Athlete Profile, Andy Weinburg
About Andy Weinburg
Born to play hard, Andy Weinburg has built a career as an endurance athlete – as well as a race organizer of some of the world’s most difficult competitions. Once the owner of The Death Race and numerous endurance running and snow shoe races, Weinburg and his partner, Jack Cary, started The Endurance Society in 2014, an organization dedicated to those who are interested in difficult endurance races.
Andy Weinburg (44) of Pittsfield, Ver., was once very passionate about swimming. As a child, he competed as a long-distance swimmer and swam through college, spending his weekends cycling, paddling, camping, hiking, and basically any other outdoor activity. He took up long-distance running and triathlons as a hobby after college. “I always competed in the longest distances offered,” he said.
After completing his first marathon, Weinburg wanted more. He knew he had to push himself, but instead of running faster, he wanted to run farther. Weinburg then completed his first ultra distance run, the Ice Age 50 in Eagle, Wis., in his early 20s. “I had no idea what I was doing,” he said. “Much like my first triathlon, my first bike race, my first adventure race, etc.”
The experience was so inspiring that he was hooked, and has remained an ultra-marathoner ever since – that is, until he was bitten by the bug to do something more. As someone who enjoyed triathlons, open-water swimming, long-distance cycling, and adventure races, Weinburg wanted a new challenge. That was when he heard about the Double Ironman, and went off to compete at Lake Anna six times.
“I did a couple doubles and a few triples, and I really loved the people. But then I heard about the quintuple offered in the US, and I had to try it. I wanted to find out what my limits were; and this race certainly gave me that opportunity.” So Weinburg competed in the 2013 Lake Anna, Va., Anvil Quintuple Iron.
On Gear, Sponsors, and Training
Weinburg has never been that particular about the gear he uses, but likes to have the proper equipment in the winter so that he can stay out as long as possible and not worry about the elements. He is particular about lights, and prefers to have good lights while hiking, skiing, or cycling.
“I’ve had some gear sponsors over the years, but I’m not a sponsored athlete at this time,” he said.
In terms of training, Weinburg used to have a pretty intense training schedule, and at one point ran every day for two years; but he’s made some changes to balance work and life. In recent years, Weinburg has focused on one or two races per year, which may be complemented with other, shorter races. He will pick his “A” race – typically a long, more expensive endurance event, such as an ultra-triathlon or endurance run with entry fee and travel – and budget and plan accordingly.
The good thing is that Vermont, where Weinburg lives with his wife and two daughters, offers a lot of different training canvases where he can mix things up.
“I have a solid training plan when it’s necessary, but because of family and work, I don’t train as much as I’d like. I do the majority of my training during the early morning hours, and then I go longer on weekends. I prefer to mix it up and do a variety of things these days, and just focus on general fitness and having fun. I love road cycling, swimming, mountain biking, running, hiking, skiing, etc. I train with a variety of people, but I’m also fine training alone; I really enjoy being in the woods or on the roads alone, but I also like the camaraderie of training with others. In regards to training for a race, I don’t have a normal routine. In fact, many times I train with different disciplines…but when it comes down to it, I’m ready to train hard the last 30 days prior to the event,” he said.
“During competition I can be very relaxed, or I can be hyper-focused. Years ago I did lots of races, but in recent years it’s been easier for me to focus on one or two races per year. I really like to just choose one long-distance race per year and focus all of my mental energy on that race. I find that if I put in the work, then I believe in myself; and then reaching the goal isn’t a problem. The mental component of endurance racing is the coolest part for me. I love challenging my body, but the mental challenge is most rewarding. To be honest, I just like to test myself and see if I can endure.”
Why He Does It
Ultimately, for Weinburg, it’s about being driven.
“I’m driven internally. I’ve always enjoyed motivating people and getting them excited about pushing their limits and stepping out of their comfort zone. I think it’s important to practice what you preach. If I’m going to challenge someone, I should be able to challenge myself. I like dealing with adversity. I think it makes you stronger in life. I still like to push myself – and I’m always up for a challenge!”
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