by Carrie Adams
New York resident and 2008 Death Race Champion Chris Mitchell has some insights for our 2011 competitors. Here are his suggestions for those braving the Vermont mountains and the infamous race guaranteed to push you mind, body, and soul.
1. Every Death Race to date has included ascending and descending trails while
bearing substantial weight. Each year the actual weight and carrying method has
varied from a bicycle, to a log built cross, to rolls of pennies, however the
task itself produces a great deal of the physical wear and tear on the body.
Suggested training – Load a back pack with 50% of your weight and walk around
with it on for a minimum of 3 hours a day, at least 2 hours must be going up and
down stairs or a hill or anything you can find to intensify the load without
over burdening your knees. On both weekend days double the time you spend. If
you can manage more time DO IT, this will pay off more than anything else you do
to prepare physically. If you are feeling strong, carry weight in your hands
also during this time to simulate carrying logs, rocks or other objects. 4 days
before the race, stop this activity giving your body full rest.
2. Each Death Race has required participants to maintain upper and core body
strength with dexterity. Suggested Training – Push-ups, sit ups. At least 400
a day. It doesn’t matter if you do 10 at a time but do 400. It will strengthen
muscles you will need in order to complete tasks without injury. No real need
to do more as building mass here will just be more weight to carry and this is
an endurance race. Another excellent activity I recommend is holding the yoga
plank pose for 5 to 15 minutes at a time.
4. Sleep deprivation. You will be required to complete tasks after you are
physically exhausted and sleep deprived. Suggested Training – preferably a
workday but if you operate heavy machinery for a living or are in a profession
where a decision you make could injure another persons life then use your
discretion and opt for your day off. Set an alarm clock for every 2 hours, wake
up get out of bed, do 50 push ups, 50 sit ups, 50 squats. Pick 500 words of a
book or anything else and copy it with a pen on paper. Write a quick journal
entry of how you feel, what is working, what is hard, where there is resistance.
The following morning when you rise, noon time and before you go to sleep write
how you feel in your journal. The next day read your journal and note anywhere
there is mental, emotional or physical resistance to the activities. Figure out
a way to reduce the resistance. Repeat this task again and see how it goes the
5. Food and hydration. You will need to be able to eat and drink while you are
working out. Make sure you understand your limits of caloric intake and
hydration while exercising. The first point here is to have a plan on caloric
intake for your crew to help you follow. You will reach a point during the race
where your body needs energy but your stomach will not be in a condition to
handle food and your appetite with be gone. If you haven’t experienced this
before make sure you do before the race and figure out a plan on how to handle
it. Second and equally important is hydration. Hydration is essential in two
ways. Liquid for replenishment and vitamins/mineral replacements in order for
your body to sustain functioning at a high level. If you have never taken
electrolytes I suggest you become familiar with how and when you need them and I
don’t mean drinking Gatorade. Water intoxication is also possible and leads to
several endurance athletes dying every year.