How to Know When You Are Ready for the Dopey Challenge

How to Know When You Are Ready For the Dopey Challenge

I have had so many people messaging me with questions and comments about running the Dopey Challenge and thought I would share some info that could help you figure out if you are ready.

What is the Dopey Challenge? 

The Dopey Challenge is a runDisney event that takes place during the Disney World Marathon weekend in January. Dopey Challenge means you register for it and run the 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, half marathon Saturday, and full marathon Sunday. You get 6 medals, one for each of the 4 races, plus the Goofy Challenge medal (which is running the half marathon and full marathon) and the Dopey medal for completing it all. what is dopey challenge

Are you ready for the Dopey Challenge?

Everyone is different, but if you are wondering how to know that the Dopey Challenge could be your next running goal, here are some of my recommendations. Be VERY comfortable at the half marathon distance. If you have only ran a couple half marathons and those were tough, you are not ready for Dopey. The half marathon on Saturday needs to be “easy” so that you have enough energy and body strength to get through the full marathon the next day. I know some people do Dopey and it is their first full marathon. If you feel really confident doing this, have at it, but I would recommend having a full marathon under your belt first. A full marathon is hard mentally and you need to be prepared for that going in. Dopey training tips

How to Train for the Dopey Challenge

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. 

Train in the Early Morning–  You will be getting up at 2:45 am 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. 

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. 

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.  

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. 

Mentally Prepare– The Dopey Challenge is hard not just because of the mileage, but because of the 4 early mornings and the sleep deprivation. You need to mentally psych yourself up 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 11:46pm pacific time to go run races. Know you are going to be tired and there will be tough moments and have a game plan to help push yourself through that.

Here is a post on training and preparing for Dopey Challenge.

These are all just my recommendations and tips for those who want to run Dopey. Again, my biggest one would be to be VERY comfortable at the half distance and run at least one full marathon before you tackle Dopey. Good luck!

Here are some other posts you might like:

10 Thoughts While Running The 2020 Disney World Marathon

Dopey Challenge Packing Checklist

My Opinion on Running the New 2020 Disney World Marathon Course

The runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Dopey Challenge Recap 2018

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Dopey Challenge medal