Ever hear of an “ultrarunner” before? Whether you have or not, it would be hard to deny Dean Karnazes access to such an exclusive club.
Karnazes, who hails from California, has astonished analysts and researchers with his unbelievable ability to run for as long as three days straight. Yes, you read that correctly.
According to a recent article in the British publication The Guardian, Karnazes has run for three days and nights without stopping before, and has endured some of the toughest, most insane endurance challenges in the world including one at the South Pole in temperatures of -25 Celsius.
He said he has never experienced any sort of muscle burn or cramp despite going on runs of over 100 miles.
During the aforementioned three-day runs, he reports that he spent time “sleep-running” in an “almost psychotic state” according to the Guardian article. Sleep seems to be the only thing that slows him down, and he attributes a good portion of his unbelievable performance to a high alkaline diet.
Genetics and a non-toxic environment also are credited for his success, according to the article. Karnazes’ most special ability might be his muscles’ efficiency at clearing lactic acid from his system, in which genetics plays a major role. Of course, genes express themselves differently based on your environment, which is noted.
Karnazes discovered his abilities while preparing to run 50 marathons in 50 days across the U.S., and was eventually sent to a testing center in Colorado, which found that has lactic acid elimination abilities tested off the charts.
Along with his distance running prowess, Dean is also an established author who has written a book titled, ‘Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner.’
How to Get a High Alkaline Diet
A high alkaline diet is generally one that includes a large amount of vegetables and quality water. Some fruits are slightly alkalizing but many others are slightly acidifying. Others like lemons and limes are have a net alkaline effect despite containing citrus acids.
Among the highest-alkaline foods are: lettuce, spinach, cucumber, celery, dandelions, spirulina, kale, dulse, barley grass, wheatgrass, red peppers, tomatoes, cayenne pepper and other hot peppers, melons and avocadoes among many other items. These are mostly best for detoxifying the body, however, and are not necessarily the best choices for marathon running.
In the case of Karnazes, his diet is reportedly a mix of the paleo, raw pescatarian, and Mediterranean diets. He reportedly enjoys bananas (lots of fruit for energy in general), full-fat Greek yogurt, an extremely high amount of wild Pacific salmon, and an energy bar consisting of raw honey and sesame seeds called Pasteli (the company Jannis makes an organic version that is sold on Amazon).
For dinner, a large salad and fish (or bison) is usually consumed according to GQ Magazine, and he eats about 3,200 calories on normal days (about 8,000-10,000 on running days).
Karnazes also ran a famous Greek race that recreates the run of Pheidippides, the messenger who ran a highly difficult 153 mile stretch of terrain over 2,500 years ago from Athens to Sparta, Greece in order to proclaim a military victory over the Persians. He faced serious struggles midway through the race, which he blames on his traditional Greek diet of figs, olives and cured meat, and plain water without any electrolytes (he also ate the Pasteli bars).
Needless to say his diet must be having a tangible effect on his success.
Every body type is different, and training for serious athletic competitions requires a complete knowledge of what foods are best for each individual body.
But if the aforementioned foods are good enough for an ultrarunner such as Karnazes, they certainly ought to be good enough for the average 5K runner or other part-time athletes.
This article is for informational purposes only. It was written in August 2013 and updated in May 2018. Consult a doctor before running long distances or changing your diet. For more articles like these in your inbox, click here.