To answer that question you’d have to have a conversation with Ultra Marathon Runner Dennis Koors, only he would have the precise time down to the second of how long it would take. 135 miles took him only a mere 40hrs. 13 minutes, and 36 seconds to complete the Bad Water Ultra Marathon. If you don’t know anything about this particular event, bottom line is that there are only a handful of people in the world who qualify to enter and even a fewer number who can complete the race.

It starts in the bowels of Death Valley California, which is the lowest elevation in North America at 282 ft Below Sea level and ends at the Base of Mt. Whitney roughly at 8,000 ft above Sea Level. That’s running on a constant incline of 135 miles up over 8,000 ft. No, he’s not crazy as he states that it took him years of preparation mentally and physically to complete his goal. “I ran my first marathon in 1999 and have been hooked ever since. Knock on wood I haven’t suffered any injuries. The Bad Water Marathon was the anomaly for me. My greatest wish going into that epic event was not to master it, but to attempt to become a little part of it and become a more enriched person from the experience. .In the sport of Ultra Marathon Running it was my Gold Medal, My Championship, and My own personal experience that will last me a lifetime.”

Dennis takes a different approach on his preparation for such an event. Not to be confused with having the standard frame of a typical runner, who might seem frail and skinny, Dennis stands 6’1” 185lbs. with about 5% bodyfat and has more of a Football Wide Receiver physique. “I need to be well balanced to run. I think that focusing too much on just training by running miles and miles is not the way that the body is designed to function. Sure, I run every day, but you need muscle definition, and you need to be strong. That’s where the iron weights come into my training. Your bones are taking a pounding on the ground every stride and so I make sure that they take the pounding in the weight room to prepare myself every time I run. Even holding a water bottle over the course of 135 miles takes a toll. Think about how your arm and grip strength must be to hold on to a 2-3lb dumbbell for that long.”

Dennis’ workout consists of a regular schedule of 4-5 days per week in the gym. He hits every muscle group and changes the sets and reps every week varying the weight each week. Depending on the day and his schedule he maintains making sure to hit every muscle group at least once per week. A typical routine per body part is below in no particular order.

Squats/Leg press- 3-4/ 10-15 reps
Lunges- 2-3/ 8-12 reps
Leg Extension- 3/10

Plyo- Pushups- 2/6 reps (warm up)
Db Bench Press- 3-4/ 10-15 reps
Cable Fly- 3/10 reps

Wrist Curls- 2/ failure
Hammer curls- 4-5/ 15-20 reps
Barbell Curls- 3/10 reps
Triceps Kickbacks- 4/ 15-20 reps

DB Shoulder Press 3/10 reps
Side lateral Raise- 3/15-20 reps
DB Front Raise- 3/15-20 reps
DB Upright Row- 3/15-20 reps

Good Mornings- 3/6 reps
Back Extensions- 3/15 reps
Bent over Row- 3/12-15 reps

Heavy Weighted Incline Crunches- 3/ Failure
Cable Crunches- 3/25 reps

“I focus a lot of my training around many core movements as well. Posture is a must when you run for that amount of time so having a strong Core is a must.”

Core Training
Russian Twists
Overhead Squats
DB One legged Romanian Deadlifts

Dennis states that in becoming one of the World’s Elite Runners he found that Plyometrics have become one of the most important parts of his Training. “They prepare my legs and feet for the forceful impact during the marathons. I do a lot of Bounding types of exercises, such as Broad Jumps, Jump In Place, and Depth Jumps to a Box Jump.”

No matter how tough his physical approach is when it comes to such a tremendous race, Dennis prepares himself twice as much mentally. “Like any athlete getting ready for a game or match, the mental aspects of running for that long are the hardest obstacles to overcome. You’re dealing with your entire body telling you and giving you every indication possible to stop and quit, including hallucinations, but you have to overcome that by having the mental strength to keep going.”

Just like in the weight room he explains when your body can’t see itself getting that last rep or finishing that last set, you have to prepare yourself for the battle within to finish. But as Dennis will tell you “Hey that’s life, and we all need to battle with our marathons each and every day, even if it includes the traffic you sit in during that 100 mile trip. Just look over your shoulder or rear view mirror, I’ll be the one running by. See you when you get there.”