10 Training Tips for the runDisney Dopey Challenge

I’m really excited to head to Walt Disney World for the runDisney Disney World Marathon Weekend in less than a month! I will be running my 5th Dopey Challenge.  A question I get asked a lot is about how to train for the Dopey Challenge. Here are my tips: 

  1. Run Back to Back Long Runs- For example, run 8 miles on Saturday and 12 miles on Sunday during your training.  This will get your body more accustomed to running back to back long runs for when it comes time to run the half and full marathon back to back. 
  2. Slow Your Pace for the Half Marathon-  Don’t run your half marathon at the same pace you would normally race.  Slow your pace a little for the half.  This way your body will recover a little easier for the full and you save some energy. 
  3. Eat Smart-  Leading up to the Dopey Challenge practice what you will be using for fuel, hydration, and meals.  Leave nothing to the unknown because the last thing you want to happen is ending up in the port-a-pottie each day.  Make reservations at restaurants ahead of time and know the menus to make sure there is something there that your body is use to eating the evening before a race.
  4. Train in the Early Morning-  You will be getting up at 3:15am basically 4 days in a row to run.  Train some days by getting up to run when you would normally be sleeping.  Your body won’t be so in shock when it’s time to do this 4 days in a row at Disney World. 
  5. Check Out Training Plans-  If you are newish to running and aren’t familiar with training for a marathon by building your mileage and then tapering, check out a professional Dopey Challenge training plan like Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk/Run plan.  It will help you get to the finish line. 
  6. Train in 2 Different Pairs of Running Shoes-  I have 2 reasons why I recommend this.  1. If it rains one of the days (which it has in the past) then you won’t have to run in wet shoes for the race the next day.  2. After running the half marathon on Saturday it is a little like my feet have PTSD and don’t want to put on those same running shoes.  They are much happier putting on a different pair of shoes, so switching up your shoes for the full marathon will be a little boost for your tired feet.  
  7. Take a Long Run in Your Costume-  Don’t leave anything to the unknown with the Dopey Challenge.  It is already tiring and a little hard on the body.  You don’t want to add costume chaffing to the mix.  Run in whatever you plan to wear ahead of time so you don’t end up with blisters or raw spots after the 10k that you then have to also have to deal with for the half and full marathon. 
  8. Have A Game Plan- Make a plan as far as pace for each race.  It is very easy to get caught up on the excitement of the races and run faster than you intended, but then you end up so tired by the full marathon you will wish you hadn’t done that. While training, know your comfortable pace while on your back to back runs, practice, and make a plan. 
  9. Mentally Prepare- The Dopey Challenge is hard not just because of the mileage, but because you can mentally psych yourself out for it.  Just think of it as one day/one race at a time.  You can do anything you put your mind to.  I always tell people that you train for the miles, that isn’t the hardest part in my opinion.  The hardest part is getting up in the middle of the night 4 days in a row.  Especially coming from the west coast like I do because it is like getting up at midnight pacific time to go run races.  
  10. Clear A Big Space On Your Medal Rack- You will be hauling 6 medals home with you, so leave some extra room in your suitcase and have that space ready on your medal rack! 

Good luck everyone! Who will I be seeing at Disney World in December?