dean karnazes

Q and A
Thanks for all the great questions! I pulled together some of the most frequently asked and answered those below. Beyond just giving you my answers, I hope my responses are ultimately useful. In any event, I was glad to see so many thoughtful comments coming in.

Q: Do you cross train?

A: Like crazy. I cross train with other outdoor sports (e.g., cycling, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, etc.), as well as do sets of push-ups, pull-ups, dips and sit-ups throughout the day (my friends call the program I follow the “Dean Routine”). I rarely use weights. Recently, I’ve been cross training with this device called an ElliptiGO and it’s quickly become an integral part of my conditioning and endurance building plan. I love the thing!

Q: Have you ever been injured?

A: Knock on wood (i.e., the side of my head), no. I attribute my lack of injuries primarily to cross training (see above). To everyone who has asked me questions about injuries: I'm unqualified to answers these question because I don’t have any firsthand experience from which to draw. Guess I should consider myself lucky.

Q: Are you ever going to get that TV show off the ground? I sure hope so!

A: I am trying. The TV world is a funny place. I really want to keep this show authentic and real. Some of the offers I’ve had thrown my way feel kind of phony and contrived, so I’ve turned them down. I recently did a segment on 20/20 that got a favorable response, so I remain hopeful. Here is a link if you are interested in watching it: Superhuman

Q: What’s the biggest impediment to getting kids fit?

A: In a word, parents. Setting a good example is the only way to lead.

Q: Are you writing another book?

A: Yes. It will be out early next year. Many thanks to all of you who’ve inquired. More as the time approaches.

Q: What's your favorite candy/treat?

A: I have a particular weakness for chocolate-covered espresso beans.

Q: Do you ever not feel motivated to run? If so, what gets you out the door?

A: Getting motivated can be tough. As anyone reading this knows, running isn’t always the most inviting of pastimes. There is a measure of discipline involve in dragging your butt off the couch some days, and I am not immune. I use a technique called projection. In essence, it involves projecting those favorable emotions and feelings you have after you’ve completed the run as an impetus to get out the door. Many times it’s just a matter of getting down the block. Once you’re out and moving, momentum takes over.

Q: How do you get by on four hours of sleep a night?

A: I think it’s hereditary. My dad sleeps very little. It’s not for everyone. There are guys I train with who are insane athletes and they sleep eight or nine hours a night (sometimes 10 or 11!). Me, I can’t sleep more than four or five.

Q: What’s your best bit of advice?

A: Listen to everyone; follow no one. We are each unique, what works for me may not work for you. Seek advice, listen, analyze, experiment, and test new things. Then, go with what works best for you.

Q: What’s your favorite place to run?

A: I’ve had the good fortune of running and racing on all seven continents, twice over, so I’ve seen some of the most exotic and magical places on earth. Still, my favorite place to run is in the San Francisco Bay area. As they say, it’s always best in your own back yard.

Q: I’ve started to increase my mileage and it’s really painful. Any tips?

A: As my junior high track coach, Mr. McTavish, once told me: “If it’s fun, you’re doing something wrong. It’s supposed to hurt like hell.” So it sounds like you’re doing everything just perfectly.

Q: If you could run a marathon with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

A: The living one.

Q: What is your take on barefoot running?

A: I’ve long advocated barefoot running on the beach in the soft sand. I’ve been doing this for years. As for running barefoot on other surfaces, I haven’t tried it. I’m not sure we’re engineered to run barefoot on pavement. With regard to minimalist footwear, I’m a big believer. I think Newton has done a really good job.

Q: What’s next?

A: I was thinking perhaps 50 states, 50 couches, 50 beers (HA! HA!). In all seriousness, beyond the many great marathons and ultras upcoming throughout the year, I’m planning on some larger format adventures in 2011 and 2012. One will be based in the US, and the other will be global. Here’s where you come in: Both of these events will be open for others to join me (for as long, or as short, as you so desire). The 50 marathons, 50 states, 50 days endeavor was so meaningful because of the thousand of other runners who joined alongside me during the event. Together, we had a huge effect (while also having a great time!). If you are interested, I’ll be posting more information in the Schedule of my web site as the dates draw nearer. Hope to see you soon!