Training for the Death Race

  • By Paul Moore
  • Published April 12, 2012
Ken Lubin with another of his crazy exercise routines...

Training for the Death Race is one of the most confusing things that I do – by Ken Lubin

Picture training for a race that you have no idea how long it will last, what events it will entail, and what weather you will face. I know of no other races in the world that have this much uncertainty and training for something this absurd is very interesting.

As published in by Mark Jenkins in Outside Magazine puts it, the quote from Race founder Joe DeSana the best training method is as follows “Check yourself into a state prison and get into as many fights as possible” and “Have some teeth pulled without drugs.”  Read more here

My training methods are bit more diverse than this, a bit more fun, but challenging none the less. This is a race you can never stop training for, because if you do, you won’t finish. It took about 45 days last summer to recover from the race, to the point that your legs don’t feel it anymore. Being a type A, I was back at it about 2 weeks after the race, vowing no matter what, I was going to finish this F**king thing this year.

I have always been one who loves to train, push my limits, and coming up with new ideas for preparing is what I do for fun, I think I found my niche. I have a great combination of strength, endurance with some speed mixed in, but not much. I am like a diesel, once I get going I will not stop. With that being said I am much bigger than most runners or cyclists, but for adventure racing, these attributes are good things.

Going into in the fall of this year (2011) is when I started to kick it into high gear for the June 15th 2012 event. I started with longer endurance runs and rides, but starting to mix in push ups and burpees during my workouts. I will stop every 15 minutes and do 25 pushups, or 10 burpees. This progressed into overnight training with a group of sadistic manimals where we flipped large tires, split cords of wood, rolled around in the mud, and built a bridge in the middle of the night with nothing but twine and what we could cut down.

As the winter continued I start pushing the limits a bit more and more. During the week each morning I will do a core exercise workout that includes 150 leg lifts, 150 sit ups with 35lb plate behind my head, side ups and either dead lifts, cleans or squats. Then at lunch I would typically run 7-9 miles with a 30lb weight vest, doing 20 pushups every 15 minutes. In order to get my wood chopping form perfected, I would run 2 miles with my weight vest and an axe to an area where I would chop wood and to get my body more accustomed for the cold, I would sit in ice laden water for 2 intervals of 5 minutes to train my legs and core on being numb.

Both of my kids are in a ski program in the winter so I need to get up at 4:30am to get some good training in to get back and get them and me ready for the ski day. Most Saturday and Sunday mornings I would do a 5 mile up and back 2500 vertical foot trail run/hike with a 30lb weight vest, and snowshoes. I would then come home, grab my wife and kids to then go skiing for the day.

With just over 2 months to go, the training is taking on a life of its. It will include pushing my kids for in their stroller for 20+ mile runs, doing some adventure races, chopping more wood, and carrying anything heavy I can find for long distances. I will also be working on sleep deprivation as well.

Training for and racing in the Death Race is like nothing I have ever done. I have learned more in the last 18 months about racing, efficiency, what I can and cannot do than I have in 20 years or adventure, bike, running or ski racing. If you ever want to want to see what you can or can’t do, I highly suggest participating in an event like this.

If you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

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Paul Moore

Paul Moore

Paul Moore is the Online Editor for Triathlete Europe. When not glued to a computer he can be found writing books - most recently Ultra Performance: The Psychology of Endurance Sports and The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges. Both are available on Amazon. Paul has also written Ultimate Triathlon: A complete training guide for long-distance triathletes which is also available on Amazon.