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Mountains, Trails & Obstacles: 28 Minutes with Max King, the World’s Fastest Warrior Dash Athlete

In a world hyper focused on specialization, it’s rare to meet a modern Renaissance Man. But today, prepare yourself for an exclusive interview with Max King.

Max King

Max King has been dominating the running world for years. Listing his accomplishments would take thousands of words, so here’s a summary:

  • 6th place, 2012 Olympic Trials 3,000m Steeplechase
  • 1st place, 2011 & 2012 USATF Trail Running Championships
  • 4th place, 2014 Western States 100 mile endurance run
  • 1st place, 2012 XTerra Trail Running National & World Championship
  • 1st place, 2011 IAAF World Mountain Running Championship

He’s also a sponsored athlete, receiving support from Montrail, Mountain Hardwear, GU Energy Labs, and Swiftwick that help him chase championships and focus on his running.

But he’s not just a mountain, ultra, and trail running champion. Just last weekend, Max won the 2014 Warrior Dash World Championships by nearly a minute, crushing a stacked field and taking home a $30,000 prize purse.

You can see the impressive full results here.

What most intrigues me about his accomplishments is that his capabilities go both wide and deep. He does a lot – and he does it all incredibly well.

He’s not just a mountain runner, but he’s a national mountain running champion. 

He’s not just a trail runner, but he’s a national and world trail running champion.

He’s not just a road racer, but a 2:14 marathoner!

And Max is fast, too, having qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 3,000m steeplechase and placing 6th with a personal best time of 8:30 (by comparison, I’ve run 9:57).

What can we learn from a runner who can excel on mountains and the track? Running 3,000m or 100 miles?

After my own Warrior Dash win back in 2012, I was excited to catch up with Max and learn from the top obstacle racer in the world. Let’s dive in.

Max King, Warrior Dash Champion Interview

Now that I’m sufficiently humbled, it’s my pleasure to bring you this interview. We dive into everything: how he juggles the demands of very different running disciplines, his Warrior Dash race strategy, fueling and hydration strategies for unsupported long runs, and how to pace yourself on technical trails.

You can press the play button below to listen to the interview or click here to open the audio file in a new window (right click and “save as” to download the audio file to your computer).


Here’s what you can expect in this interview:

  • Max’s extensive running history and notable accomplishments
  • How he got into running and transitioned to trail and ultra running
  • What are staples of Max’s year-round training?
  • Why Max doesn’t periodize his training (and how it works for him)
  • Aerobic vs. anaerobic workouts and how to balance the two (and the top mistake most runners make with their running intensity)
  • What was Max’s race strategy for his Warrior Dash win?
  • How he tackled the obstacles – and his crazy barb-wire strategy
  • Why obstacle races can help most runners become faster
  • Reader question: what are Max’s long run nutrition and hydration strategies?
  • Reader question: how do you determine pace and effort on trails?

You can follow Max on Twitter or visit his website here to stay up to date on his training and racing.

I’ve also put together a free OCR report about the “5 Universal Truths” of obstacle course racing, showing you how to navigate the obstacles, finish faster, and avoid common mistakes.

Sign up here to get it!

Please join me in thanking Max for the interview and sharing his insights.

Now get out there and run up a mountain, on the trails, and over some obstacles!

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