FitStars: Dean Karnazes Talks Pizzarritos and Staying Motivated Run After Run

Interview With Dean Karnazes

What are a few of your favorite pre-, during and post-run snacks and drinks? Usually before a run I’ll have some Greek-style yogurt (unsweetened and full-fat) along with some berries or a chopped banana and some nuts, either almonds or walnuts. Afterward I’ll rehydrate with some ZICO coconut water (unsweetened is still my favorite) and lots of organic fruit. For protein, my favored go-to is wild Pacific salmon. Living in San Francisco, the supply of fresh seafood is abundant. I’m a big believer in the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.

We heard you created the pizzarrito (see the awesome video here), which is about the best invention ever. Can you tell us more about that? And do you have a favorite pizzarrito variety? Hawaiian-style is a must! Pepperoni is too spicy and doesn’t sit well. Order a thin-crust pizza and ask them not to slice it. This is important because when they deliver it to you, you roll the entire thing up into a big Italian burrito (hence: Pizzarrito!).

My general rule is that I only eat pizza during runs of 50 miles or further, but, of course, rules are meant to be broken! (Laughter)

You run SO MUCH. How do you stay motivated run after run? By keeping it fresh. I never run the same route two days in a row, and I mix it up by sometimes running on the road and sometimes running on natural surfaces and trails. Many times I run without listening to music, but sometimes I listen to music, or to audiobooks. I think I have nearly 300 audiobooks on my playlist.

From reader @TheBestWong: I just moved to New York from Colorado … tips for running when it’s icy or slushy snow? Shorten and widen your stride. Running in icy or slushy snow can be a great workout, but you need to adapt your running technique a bit to prevent sliding or falling. Also, gaiters come in handy to keep snow and moisture from entering through the collar of your shoe.

Another from reader @TheBestWong: What are some important strength training exercises I should be adding to my endurance running training? Anything that strengthens your legs, core and upper body is beneficial. Personally, I like doing natural body-resistance exercises, like push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, etc. … but I’m also a big proponent of CrossFit endurance.

From @1StopPoolPros: I had to give up running because my knees died from it (swim and bike only now). Any prevention tips? Strength training is tremendously beneficial for injury prevention and preservation of your knees and joints. Also, there is something call the ElliptiGO that I recommend you check out. Basically, it allows you to follow a natural running motion, but with zero impact on your knees or joints (plus, you get to enjoy the fresh air rather than being in a gym). Check it out here.

From @agbagshaw: How many pairs of trainers do you have? Do you get sentimental about some and refuse to part with them? Boy, you’re asking the wrong guy about this one. I have nearly 30 pairs of shoes in my closet at any given time. I love trying new shoes and new designs, and am constantly testing new shoes. Most of them I have no problem parting with because they’re pretty trashed when I get done with them. But I’ve got a couple faves I keep around for sentimental reason (after I deodorize them, of course … ha! ha! ha!)

Anything else you’d like to mention? “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up!” That was a quote from my first book (Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner), but I still really like it.

Who’s ready to go out for a run? And, maybe, just maybe, order a thin-crust Hawaiian pizza?! —Jenn

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  1. Melissa says:

    Totally enjoyed this. He’s looking good for 51!

  2. Jodi says:

    I cannot believe Dean’s list of accomplishments! I can’t even wrap my head around running 50 marathons in 50 days…in 50 different states. I mean…WHAT?
    On another note, that EllipiGO looks amazing!

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