TOTW: Cold Water Torture

Last week’s nor’easter reminded us all that winter is a lot closer than we think. Hibernators will soon be snuggled up in layers of wool blankets and fleece sweatshirts, struggling to keep the chill in the air from reaching the slightest sliver of skin. But mud run maniacs are not hibernators. Instead, we not only live for extreme mud running, but for extreme weather, and the dead of winter is no exception.

The larger mud run events like Tough Mudder, Spartan Race and Warrior Dash are scheduled throughout the U.S. all winter long. Each of these races will not only feature incredibly demanding mud-ridden obstacles, but they will undoubtedly include a number of water challenges that are sure to shock your system.

Cold weather brings out the best in us all.

If you have a run scheduled for the winter months, than you know that sitting on the couch all winter long is not an option. Instead, break out your best polar bear interpretation and prepare for ice-cold water obstacles by taking a cold shower at the end of your workouts. Alternatively, you could take a quick dip in a pool, lake, or ocean, which is a bit less excruciating than tip-toeing into a cold shower. Whatever your method of cold-water torture, the most important thing is that you do it, especially if you plan to run a winter mud run.

Cold water torture has its perks.

Getting yourself better prepared to plunge into icy cold water during your mud run isn’t the only benefit of a cold water wake-up call. There’s a bundle of wonderful physiological and mental pros as well, such as:

  • Better blood circulation – probably the most popular effect of a cold water shower, bath or plunge is an increase in healthy blood circulation. And better blood circulation means a quicker recovery time from a tough workout. For the best effect, it is recommended that you switch the temperature from hot to cold a few times during your shower. This will effectively stimulate your circulatory system and increase your overall circulation.
  • Better alertness – next time you are feeling fatigued, skip the 5-Hour Energy and opt for the Au natural effects of icy cold water. A sudden shift to a cool temperature will help shock your body awake and provide you better mental alertness throughout the day.
  • Better mood – submerging yourself in cold water is also a great way to reverse some of the effects of depression. In fact, researchers recommend a two-three minute cold shower once a day to help turn your frown upside down.
  • Benefits galore: cold water is also known to enhance immunity against infections and cancer, increase your metabolism, normalize your blood pressure and detoxify your body. For a quick list of 21 benefits of cold water, check this out.


Get yourself adjusted to the cold water before your mud run. The more you practice, the less jolting that 40 degree H20 will be to your system, the quicker you will recover, and the happier you will be.

Mud Run Maniac wants to know what you think...Do you polar plunge or take cold showers prior to your winter mud runs? Do you use cold water as a therapeutic or health measure? Leave your comments below. Please no spammy spammers. Thanks!

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Mud Run Maniac
Mud Run Maniac

I'm the proud owner of, specializing in mud run training and tips! The mud run community is growing fast and I’ve made it my responsibility to keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest mud running topics.

3 comments… add one
  • Bruce Nov 5, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Just ran in the ABFMUDRUN.COM started off with water, continued with water, ended with water… Co-old! What a great first year for this 10k in Medford, NJ.

    • Mud Run Maniac Mud Run Maniac Nov 5, 2011, 4:41 pm

      Me too Bruce (twice!) That course was brutal (and fun)! I wasn’t prepared to swim that much. Props on getting through it. Looking forward to their next one in March.

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