The Running Show caught up with ultra-runner and author Dean Karnazes

Dean, you’ve written five books, including two NY Times bestsellers. Your new book is titles, A Runners High. Tell us about it.

A Runner’s High is a story about running all over earth and the lessons and insights I have gleaned along the way. Being Greek, I have storytelling in my blood and A Runner’s High has received critical acclaim and is a bestseller. Many people read it in one sitting; they say they can’t put it down. Kilian Jornet wrote: “Dean writes in a direct and intimate way that keeps us reading like he runs—without stopping.”

Running 350 miles (560 km) in 80 hours and 44 minutes without sleep is a huge challenge, you did this in 2005. Has your views or preparation for night running changed since then?

One of the toughest things about an endeavor like that one is sleep deprivation, which is particularly vexing at night. A practical thing I’ve learned since then is that bright light helps keep you alert. Back then I didn’t pay much attention to the amount of light my headlamps cast. Now I do. Plus, headlamp technology has improved markedly since then so the equipment is lighter and more powerful.

You once ran a marathon in each of the 50 states in 50 consecutive days. What is the one thing you would advise anyone looking to take on consecutive day challenges?

I would recommend conditioning your entire body for the rigors of multiday racing. Having good overall strength is a tremendous asset going into it because your body is going to break down. Also make sure you have your nutrition figured out. Remember that you’ll need to consume many more calories throughout the day than you normally do. Some people’s stomachs can’t handle that. Lastly, have a backup plan for your backup plan. Shit will happen. What matters is how you respond when it does.

Why is it so important for you to encourage non running folk to start running?

I know this might come off as naive, but I honestly believe the world would be a better place if more people ran. Running teaches you humility, running helps you appreciate the environment and the air you breath (a runner is literally dependant on clean air), running improves both your physical and emotional health, and running builds community. And best of all, running is free.

It’s no secret that Boston is one of the best cities to lace up and pound the pavement. The city has been named the third best running city in America by Runners World, why do you think that is?

Boston has the marathon. It was the original modern day marathon and the lore and legacy infuse the Boston running scene. Plus, there are plenty of open spaces and a strong running culture in Boston. I can’t wait to get back!

 

You can buy a runners high here https://ultramarathon.com/books