5 Obstacle-Course Racing Tips

Two-time World's Toughest Mudder champ Junyong Pak, 36, on mastering the mud

May 15, 2014
Outside Magazine

Pak usually advises arm protection during obstacle-course races.    Photo: Courtesy of Junyong Pak

BUDDY UP: Train and race with a partner. When you know someone else is suffering with you, you’ll be less inclined to let them down—and vice versa. It’ll also help ease race-day worries. It’s a good format for success.

GET A TIRE: Go to a tire shop, get a free used tire, drill a hole in it, put a rope through the hole, then drag that thing everywhere. If you can slog out several miles ­doing that, you’ll be well prepared for the mental strains you’ll experience in a race, because you’ll be working for every step.

HIT THE HILLS: More and more of these races seem to take place on ski slopes, with serious elevation gain. Go find a big hill and run up and down it, perhaps with a weighted pack. Don’t do it every day—you want to give your body time to repair itself. But you definitely want to simulate this race condition in training.

PROTECT YOUR ARMS: I’ve been wearing OCR Gear’s Pro Arm compression sleeves ($30). They work really well when you’re ­going ­under barbed-wire-crawl sections. They protect your elbows from getting scratched. Get a dark color, so the mud doesn’t stain and you can reuse them. 

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS: A GPS watch is immensely helpful for someone like me who feeds on information. It can tell you how far along you are, so you’re not wondering how much is left and you can give a strong finish. The Garmin Forerunner 310XT ($250) is a good fit for obstacle racing. It’s rugged, it’s waterproof, and it gives you more info than you’ll ever need.

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