseled body all the way down its slope and celebrate! 

CrossFit is a dynamite way to start your Ruckus training.  Combined with a few runs and jogs throughout the week, you’ll be in tip-top shape for Ruckus.  With proper training, both mentally and physically, the Ruckus course (or any other mud run for that matter) will feel like another day at the playground...only slightly muddier!  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Terrain Training: Tips for Running on Grass, Concrete, Mud and More

When training, we get to choose which terrain to run on. Oftentimes, it can be tempting to choose whichever terrain is the smoothest and flattest of our available options (i.e. our friendly concrete sidewalks). But when it comes to obstacle races, most cover a variety of terrain throughout the competition. In order to fully prepare for and enhance the potential for success, your training needs to mimic the potential terrains you will encounter during any race. So let’s break down potential terrains:

Grass has more shock absorbency than concrete or dirt, meaning that your feet take less of a pounding during your run. More shock absorbency also means less “bounce” while running, which means you won’t run as fast on grass compared to a more solid surface. Grass can be fun to run on, but it’s also important to watch out for holes or changes in terrain that can be hidden by the grass. A sprained, twisted or even broken ankle is a devastating injury around race time! 

Concrete is far-and-away the most common surface runners choose to train on. But remember that concrete, for all its accessibility, can have detrimental effects in the long-term. Extensive research shows that extended running on concrete surfaces can lead to serious issues which impede a runner’s ability to perform at the level they desire. The hardness of the surface provides repetitive, unforgiving shocks to the foot which can affect the entire body. While concrete is certainly a viable option for training, it should be balanced out with other terrains.

Dirt trails provide the happy middle between concrete and grass, providing just enough shock absorbency to reduce impact on the feet, while maintaining enough hardness to allow runners to keep pace. When you’re running a lot during training, it’s important to choose a surface that provides this level of “give” because long-term exposure to unforgiving surfaces will take a toll on bones, joints, tendons and muscles. Additionally, running on trails provides a way to interact with nature in an established way without having to worry about twisting ankles (dirt can’t hide holes the way grass can).

Finally, perhaps the most difficult “terrain” to run on (or in, for that matter) is mud.  Obviously, mud (like what you’ll encounter during our Down-n-Outs) is known to slow runners down tremendously.  What’s our best tip for running through mud?  Tie your shoes tight and use the power that your legs have to wade your way through murky water and slippery mud.  We recommend being cautious though—mud can trip you up pretty quickly and could lead to a mud run injury.  Be safe and have fun when it comes to running on (and through) mud—even when training! 

Training for a race, event or competition means more than running on the same surface every day until the big day arrives. Put a lot of thought into your training so you can not only preserve your body, but so you can also gain exposure to a variety of terrains. That way, you’ll be fully prepared for whatever comes your way!  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Why It’s Important to Face Your Fears

One word comes up a lot when we talk to people about Ruckus: fear. So many people we interact with at our mud runs open up about how they were so hesitant to participate because they were afraid.  But after completing the obstacle course, they feel empowered, strong and brave. In other words, they realize who they’ve always been beneath all the fear.

What is fear?
Fear can take many forms, whether that’s a quiet voice that eats away at self-confidence or a debilitating shout that cripples our sense of possibility. We’re often tempted to avoid our fear triggers at all costs, when in reality, consistent avoidance of fear gives our fear more power over us.

Am I alone in my fear?
When it comes to Kansas City Ruckus, we’re no stranger to the fears people feel – fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of looking silly, even fear of heights—because these are common fears. The important thing to remember about fear is that by no means are you ever the only person feeling what you’re feeling. Odds are every single person at the starting line is facing large and small fears too, and their fears are probably very similar to your own.

Why should I face my fears?
Left unchecked, fear can dominate your mindset and limit your possibilities. Facing fear is hard to do, but necessary to live a truly boundless life. The unknown wasn’t meant to be unknown forever, and it’s our job to take the risk of doing new things so we may expand our world. Facing fears allows us to see new ventures as opportunities and not obligation. And, most importantly, facing our fears means finding out what we’re truly made of—and we’ll often be surprised by the results! We can do more than we think, and facing fears ensures we aren’t selling ourselves short.

Just remember—fear is normal, you are not alone in feeling it, but you should do everything you can to face it. That’s why we created Ruckus in the first place. We want to see people living their lives to the fullest, unhindered by fear. We hope you’ll join us for the wild adventure!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ruckus Kansas City 2013—It’s Almost Here!

The week is finally here!  Ruckus Kansas City is only a few days away, and hopefully you are as excited as we are.

Sign up! Wednesday night at midnight is the deadline to sign up for Ruckus Kansas City, so first and foremost, make sure you have your heat time set up.  Then you are all set for the big day Saturday! 

Arrive on time! The Ruckus KC mud obstacle course is located at the Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, MO.  Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to arrive well before your race, as there may be traffic.  Also, parking is $10 per vehicle, so we recommend carpooling. 

Check in!  Once you have arrived, check-in with a photo I.D. one hour before race time and receive your pre-race information.  There are three different levels of course difficulty (Challenge, Heater and Mini), along with divisions for Men’s Open, Men’s Master (45+), Women’s Open and Women’s Master (45+).  Be sure to show up for the correct one – we don’t want anyone accidentally competing in the 4-mile race instead of the 2-mile (yikes!). 

Dress appropriately!  You will be running, crawling and climbing through some challenging terrain, so we suggest wearing comfortable clothing you wouldn’t mind dirtying.  Previous participants have also suggested wearing pants, gloves and even costumes for some great photo-ops.

Celebrate! Stick around after the race for some great food and adult beverages (for those of age, of course).  Saturday is going to be a fun, challenging and memorable day for everyone involved.  Don’t miss out on the excitement and entertainment that is Ruckus Kansas City! 

See you soon, KC! 

Congrats to Our Facebook Cover Photo Winners!

A few weeks ago, we asked our Facebook fans to change their cover photo to our own Ruckus image to enter to win a free ticket to Ruckus Kansas City on April 6.  After many of you entered to win, we drew five names from a hat to determine the winners.

Congratulations to the following RuckStars!  You’ve won a ticket to Ruckus Kansas City 2013!
  • Christina King
  • Billy Stuecken
  • Kristin Jay
  • Brad Lynn
  • Aaron Helton

Did you miss out on the opportunity to win?  Don’t worry!  We will have many other opportunities to win free tickets to all of our Ruckus events.  Just keep up with us on Facebook to learn more!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mini Ruckus Event for Boys & Girls Club of KC Tomorrow!

We love our RuckStars...especially our Mini RuckStars!  To kick off our Ruckus Kansas City event, we are hosting a highly visual Ruckus Mini to promote healthy active living in the Kansas City area.  

An estimated 300 Kansas City-area youth from local the Boys & Girls Clubs will participate in the most exhilarating yet rewarding opportunity to “give it their all” in the Mini Ruckus obstacle course time trial. With more than 25 urban and suburban schools represented, the Ruckus Mini event is designed to introduce youth to the fastest growing sporting event in the US with a mini course of challenging, yet achievable, obstacles. The event will serve as a backdrop to remind children of all ages the benefits of getting exercise, eating right and most importantly, staying healthy while having fun!

This event starts at 1:00 PM on Friday, March 29 and ends at 3:00 PM.  The Ruckus Mini will take place at 3831 E. 43rd Street in Kansas City, MO at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kansas City (Thornberry Unit).

We can't wait!  

The Carbo-load to Success

Real racers will do anything to get ahead of the competition.  So other than show up to your race properly stretched with weeks/months of training behind you, what can you do before toeing the line? 

How about making sure that your energy fuel level is on full! We recommend doing an old-fashioned carbo-load before your Ruckus race; just make sure you do it the right way.

What foods should I eat for a carbo-load?  
So what exactly is the right way?  Just because something has carbohydrates in it, doesn’t make it a solid pre-race snack.  So we don’t advice you to scarf down a big plate of fettuccine alfredo as you get out of your car.  You want to make sure that the foods are easy to digest, otherwise that pasta might come back up in the Mud Garden or one of the other awesome challenges on the course.  And your puke is not a fun or fair obstacle for the other competitors.

Instead, grab a more suitable carb-heavy option, which is great for breakfast before those morning and early afternoon wave times.  Some of these healthy options include oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, yogurt and juice. 

Most carbohydrate research out there is based on performance in half- or full-marathons, whereas Ruckus is just between 2 and 4 miles.  But marathons don’t have fences, swings, ropes, and other energy-consuming hurdles.  So we advise you to prep accordingly, because you will expend just about all of that energy.

Your pre-race meal plan
Let’s plan ahead by a full day to make sure your body is physically and nutritionally prepared for battle.  In addition to the three main meals, competitors should also indulge in a morning and afternoon snack.   As described on RunnersWorld, portions are a key to success. 

For example, breakfast could include 1 bagel with 2 tablespoons of strawberry jam, lunch features 1 large baked potato with ¼ cup salsa and dinner’s main course is 1 chicken burrito with rice, corn salsa and black beans.  Of course, each meal has additional parts, ranging from 8 ounces of orange juice to 1 sourdough roll to 1 2-ounce bag of Swedish Fish.

So follow these helpful hints on pre-race rations and the Ruckus finish line will be there sooner than you thought.  Or don’t listen to us—and you may turn out like this guy.  The choice is yours.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top 5 Apps for Tracking Your Runs

Training for running events like Ruckus can be challenging.  And sometimes it’s nice to have a coach, workout buddy or motivator to help you push yourself to train a few times a week.  Unfortunately, many of us do not have coaches or personal trainers to help us keep track of our progress.  But we do have accessibility to many mobile apps, online tools and new gadgets that can help us get in tip-top shape for Ruckus! 

In order to keep your momentum going before and after any mud run, we’ve compiled a list of the best running tools available. These tools will help you keep track of your routes, your times, your speed and more.

1.  MapMyRun
MapMyRun is a great tool for tracking your running routes. You can trace a new route on a map to see how long your run will be or you can search for pre-existing routes in the program. In addition to being able to map routes, there are also running groups, nutrition information and even training plans. If you’re looking to learn more about the world around you while keeping track of your regimen, this is a good place to start. Cost: Free for basic, $2.99 on iOS, Android and Blackberry.

2.  Garmin Forerunner
Based in Olathe, Kansas, Garmin changed the navigation industry by creating affordable technology for everyday people. In addition to a slew of other innovation areas, Garmin has created the Forerunner, a watch that allows you to record your distance, time and pace as you run. Additionally, Forerunner allows you to monitor your heart rate. The strength of Garmin’s navigation ensures that you will always have signal and consistent data. Cost: Starting at $152 on Amazon.

3.  Couch to 5K
Couch to 5K is designed for beginners who don’t know where to start when it comes to running. The application includes a rigid training program that, if followed, will prepare you to run a 5K. Integrating motivational talks with custom music preferences, this application also gives users a discount on local 5K races once they are ready to race. This is a great application to share with friends who are interested in getting active but don’t know where to start.  The Couch to 5K structure inspires self-discipline and dedication. Cost: $1.99, available for iOS and Android.

4.  Zombies, Run!
Sometimes running away from something can be just as motivating as running toward a finish line. If you’re willing to suspend disbelief for a while and have fun doing it, Zombies, Run! will create a unique running experience for you. Choose from over 40 storylines (“Hundreds of lives are counting on you. You’ve got to help your base rebuild from the ruins of civilization by collecting critical supplies while avoiding roving zombie hordes.”), choose your playlist, and while you run, your music will integrate with story elements to provide a unique running experience.  Zombies, Run! is a great app if you’re training for a 5K, 10K, mud run or even an obstacle course like The Walking Dead Escape. Cost: $7.99 on iOS, Android and Windows.

5.  Ghost Race
One of the most motivating forces is the idea of beating ourselves. Ghost Race will keep track of all your data and provide you with graphical representations of your progress in beating yourself. If you are curious about where you are in your run but don’t want to stop to look at your device, you can set up Ghost Race to give audio cues for status updates. Knowing you are beating your personal best is a satisfying feeling and Ghost Race will help you do so with clarity. Cost: Free for Lite version, $.99 Pro version available for iOS and Android.

There are many applications, tools and gadgets available for runners these days. What’s more important than finding just the right application is that you remain dedicated to working hard and continue to grow as a runner, which we are confident you will do!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mud Runs: Just As Fun for Spectators

Ever been to a regular 5K, half- or full-marathon, but not competed?  Yeah, it’s not that fun.  You probably just stood on the side of a city street as racers passed you with looks of defeat on their faces.  At Ruckus, we think the experience should be just as fun for the spectators as it is for our RuckStars.   

Back to those repetitive road races – we’re guessing you went to a spot on the course, saw your friend or family member pass by, then moved to one or two other spots to watch them momentarily pass again.  We know you want to watch your loved ones struggle up some of our daunting obstacles, so we make nearly the entire course visible to spectators.  Beforehand, you can decide if you want to see them crawl through mud pits, climb up and over walls or tackle countless other challenges. 

Plus, once your runner’s heat is over and you’ve had your fill of watching them get extra messy, you will have the chance to experience the great Ruckus atmosphere with all of the competitors (although you won’t be as muddy!).  The spectator area at Ruckus also features a health and fitness expo, a beer garden and food trucks – the recipe to an awesome Saturday whether you’re running or just watching. 

Be sure to reserve your spectator pass online for only $10 and be a part of the fun and exciting atmosphere at Ruckus (children under the age of 10 and registered participants do not have to purchase a spectator pass). Or we guess you could stand on the street during your husband’s regular 5K and hand him water as he drenches you in sweat.  It’s up to you.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

5 Most Common Mud Run Injuries

Unfortunately, participating in any sporting event runs you the risk of injury, and mud runs are no exception! We stress the importance of having a great time at Ruckus, but just as important is being safe.  We encourage all competitors to be weary of some possible injuries that may also result from a mud run (and we will give you tips on how to prevent them, too!): 

1.      Heat-related injuries

As you know, Ruckus comes to Kansas City on April 6.  Spring season will be in full force and there is always the chance for a summer-like scorcher (especially with the unpredictable weather in the Midwest!).  Additionally, our Ruckus races will be held in the middle of summer in both Boston (June 15 & 16) and Pittsburgh (July 13).  Being fully hydrated and nourished before, during and after the mud race is absolutely crucial.  More important than stretching or a few pre-race striders is ensuring that your body has the necessary nutrients to take on some daunting obstacles.  So make sure you show up to Ruckus ready for battle, armed with the essentials: water, sports drinks and of course, bananas (but we will provide you with that too!). 

2.      Sprained ankles

During the Ruckus run, you will use just about every muscle, bone and tendon in your body.  But your feet and legs are still as important as they would be in a road race.  Ankles can sprain easily on something as miniscule as one awkward step; so when running on so many different terrains, solid ground is not always a given.  We recommend maintaining focus on the people and space around you, keeping an eye on uneven ground, as well as other competitor’s feet.  And make sure you train before Ruckus.  If your feet, legs and ankles aren’t strong enough for competition, you run a greater risk of getting injured. 

3.      Random cuts and bruises

Do yourself a favor and stop by the drug store on the way to Ruckus and pick up a pack of Band-Aids.  Sorry folks, but you’re probably going to get a few boo-boos along the way (especially if you’re tackling the obstacles as hard as you can!).  If you don’t get a few cuts and bruises, then you probably skipped a few of the challenges we offer (which is still okay).  With more than 20 fun and difficult obstacles, Ruckus might leave you with a few stories to tell at the water cooler at work on Monday.  Remember: cuts and bruises fade, your Ruckus accomplishment will last a lifetime. 

4.      Rope burn and splinters
We know that the word “race” usually implies an emphasis on your lower body, but if you haven’t yet realized that Ruckus is no ordinary race, then it’s time to start catching on.  Your upper body is going to be just as sore the next day!  You will be challenged to pull yourself over eight-foot walls, climb over twisted fences and swing rope-to-rope like Tarzan.  Unless your hands are already calloused, then prepare for a few discolored digits.  But we guarantee you won’t notice any of that before you start enjoying some adult beverages post-race.  To avoid any rope burn or splinters, we recommend wearing padded gloves (like fingerless weight lifting gloves) during the race. 

5.      Damaged egos

Hopefully by now you have talked some family, friends and co-workers into signing up and competing as a team.  With this friendly competition undoubtedly comes a little extra something on the line.  We want each RuckStar to leave it all out on the course, but make sure you save a little extra something for that last kick before the finish line, otherwise your boss or older sibling (or even worse...younger) might pass you.  You may still walk away with a medal, but he or she will also walk away with a year’s worth of bragging rights…and neither ice nor Ibuprofen can heal that!  How can you avoid a damaged ego?  Start training NOW!! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Destroy This Ruckus Obstacle: Down-n-Outs!

Try not to be too discouraged by the name of this obstacle—down-n-outs! It’s one of the many aspects that make Ruckus so much more unique (and fun if you ask us) than all those other races.

On some of our obstacles, you’ll need to sprint.  On others, you’ll need to climb.  On some, you’ll need to crawl.  But in the pesky Down-n-Outs section of our race, you’ll be doing a little bit of everything.

As we like to say, getting down into the mud is the easy part.  But getting out of these craters is where champions are made.  We figured that you could keep a few tips in the back of your mind if you happen to get stuck in the Ruckus Down-n-Outs: 

Enter the Terrain  
The first part is simply entering the challenging terrain.  The switch from running on grass to a giant mud pit can be quite a shocking change—especially if you’ve been practicing running on pavement and not on grass or mud.  Once you approach the Down-n-Outs, pick up your speed a little bit.  You want to go into the obstacle with momentum, so the mud is not overwhelming at first.   Power into this one!

Crawl on all Fours
Once you’ve gotten your shoes a little dirtier, be prepared to rub a little mud on your hands and knees as well.  There is absolutely no shame in crawling on all fours, like you did as a three-month old.  In fact, we recommend it.  When faced with mud up to your knees, you’ll need all the strength you can gather to push forward. 

Climb Your Heart Out
Soon enough, you’ll be able to see light at the end of the tunnel, or the grass at the end of the mud.  That’s when you know you are almost at the “out.”  This phase is all about climbing.  Your lower body has been taxed throughout the race, now this is a chance to show off that upper body strength you’ve been working on!  Give everything you have to pull yourself out of the pit.  And if you aren’t able, luckily you were smart enough to sign up with your team of friends, family and co-workers who will help lift you out of that muddy mess!

So follow these tips and the Down-n-Outs will be a breeze.  Or don’t, and you’ll look like this!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

One Month Training Guide for a Mud Run

We are less than one month away from the Kansas City Ruckus mud run (and we’re expecting the 10:00am and 11:00am waves to sell out this week!)  This is an exciting and important time for everyone involved in Ruckus. While one month may seem like a while, it will go by fast! It’s important to maintain strong consistency with your training in order to achieve the mud run goal you’ve been working toward (and maybe even surpass it!).

So whether you’re a veteran runner or a first-time participant in a mud run, these helpful tips will ensure your success:

1.      Step up your training.
When runners are training for a marathon, they begin their hardest workouts a month before the big race. Training for the Ruckus, or any mud obstacle course for that matter, is no different. Begin your longest, hardest workouts now to make sure your body is totally prepared for the mud run. If you’ve been running three miles a day to train, start running four. That extra push will put you over the competitive edge.

2.      Get your gear in order.
Now is the time to take a full inventory of all your gear for the mud run. Leave nothing unaccounted for. This is important to do especially if you are ordering specific types of shoes or clothing that are only available online (this will ensure that ample time is allotted for shipping). It would be really disappointing to have a key piece of gear missing on race day. (Another helpful tip: don’t wear brand new shoes on race-day whether you’re in a mud run or a regular race.  First are foremost, you don’t want to ruin them.  And secondly, without breaking in your shoes properly, you could damage your feet with blisters and calluses.) 

3.      Beat yourself.
If you’re participating in Ruckus, odds are you love the idea of being the best version of yourself you can be. If you haven’t already been keeping track of your mile-times, pace and intervals, do so now. One month out from the mud run, track how long your runs are taking you and aim to improve by a few seconds each time. When it comes time to participate in mud run, a few seconds can make or break a runner winning a heat. MapMyRUN has excellent tools to help you track your routes, progress and times. Set out to beat yourself!

4.      Rest up.
The month before an event like Ruckus can lead to lack of sleep (perhaps you lay awake visualizing crossing the finish line!). However, research shows that lack of sleep can severely impair your physical capabilities. Sleep deprivation also takes a while to recover from, so sleeping a lot a couple of day before Ruckus won’t do you much good. Instead, reorient your life to match a healthy sleep schedule. You’ll be much better off for it in the long run – not just for Ruckus, but in general.

5.      Revel in your impending glory.
You are so close! You have taken a bold risk by stepping outside of your comfort zone and you have prepared for quite some time. Now it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Push through and achieve the dream you’ve been looking forward to! In a month, we’ll be applauding you as you reach the finish line. For now, we’re applauding you as you approach the starting line. Let’s do this!

Have tips on how you're training for Ruckus?  Want to share your training experience with us?  Have an incredible Ruckus training story?  Share it on Facebook

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top 5 Tips for Pacing Yourself During an Obstacle Course

Once you have sorted out the pre-competition details such as a clever team name and in which race you will compete, your focus should turn to the Ruckus course itself.  With April 6th and Kansas City’s event rapidly approaching, we encourage our participants to have an idea of how they will attack the race.  We’re here to give you a few tips on how to pace yourself during this unique running experience—the mud obstacle course: 

  1. Have a goal in mind before the race.  First and foremost, Ruckus is about enjoying a fun and unique style of exercise.  But we also understand and encourage our runners to push themselves to the best of their abilities.  Knowing your pace beforehand can be crucial.  So before you toe the starting line, try to have an idea of a time or position at which you hope to finish.  If you have partaken in a Ruckus before, try to beat your previous time.  Or maybe you want to try to finish in the top half of your starting wave.  Regardless, go into the race with a goal!   
  1.  Run with a partner, or a few.  This is more of a personal preference, but if you are in the business of maintaining a steady pace, competing alongside a friend, family member or co-worker is a great way to not get ahead of yourself.  It’s crucial to plan ahead and make sure that you will be in the same wave as your teammate; otherwise your day might be ruined!
  1. Don’t start too fast.  We can tell you right now that your adrenaline will be pumping as your grouping heads for that first obstacle.  But don’t get ahead of yourself!  There are more than 20 obstacles looming ahead of you.  Stay within your limits, especially if you are attempting the four-mile Challenge race.  The first quarter-mile of the course is not going to make or break your final time and placement, but if you don’t have any energy left with half of the race left, it’s a whole different story. 
  1. Pick which obstacles you really want to attack.  With countless challenging obstacles littered throughout the race, you probably aren’t going to be able to give 100% on all of them.  After exploring the course, make sure you have an idea of which obstacles you can attack full speed ahead.  If you think you are upper-body strong, then go after the Nose Bleed Nets and Gr8 Walls of Ruckus.  If you rely more on your speed and agility, then attack the Down-n-Outs and Tirefield.  Either way, try to push yourself on at least a few of the obstacles!
  1. There is no pace at the end of the race.  Plain and simple—give it everything you’ve got once you start sniffing that finish line.  You should be proud of yourself for having come out to exercise on a Saturday in the first place, but you should really make it worth your while and sprint the end.  You have the rest of the weekend to relax.  This is a perfect chance to earn some bragging rights over your running partner!
The way you run your Ruckus race is totally in your hands.  We just suggest you have an approach in mind.  We don’t want to find you taking a nap in the Mud Garden mid-way through the race!  So pace yourself and you’ll be a RuckStar.