Dean Karnazes Daily Training – Ultra Marathon Man

Dean Karnazes

Dean Karnazes is known as the Ultra Marathon Man. He has accomplished super-human feats in racing and endurance events. While the average person may not dare to attempt to do what he has, it is still interesting to read about how he trains, eats, as well as what he has managed to accomplish. Here are some of Dean’s most notable achievements:

  • Ran 350 miles (560 km) in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep in 2005
  • Single-handedly completed “The Relay”, a 199-mile (320 km) run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz, eleven times
  • Ran a marathon to the South Pole in -13 °F (-25 °C) temperatures without snowshoes in 2002
  • Ran 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days in 2006

With a record like that, you have to wonder about his mentality and training habits. Here is what I scoured up around the interwebs:

Training Advice from Dean Karnazes

“Build your endurance with dual cardio workouts,” Karnazes says. “Do cardio in the morning and repeat it in the evening — a minimum of 45 minutes each on the treadmill, the elliptical, or whatever your preferred machine is.” [source:]

Strength Training:
If he could do one strength training exercise it would be push-ups. [source:]

Recovery: Listen to everyone follow no one. I never stretch. There are other guys I run with who are elite runners that do a whole lot of stretching. To me active recovery is better than passive recovery. So I always try to follow up a long run with some sort of activity. I’m also a big proponent of ice baths. [source:]

Long Distance Training:
I do a lot of marathons as training runs. If I’m somewhere and there’s a marathon, I’ll sign up and just go run it. I’m also very opportunistic in my training. If I’ve got half an hour, I will throw on my running shoes and train. I have my whole office set-up at waist level, I don’t sit at all during the day. Sitting, to me, is the devil. [source:


  • Favorite healthy food: Wild Pacific Salmon
  • Food or meal eaten before/after an event: Water
  • I eat nothing that’s processed or refined — no high-fructose corn syrup, no sugar, no trans-fats. I eat a lot of fish and monounsaturated fats from olives, olive oil and nuts. A lot of organic, fresh fruits and vegetables. No bread. No gluten. No wheat. No rice. I use a formula of roughly 500 to 700 calories per hour of running I do, based on the intensity and heat.

Besides all of his training advice, I feel his diet is of most importance. He stays away from all processed food. You can tell that he views food as fuel for the body. In one interview I came across, he mentioned ordering a pizza during one of his long distance events because it was convenient and he needed the calories. However, it also made him feel worse after eating it. I think it’s important to view food as fuel as it helps to avoid the junk food that is so readily available.

As far as his actual physical training goes, it may be extreme for most of us but it is very motivational. Dean Karnazes is definitely someone to admire and use as motivation when you feel like skipping a workout.


Author: Eartha Haines

My name is Eartha and I created this blog as a motivational resource for myself to keep up with exercise and eating right. I enjoy reading, learning, and writing about all things fitness related. I hope that as well as motivating myself, others may find motivation to try fitness as well. Learn more.

1 thought on “Dean Karnazes Daily Training – Ultra Marathon Man”

  1. You’re right, I don’t think anyone would dare do the things he has done. But it was an interesting read and definitely inspiring. I should have my work area set up at the waist level…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *