Skip to main content.
Winter is On!
Team CLIF Bar's Winter Stoke Meter is HIGH!
Chris Benchetler getting it good. photo - Peter Morning
Team Clif Bar Blog
Nov 10, 2011
Johnson Takes On the Toughest Mudder!

If you follow endurance sports on any level, you have undoubtedly witnessed the recent surge in popularity of Tough Mudder events.  Rather than focusing on finishing times or placings, these obstacle-oriented team events put fun, camaraderie, and… mud, first.  And, it’s obviously a successful formula, as each event within the international series attracts some 20,000 participants, and most have large waiting lists, as well.  But, don’t let the all-inclusive, non-intimidating nature of these events fool you:  These are incredibly tough races – the courses are designed by British Special Forces - and many athletes train specifically to place well, beat their friends, or win the whole thing. 

Training for a Tough Mudder event can take many forms, however, and Team CLIF Bar ultra-runner Eric Johnson recently checked in to share some of his secret training…

A few weeks back, Eric threw his hat into the Tough Mudder ring at a local race in Lake Tahoe.  Despite having never before raced an obstacle course event, his overall fitness and competitive nature was enough to propel him into the top five percent of all finishers, qualifying him for the Toughest Mudder World Championships in New Jersey on December 17th and 18th.  The 24-hour race will be a grueling test of strength and determination, and the cold and potentially wet weather will likely be a factor.  The Mudder organization expects fewer than ten percent of all participants to finish!  Eric is now on a mission to finish well and has designed a somewhat insane training program to get him there.  Check out what an average Saturday looks like for Eric in his remote training base in the Sierra Nevada foothills:

"This morning the starting temp was only 36 degrees.  It was good - I wanted it a little colder, but 36 is pretty good.  At 7:30 am I parked at the bottom of Stage Coach at the confluence in Auburn.  Ran a mile up on the east side of the river on the trail, passing underneath the Foresthill Bridge to Monkey Rock.

There I jumped off the 15-20 ft drop into the river with my shoes and all my clothes on, swam 4 laps back and forth across the river, got out, did some pushups and jumping jacks.

Then I ran up 2.5 miles to the top of the mountain on Lower Clementine Road.  Once at the top, I turned around immediately and ran back down. Once back to Monkey Rock, I jumped into the river again and did 4 laps, got out, more pushups, and charged the hill again.

I repeated this routine for 3 times. After the 3rd time, I jumped in again at Monkey Rock and did 4 more laps on the way back to the car. Non-stop took me close to 3 hours. About 17-18 miles total with about 7,000 ft ascend and 7,000 ft descend. I may have officially lost my mind now."

So, next time you’re ready to hit ‘submit’ on that Tough Mudder registration form…remember – this is what you’re up against! 

Good luck, Eric!  We know you’ll do us proud in Jersey!   

Posted by: 
Eric @Clif
blog comments powered by Disqus