How to Train Like the World’s Toughest Mudder
Junyong Pak, two-time winner of the world’s most badass obstacle course race, reveals how he stays fit for the challenge.
MF: It sounds like physical strength is only half the battle. How important is you mental state in a race like this?
JP: Zero of my training runs are done in the mornings—I’m not a morning person—which means that all of my volume is done pretty late at night on a single run. There are some days when I finish work and it’s freezing cold. It’s raining, snowing, sleeting—and I’m exhausted. These are the days I garner the most benefit mentally because I have to summon the will to get out there. If you say you might go for a run after work, you probably won’t. If you say you absolutely will...that’s what happened here. I said I cannot stop if I want to win this year. Making that mental commitment to carrying out the plan— that’s how you do it.
MF: Each year Tough Mudder raises the stakes. Were there any unexpected challenges on the course this year?
JP: There were numerous obstacles, like the funky monkey, that started to get so extremely muddy they became almost impossible. You had to put 150% of your effort into it. It was no joke.
MF: So what are you going to do with the $15,000 prize?
JP: I’m going to take my parents on a really nice vacation. My dad is 81 years old and he still works six days a week. He hasn’t had a real proper vacation in years—so I’d like to take him on one and help him retire.