For Lisa Dietzen and her dogs at Team Evergreen Kennel, training is an all-day task that happens several days a week. They are up before the crack of dawn and don't get back until after dark.
Dietzen will be racing in the UP 200 and has been training since the fall.
"We look at how many miles each leg is, what the dogs can do and how they can reasonably run that," said Dietzen.
It starts off with a raw beef mix breakfast for the dogs, three hours before hitting the trails, as it increases their performance during runs.
Lisa says the real training is done in the fall; the winter is all about maintaining condition.
"You are training commands. You know right, left; hike, go, stop, whoa. You're bringing up new leaders, you're training new leaders," Dietzen explained.
They focus on strength conditioning, muscle building, speed and distance. One run takes at least six hours. During that time she's looking at how they're running, if it's smooth, or if the dogs are struggling. She says it's all about consistency, so she trains them at the speed she plans to race them.
"We do a lot of training for check points. We'll run out so many miles, we'll stop in the middle of a parking lot or something like that. I'll bed down straw for the dogs. We'll sit there for a couple of hours and then we'll run back."
Dietzen will be running a 12-dog team for the UP 200 and is hoping to make it to the Iditarod.